Church of Saint Nicholas of Bari and Saint Peter Martyr

A Church whose history spans almost 15 centuries, a site of many faces and even more stories, hidden among the houses and buildings of the Carme neighbourhood in Valencia.

The Iglesia de San Nicolás de Bari y San Pedro Mártir, also called Sant Nicolau de Bari i Sant Pere Màrtir, in Valencian, is one of the most visited religious buildings in Valencia, along with the Cathedral, which is only a few minutes away from it.

The Church, generally simply known as Iglesia de San Nicolás (Saint Nicholas Church, in English) is one of the oldest parishes in the city, established right after the Christian Reconquista.

Church of Saint Nicholas of Bari and Saint Peter Martyr in Valencia exterior view
Saint Nicholas Church is right in the middle of Valencia’s city centre, in the Carmen neighbourhood.

However, the reason why it is so famous and its true value lies not simply in its antiquity, but rather in its unique combination and amalgamation of styles. The Church is a symbol of the passage of time, the mark of centuries layered on top of one another.

The final image is not like any of its individual components, but rather something new, a hydra, a creature with many heads. And depending on where you look, you’ll see one of the many faces of history.

At first glance, especially from the outside, the building could pass as just one of the many Spanish Gothic churches, or even not be seen at all, as it is hidden among the surrounding houses and restaurants. But the truth is that this building bears the memory of the ages of history.

The many lives lived by the building span from the 8th century, with its origins, through a Gothic remodelling in the 15th century, and again a Baroque restyling in the 17th-18th centuries, up to modern-day, when it was finally renovated.

Its gem is the spectacular fresco of about 2,000 square metres (21,500 square feet) executed in perfect Baroque style, covering the previously Gothic vaulted ceiling. This is what earned the Church the nickname Valencian Sistine Chapel.

Fresco in the Church of Saint Nicholas of Bari and Saint Peter Martyr in Valencia
The restoration of the fresco in Saint Nicholas’ Church was one of the biggest and most innovative interventions of this kind.

The intervention to renovate the Church, terminated in 2016, was cited as “the most important one carried out to date at an international level, both for the magnitude of the work and the techniques used” by the Hortensia Herrero Foundation .

All these elements are what make Saint Nicholas Church a site of immense artistic, historic, and architectural value, not to be missed on your visit to Valencia.

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