La Lonja (or Llotja in Catalan) is a grand Gothic building in central Valencia which was completed in 1548, some 60 years after construction began. The entire design of the building is aimed at the main function for which it was designed - to be a Silk Exchange as trade in Valencia boomed. This large building is therefore very spacious inside and only has two rooms and an adjacent tower. Its prime location opposite the main market is no coincidence as complex trades of various goods were made possible by traders from the two markets.
The two main rooms of the Exchange vary significantly in their design. The Consulado del Mar room is a large open space predominantly used for showcasing produce and the sales process. The design here is relatively minimalist and large windows allow a lot of the Valencian sunshine to come through. In contrast, the Contracts Room is a grand and almost palatial environment with large spiralling columns reaching towards the tall ceiling. This being the business end of the market, the big deals and negotiations needed a more appropriate place than the stalls next door.
The exterior is also not to be missed. It is very unusual in the fact that it strongly resembles a fortified castle from the square tower to the turrets, battlement fortifications at the top and strong stone walls. While never intended to be a fortress, it served a purpose of protecting the valuable goods stored inside and was built to last which it clearly has done very well. A lot of the exterior detail serves as a reminder of this building's glorious past with many trade emblems and engravings taking their place amidst the compulsory gothic gremlin decorations sticking out from below the roof.
Throughout the Year
Entry to La Lonja de la Seda
La Lonja de la Seda