Travel Recap: La Lonja

La Lonja de Seda (the Silk Exchange) has, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful instances of architecture in Valencia. As the name indicates, La Lonja was a center of commerce during Valencia’s glory days.  The main attraction is the hall of columns, but the whole building is definitely worth seeing–inside and out.

The building encircles a courtyard of what seemed to be clementine or mandarin orange trees.  From there you can look up at the facade of the building and the steps leading up to the main rooms.

01-5 lonja courtyard

02-6 lonja fascade2

03-7 lonja outdoor stairs

For me, the best part of looking around outside is being able to admire the lacy stone work of the Gothic windows.

05-8 lonja window

Once you step inside the main room, it takes some time to realize that the gallery includes more than palm tree-like columns.

06-9 lonjaBW

These soaring columns capture the attention, drawing the eyes up the spirals to the simply ornamented ceiling.

07-11 lonja column

08-12 lonja ceiling

The room seems designed to make its occupants feel small, from the towering columns to rather massive doors at the ends of the room.

10-14lonja_column_door_windows

09-13 lonja door2

An exception to this can be found in a small, four foot tall, opening in one of the walls, through which spiraling stairs can be seen (but not taken by the public).

11-17 lonja stairs

12-18 lonja stairs closeup

As we moved to leave La Lonja and enter the adjoining rooms of the Consolat del Mar, we noticed that light from the stained glass windows dappled the doorway.

13-19 lonja stained glass

14-20 lonja stained glass shadow

Although they are darker and seem more cramped after the airy-ness of the high-ceilinged gallery, the other rooms have their own beauty to show: detailed paneled ceilings, and decorative light fixtures stood out to me.

17-23 lonja decor details2

16-22lonja light fixture

Finally, the first floor room, formerly used as a debtor’s prison for businessmen, showcased a relatively simple yet beautifully arched ceiling.

18-25 lonja debtors prison

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