Catedral de Valencia (The Cathedral)
Plaza Reina, s/n - 46003 - València, España
TOURISTIC AREA: Historical center
Did you know the Holy Chalice is kept in the Cathedral of Valencia? Did you also know the Cathedral holds one of the most important pieces of art from the first Spanish Renaissance? And the Cathedral Museum is the home to pieces by Maella or Goya? Other curiosities you should not miss out on are climbing the Miguelete tower or learning about the history of Virgen del Buen Parto.
Built on an ancient Roman temple that was later a mosque, the Cathedral of Valencia is a Gothic-style building, although it preserves many elements from different periods, from Romanesque to Baroque eras. Work on the current building began in the 13th century. The Latin cross, the ambulatory and lantern tower over the crossing. In the 15th century, the Chapter house was built (nowadays the Chapel of the Holy Chalice), as well as the lantern tower, the Miguelete door and the Door of the Apostles. Other parts taking the spotlight are the Baroque-style Door of the Irons, and the doors of the Palau or of the Almoina, (Romanesque).
The Cathedral shows both history and art, and is dedicated since the era of Jaume I to the Assumption of Santa Maria. Its walls and doors also protect valuable treasures such as the Holy Chalice. Documentation and archaeological studies lead us to think that the Holy Grail of Valencia is the one used by Jesus in the last supper. The Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI used this relic when celebrating the Eucharist on their visits to Valencia. It is a cup of polished agate of an oriental origin. Tradition says that, after the last supper, Saint Peter took it to Rome and the Popes who succeeded it kept it there until Saint Sixtus II, who then sent it to Huesca, and during Muslim invasion, the chalice was hidden in the Pyrenees. It was Alfonso the Magnanimous who brought it back to the palace of Valencia. Nowadays it can be seen in the Chapel of the Holy Chalice at the Cathedral.
Another of the Cathedral's treasures is the Renaissance frescoes of the main altar, which were rediscovered ten years ago by removing the Baroque vault that covered them. The paintings were commissioned by Cardinal Rodrigo de Borja, future Pope Alexander V, to the Italian artists Paolo da San Leocadio and Francesco Pagano, who began the work in 1476. 200 years later they were covered in the Baroque reform of the presbytery of the Cathedral. They represent twelve angels playing musical instruments. It is one of the most important pictorial works of the first Spanish Renaissance.
In addition, the Cathedral Museum exhibits up to 90 works of different styles: Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist. The collection includes pieces by Maella and Goya or panel paintings by Juan de Juanes.
And if you enjoy panoramic views, there is nothing better than climbing the Miguelete tower. You will need to climb 207 steps, but the effort is worth it, since you will get the best panoramic views of the city.