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The Silk Route in Valencia

Valencia

Valencia-València

A thread marking the history of silk in the city

The silk route reveals the importance of silk and its trade to Valencia.  The city has Europe’s largest archives relating to silk, and important collections of 18th century silk textiles and looms. Every year, the fiestas in Valencia showcase the traditional silk costumes of the region, and the city conserves what was once the centre of its silk trade, the Lonja or Silk Exchange, now a World Heritage site

Sights on the route

You can take the silk route independently or join a guided tour. The guided tour takes approximately two hours and is available in English and Spanish. You can book online on the city’s tourism website.     The route starts in the Velluters district (Velluters means velvet-makers). This neighbourhood grew fast from the 15th to 18th centuries thanks to the silk industry. Here you can visit the Silk Museum and see textile collections and working 18th century looms. It also has the largest European archive of the silk trade and an interesting shop selling silk products.The other must-see on the route is the Silk Exchange, in the centre of Valencia. It is the most important secular Gothic building in the city, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was the key location of the local silk trade. Today we can visit the Hall of Columns, where the dealers used to haggle.

The Valencia Silk Exchange

Silk in the museums

The city’s museums reflect the importance of silk and the silk trade for Valencia, mainly in the second half of the 18th century.   There are many silk items in the holdings of the National Ceramics Museum, housed in a splendid example of Spanish Baroque architecture. The Cathedral Museum displays religious vestments made of silk, and paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts depict figures in luxurious silks, underlining the value of Valencia’s silk industry.  Meanwhile, the L’Íber Museum of Lead Soldiers, in Malferit Palace, has a room devoted to the silk route.

Silk in the fiestas

Las Fallas de San José are the city’s main fiestas, and a good time to see the traditional costume of the region. Many of these garments are made of brightly coloured, patterned silk, especially the women’s (the Fallera costume). If you like them, there are quite a few ateliers that make them, so you could order a costume or buy an existing one.Las Fallas de San José are held in the first weeks of March and fill the city with papier-mache figures (ninots) satirising current affairs and celebrities. The fiesta concludes on the night of the 19th with the burning (cremà) of most of these ephemeral figures.

Parade of falleras in Valencia
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