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Valencia's Vibrant Mercat Central: Where History and Food Collide.

Mercat Central Valencia, indoor market of Modernist Architecture
Picture by Diego Delso,, License CC-BY-SA

Valencia's market district is a place where centuries of history and culture converge to create a vibrant and diverse experience. As you stroll through the bustling streets, it's hard to imagine that this area once served as an outdoor market for nearly 900 years, dating back to the time of the Moors when the town was known as Balansiya. This market was a hub of activity, teeming with live animals, fresh produce, cooked food, and even the occasional execution during brutal times.

The market district's centerpiece is the magnificent Mercat Central, also known as Central Market. This historic building, which began construction in 1910 and was completed in 1928, stands as a testament to Valencia's rich architectural heritage. As you approach the entrance, you'll be struck by the grandeur of its Modernist design, featuring wrought iron, a giant skylight, and stunning stained glass windows. It's no wonder they call it a "Cathedral of Food."

Step inside Mercat Central, and you'll be greeted by an array of sights and scents that capture the essence of Valencia's culinary soul. The market boasts an impressive selection of fresh produce, meat, fish, nuts, cheese, bread, and more. Not to mention the various restaurants offering delicious local dishes and refreshing drinks. It's a paradise for food lovers and a true celebration of the region's gastronomy.

While you explore the stalls, remember to take a moment to appreciate the history that resides within these walls. This market, which now teems with life and commerce, once witnessed some dark chapters in Valencia's past. In a grim reminder of the Spanish Inquisition and the Criminal Justice system, public executions were held here to serve as a warning to the masses and uphold Christian values.

One particular plaque on the wall tells the story of Margarida Borras, a courageous trans woman who faced persecution in the year 1460. Margarida, formerly known as Miguel, fearlessly lived as her true self, embracing her identity despite the societal norms of her time. Her affluent background and connections with the elites couldn't protect her when her lifestyle was deemed inappropriate, leading to her imprisonment, torture, and condemnation to hang.

As you reflect on Margarida's story, let it serve as a reminder of the progress we've made and the importance of acceptance and empathy in today's world. This market district has evolved over the centuries, embracing change while preserving its rich heritage.

So, as you meander through the market stalls, indulging in the vibrant colors and flavors of the region, take a moment to appreciate the history beneath your feet. Valencia's market district is not just a place to buy and eat; it's a living testament to the resilience and diversity of the human spirit.

It's a place where past and present intertwine, leaving you with unforgettable memories and a newfound appreciation for the richness of Valencia's culture and cuisine. Enjoy your exploration, and remember, when you spend here, you contribute to supporting the local community.

Take a self-guided walking tour through Valencia and Mercat Central with Voicemap.

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