Like many Spanish cities and towns, there are so many churches in Valencia. Everywhere we go there seems to be another cathedral, iglesia or basilica that rises up as a testimony to history. Last night we discovered the Basilica San Vicente Ferrer. It was a beautiful surprise and one that we recommend as a great, hidden-gem to see when visiting Valencia.
[mappress mapid=”4″]The basilica is easiest to find by going to the Mercado de Colon, another must-see experience of creative architecture and gastronomic delights. Turn the corner from there and on the Carrer de Ciril Amoros is where the two impressive towers of the basilica rise up. The church is quite large and tucked snuggly in between apartment buildings on either side. When leaving from the western entrance of the Mercado, I enjoyed a picturesque view of those two towers in the soft, pastel light of sunset. There are also two large, glorious palm trees in the front lawn area of the main entrance.
The church was open when we were walking by so we went inside. A couple of people were leaving at the same time so the entire place was empty. It was cavernous with its high ceilings and the light was dim, yet it felt peaceful and serene. I was amazed at how bright the colorful stained glass was, depicting scenes of biblical stories everywhere we looked. My favorite were the two rose windows to either side of the altar in the very middle.
There was not much information at first, but with some investigating I found that the designing of the church was started in 1904, yet finished sometime after 1906. It is not clear to me though if this was a restoration of an already existing building. It is a neo-Gothic style, designed by Joaquin Maria Arnau Miramón, an important and prolific Valencian Architect and Designer, and finished by Francisco Almenar Quinzá. The interior is decorated with what are described as Gothic portals, rose windows, and numerous stained glass windows and artistic representations.
I have learned that the Basilica is associated with the Dominican order of priests. The name is from the Saint Vincent Ferrer, who was a Dominican Friar from Valencia (1350 – 1419) and later honored as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. The day he died continues to be celebrated as his Feast Day, every 5th of April. At the basilica, there is also a convent and college which was founded in 1941. Then in 1936, it was “completely looted and plundered” according to the information provided by the Dominicos Hispania. Although they do not state it, this had to have been a result of the Spanish Civil War which took place from 1936 – 1939 and involved many attacks on churches throughout Spain.
If you are interested in enjoying great architecture and feeling the history of Valencia, make sure to visit this basilica. The neighborhood is wonderful, with plenty of other sites to enjoy as well, like the Mercado de Colon and the nearby dry river-bed park, Turia. What is also interesting is to learn further about the basilica’s designer, Joaquín María Arnau Miramón. Along with being responsible for many other beautiful architectural projects in Valencia, his personal life seems to have been very intriguing.
Please share here any information and experiences you also have about the Basilica san Vicente Ferrer.