Tourism in El Carmen
- Torres de Serrano (Serrano Towers)
- Torres de Quart (Quart Towers)
- Convento del Carmen (Convent of the Carmen)
El Carmen as a district of the city is a must-see on any tourist's trip to Valencia. With tight alleyways, honey-colored buildings and tons of vestiges to the district's past, Valencia's most popular zone to "hang out" remains much as it was centuries ago.
The medieval city walls which ran along a good portion of El Carmen were pulled down in 1871, but you can get a pretty good idea of its magnificence by taking a look at its two remaining Gothic twin-towered gates: Torres de Serrano and Torres de Quart. The first of the two, Torres de Serrano, was built in the 14th century and served as the exit towards the north and Barcelona. As the more impressive of the surviving city gates, the Torres de Serrano is flanked by two polygonal towers and is complete with battlements, distinct façades on each side, and detailed exterior decoration.
The second gate, the 15th century Torres de Quart, is a simpler structure with twin cylindrical towers but serves as a special ode to the past. Having withstood the various assaults of France's most famous leader, you can still see the cannonball-induced pockmarks in the gate's masonry dating back to the invasions headed by the ever-ambitious Napoleon Bonaparte.
Finally, the Convento del Carmen, the convent which lent its name to the plaza on which it sits as well as to the district in which it is found, is a must-see while you're touring the area. Construction of the religious complex began way back in 1238, though the convent was not consecrated until 1343. Even if you don't venture within, which is now being used as an extension of the city's Museum of Fine Arts, be sure to take a moment to revel in its intricate façade- added to the convent in later years. Originally set for an altarpiece, the design was adapted to become a portal and features elaborate and masterful sculpture-work.