Tourism in Valencia's Ayuntamiento Neighborhood
- Ayuntamiento (City Hall)
- Correos (Post Office)
- Iglesia de San Agustín (Church of Saint Agustín)
- Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas (Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas)
- Antigua Universidad (Former University)
- Colegio Seminario del Corpus Christi (Corpus Christi Seminary School)
- Iglesia de San Juan de la Cruz (Church of Saint Juan of the Cross)
A good starting point from which to set out exploring the Ayuntamiento quarter is- surprise, surprise- the Ayuntamiento. A stunning display of Neoclassical architecture at its finest, the city's palatial city hall hails straight from a golden, lucrative era in Valencia's history. Its bells chime out the hours and, come New Years Eve, party-goers flock here to keep their eyes on the clock for the big countdown and subsequent grape-eating!
The Plaza del Ayuntamiento upon which the Ayuntamiento sits is itself a sight to see and is bordered by other majestic buildings- such as the main Correos (Post Office)- of the epoch. However, the most charming facet of this grand plaza is the collection of flower stalls bursting with flowers of all varieties, colors and sizes imaginable that surround the impressive floodlit fountain set in the middle.
To the southwest of the Ayuntamiento you'll stumble across the simple Iglesia de San Agustín (Church of Saint Agustín). Once part of a since-disappeared Augustinian monastery that was one of the city's largest religious complexes, the church is a simple Gothic structure with but one nave. However, it boasts a peaceful, tranquil and airy atmosphere typical of Gothic architecture, perhaps provided by the five grandiose windows set above the altar which bathe the indoors with light.
Heading east from the Ayuntamiento you'll find the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas, one of the extravagant structures hailing from Valencia's celebrated Baroque period. Dating back to the 16th century, this lavishly adorned mansion features as its highlight a huge, Churrigueresque, alabaster doorway that bears resemblance to running water. Check out what lies within the building, as it has a luxurious ballroom as well as the city's beloved Museo de Cerámica (Ceramics Museum).
Directly south of the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas is the Iglesia de San Juan de la Cruz. Known for its collection of priceless artwork, its sculpted entrance of twisting columns, elaborate sculptures and elegant forms, and its vaulted dome, the beautiful church is the city's best example of pure Renaissance.
Situated just east of the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas and the Iglesia de San Juan de la Cruz is the Antigua Universidad de Valencia, home of Valencia's first university. Built in the Neoclassical style but in a manner more sober than that of the nearby Ayuntamiento, the University building is an elegant structure both inside and out featuring lovely cloisters whose doric columns bear witness to open air concerts are held from time to time. Be sure to venture within to its library, which holds the first printed book in Spain: Les Trobles, printed in 1474.
Finally, make sure that the Colegio Seminario del Corpus Christi makes it on to your Ayuntamiento quarter tourism checklist. Founded in 1583, the immense structure of the seminary school takes up an entire city block and was purposely built just across from the University so that students of both institutions could easily attend relevant classes. The structure demonstrates the arrival of the Italian High Renaissance in Spain, which you can see in its cloistered patio. Featuring double arcades of columns, the elegant patio is its most important architectural element and shouldn't be missed! Within, you'll also find the impressive Museo del Patriarca, a museum dedicated to showing off the artwork, objects, and atmosphere of the most ultra-Catholic epoch in Spanish history.