The Silk Exchange: A Jewel of European Gothic Architecture

Silk Exchange’s fortress appearance

Photos courtesy Valencia Tourist Office

The Silk Exchange in Valencia, Spain is an exceptional example of a secular building in late Gothic style, which dramatically illustrates the power and wealth of one of the great Mediterranean mercantile cities. It is aesthetically unique because of its fine Gothic architecture combined with Renaissance decoration from the 15th century.

The majority of the Silk Exchange was built between 1482 and 1492 under master mason Pere Compte. The work was completed by a pupil of his after his death, which explains the presence of Renaissance elements.

Spain's Silk Exchange
Silk Exchange staircase detail

Its similarity with old medieval castles is based on the fierce, fortress-like appearance of its stone walls. It comprises four parts: the Tower, the Sea Consulate Room, the Orange-tree Patio and the Room of Columns. The site covers more than 6,562 square feet indoors and out.

It is a typical representation of the commercial and financial past of the city of Valencia, and has been used for the same purpose for five centuries. Its original function was as a trading exchange for oil. It developed into the main maritime trading center and the silk exchange. At the present time it is still a major trading exchange, now dealing primarily in agricultural products.

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