Church of Saint Nicholas of Bari and Saint Peter Martyr
Church of Saint Nicholas of Bari and Saint Peter Martyr

A brief history

Like so many other churches in Spain, the story of Saint Nicholas Church begins under Muslim rule. At the time, the site was occupied by a mosque, which was later removed to make room for a parish, after the Christians reconquered Spain. Later on, this parish too was rebuilt into the church we can see today.

However, many of the features we can appreciate in the present day were only added centuries after the initial structure was built, like the Baroque decor of the interior.

  • Before 1200MosqueMoorish rule in Valencia lasted for about five centuries. During this time, on the site, a mosque was built. Some even believe that before that, on the same site stood a Roman temple.
  • 1242- 1245Primitive churchA primitive parish was built on the site of an ancient mosque. In fact, this was one of the first churches established after the Christian Reconquista.
  • 1419-1454Gothic transformationThe pre-existing church began undergoing transformations that brought it closer to the Gothic style popular in Valencia at the time. This happened under the orders of Alfons de Borja, then bishop of Valencia, and later Pope Callixtus III.
  • 1455ExpansionThe base of the church was enlarged to occupy the plot of land where the parish cemetery (fossar) stood. A ribbed vault was added to the nave. The rose window was made.
  • 16th - 18th centuriesRemodellingAlterations and expansions would continue all throughout the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s. Tabernacle rooms, side chapels, passageways, towers, and other elements were added at various points.
  • 1690-1693Baroque decorationThe Gothic interior was covered with Baroque decorations, in keeping with the taste of the period. These changes included the replacement of the Gothic vault with an encamonada, a false vault, as well as churrigueresque additions. Churrigueresque is the typical Spanish Baroque, lavish and ornamented.
  • 1700FrescoesOn top of the architectural changes, fresco paintings were added to the vaults, pillars, and ceilings by Dionís Vidal.
  • 1757Bell towerThe dome, acting as the top of the bell tower, was completed in 1757.
  • 1864Neo-Gothic additionsThe other door and façade overlooking Plaza de San Nicolás, are neo-Gothic creations by Joaquín María Calvo Tomás.
  • 1936 - 1939Civil WarDuring the Spanish Civil War, all the bells except the Vicent (dating back to 1755) disappeared. They were later replaced with four new bells.
  • 1981National MonumentThe Church was declared a National Historic and Artistic Monument.
  • 2000sRenovationsThe bell tower was restored in 2007. The frescoes were brought back to their original splendour in 2016 in a massive feat of restoration.