UNESCO declared Valencia as an important Silk City in 2016. In June, and for 5 days, the city hosted the II World Silk Route Encounter, which was attended by representatives of 42 countries “that insisted on giving value to this universal heritage “.
A well-deserved recognition of the role played by this natural fiber in the evolution of the wealthy living of Valencia and its surroundings, since the beginning of its introduction by the Moors in the VIII century. It was under the Islamic rule in the Peninsula that on the landscape growing mulberry trees begun and the production of quality clothes for the chiefs of tribes and kings of clans in the area.
When Christianity arrived to Valencia, it did not turn its back to this fabric and continued with this art. Its splendor would come as soon as in the fifteenth century, being this sector one of the pillars that allowed the Kingdom of Valencia to live its cultural, social and commercial ‘Golden Age’ and Prosperity time. Those ones were the years of the silk Guild, with craftsmen that contributed to the construction of the Silk Market or Merchants Market of “La Lonja”, where this stuff was exhibited traded by auction by permission of authority at the local Market.
Such was its importance that King Carlos III, on the throne of Spain, a lover of this fabric, gave a boost its national influence by chosing the city of Valencia as a focus to enhance its manufacture and marketing at 1760. Since that date on, nobility and upper classes could esealy wear new suites à la mode of London and Paris.
La Seda is still present in the city
Smell of flowers and sound of firecrackers, keeps the torch lit of this XVIII and XIX centuries art of wearing and silk fashion. The flower offering parade to the patroness of the city, our Lady of the Helpless or “ Virgen de los Desamparados” is the greatest date to admire this fabric dressed in beautiful regional costumes by valencian maidens and young ladies.
Foreigners that have the chance of landing in the city during that dates can contemplate the eternal idyll between city and silk. An opportunity during the year is visiting the district of Velluters and The House of the Silks fine Arts Museum (Casa del Arte Mayor de la Seda). This was once founded as the guild of silk craftsmen at the XV century, at the district where many silk factories were functioning.
Our route starts from the Town Hall, and visits the House of the Art of Silk, ancient fabrics remains, Central Market, whose smells of spicies reminds us form this Oriental Route, and The Lonja which evokes the hustle and bustle of buying and selling this soft tissue in a Gothic palace, a kind of artistic gem and unique in the UNESCO catalogue of World Heritage. Don’t miss it in Valencia