Unesco Heritage in Valencia
UNESCO recognises València’s priceless historic and cultural value
The many civilisations that have come and gone have left a rich historical and cultural legacy in our city which UNESCO has recognised by putting three of our most representative assets on its prestigious lists.
For Valencian people, it is an honour to know that something so close to us like the Silk Exchange, the Tribunal de las Aguas and Fallas are now a part of the World Heritage for their “exceptional universal value”.
THE SILK EXCHANGE OR THE MERCHANT'S EXCHANGE (La Lonja de la Seda o de los Mercaderes)
From the XV to the XVIII century Valencia flourished thanks to the silk trade with the Americas, Asia and Northern Europe. A Golden age that brought with it an economic, social and cultural revolution, which transformed our city with the construction of iconic buildings like the Silk Exchange.
A treasure of Valencia’s civic gothic architecture that is full of symbolism. The gargoyles in the Patio de los Naranjos or the palm trees that reach towards the sky of “paradise” in the Column or Contract Hall, are just a few of the reasons why it was declared a World Heritage site in 1996 by UNESCO.
Twenty years later, UNESCO incorporated Valencia into the ‘Silk Road’, which goes through 32 cities in Asia and Europe.
You can visit the Silk Exchange every day of the year from 9.30am to 7.00 pm.
EL TRIBUNAL DE LAS AGUAS
The “Aguas de la Vega” tribunal in Valencia meets every Thursday at midday under the Apostles Gate at the Cathedral of Valencia. Since its establishment in the roman era, this institution has been dedicated to resolving conflicts that arise from the use of irrigation water among the farmers in an efficient and exemplary way.
This thousand-year-old tradition of resolving conflicts face-to-face and in public was recognised in 2009 as Intangible Cultural Heritage.
You can witness it every Thursday at 12.00 pm under the Apostles Gate of the Cathedral of Valencia. Except for bank holidays and during the Christmas period.
Fallas is a celebration of creativity and ingenuity par excellence. It brings together visual art, music, the silk industry, leisure, gastronomy and the art of living life to the full.
Throughout the week of Fallas, from 15th to 19th March, more than 700 monuments which are destined to go up in flames are assembled, and the city celebrates with processions, fireworks, concerts, parties…
Fallas was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage for being a unique celebration, by UNESCO in 2016.
Fallas is celebrated every year from the 15th to 19th March, don’t miss it!
THE MANUAL RINGING OF THE BELLS
In addition to the Fallas and the Water Tribunal, in Valencia you can witness another tradition recently declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO: the manual ringing of bells in Spain. In several churches in the city, like the one in the neighborhood of Campanar, the Church of Santos Juanes, and even in the Cathedral, professional bell ringers keep alive this unique language, which employs different bell flipping and chiming techniques to invite the community to celebrate important festivities.
If you want to experience this tradition up close, you can witness the manual ringing of the bells live at the top of the Miguelete, the iconic bell tower of the Cathedral. Here you will find one of the most numerous sets of Gothic bells in all of Spain, with eleven magnificent specimens. It includes the oldest bell of what was the Crown of Aragon, from the year 1305, and also the two largest, weighing more than 1700 kilos each.
Capacity is limited to 25 people, so booking in advance is required, which you can do here. Remember also that it's usually windy at the top of the tower, so warm clothing is recommended. Get ready for an unforgettable auditory experience.
The manual ringing of the bells is an Intangible Asset of Cultural Interest, so it is exempt from volume restrictions. But don't worry, despite reaching sound levels of up to 120 decibels, no bell ringer has gone deaf.
Keep ringing the bells!