Valencia’s Mercado Central, or Central Market in English, is the largest centre dedicated to the sale of fresh produce in Europe, and it is also the pantry of a place like Valencia, bringing together products from the land, as well as fresh fish from the Mediterranean. Going shopping in the Central Market is a great pleasure for many Valencians, who are lucky to have this market, and it is also one of the biggest tourist attractions for those who visit the City of Turia.
A Modernist Building
Located right in the middle of Valencia, the fresh produce that is sold inside is not the main attraction, as the building is a true work of art that shouldn’t be missed when strolling around the city, or when entering the market. Together with North Station and Colón Market, these buildings are one of the great symbols of modernist architecture and are a paradigm of Valencia City.
The market is imposing, as if it were a cathedral, and it combines elements like metal, ceramic, glass and columns, culminating in two domes which are impossible not to gaze at when strolling through the market. The colours of the stained glass on the façade of the building, which represent the Valencian flag, are another native sign in this garden paradise.
In total, more than 8,000 square meters are dedicated to the sale of fresh produce from the Valencian land. It is divided in two parts, one is dedicated exclusively to fish and the produce that the Mediterranean offers us, and the other is dedicated to the sale of produce like meat, vegetables, cheese, and everything you could imagine. It is a place where you can find everything, from the most typical vegetables to the most gourmet products.
The Market’s Mascot
In the vegetable section of the market, a weather vane in the shape of a parrot is perched on the dome which has become a symbol of the market. The word cotorra in Spanish means parrot but it also means chatterbox and here it represents the chatter of the market, the gossip that is always present in any market and which is symbolised with this talkative bird. This weather vane has become so renowned that today the Central Market uses it as its corporate image, its logo is a parrot, the same as the one that appears on the dome.
Also, “la cotorra del mercat” as it is known in Valencia, is one of the three famous weather vanes in this area. The second is also located in the market, this time on the dome of the fish section, and it is a swordfish. The other, which perhaps is the most famous and is part of many legends, is located on the church of Saint Johns, very near the Market and it is known as “El pardalot de San Joan” or the bird of Saint Joan in English. The three weather vanes together form what is called “the weather vanes of the market”.
A Feast for the Senses
If you want to shop in the market, we recommend that you take a stroll through it and let your senses enjoy everything that you can find in the hands of more than 300 traders who gather together every day to offer their fresh produce. People who start their day at 6 in the morning, when you’ll see them with their wheelbarrows. They bring produce from their gardens, from their land and fresh from the sea, they go to their stall and they put it a stone’s throw away. Walking around the market, you can find everything, from typical produce from Valencia like oranges, Perello tomatoes or garrofó, a type of white bean used for making the typical Valencian paella, to the most exquisite gourmet products, and even chefs of the stature of Ricard Camarena have a space in the Market (Central Bar), if you want to make a Michelin-star snack.
As well as fruit and vegetables, as regards meat you will mainly find chickens and hens from Valencian farms, although you can find all kinds of products. A favourite activity of many is strolling through the fish section and admiring the live fish. Eels, shellfish…the freshest produce.
In any case, if for whatever reason you don’t want or cannot go to the market, you can buy online, on the webpage of the market, so you won’t be without your produce under any circumstances.
Don’t Forget to Grab a Bite to Eat
Having strolled through the market and been stunned by the colours of the stained glass and the incredible domes, you’ve been able to smell up close the aroma of the Valencian garden, you’ve heard the murmuring of people buying, the sound of the market, and the only thing left to do before leaving is to savour the flavour.
Stopping off at Ricard Camarena’s Central Bar, you can try out one of the best tapas bars in Valencia, but if you prefer to eat the produce that you have bought, this market also offers the possibility for you to cook your produce, one of many people’s favourite activities.
If you are worried about your diet, at one of the exits of the market, there are industrial scales to weigh products, so you can weigh yourself to see if you’ve gained a few pounds.
A Unique Location
Valencia’s Central Market is located in one of the most touristy areas of Valencia, right in the middle of the old town, close to the El Carmen neighbourhood and beside the Lonja de la Seda, or Silk Exchange in English. If you want to visit Valencia or spend a day in the city, a visit to the market is practically mandatory, and even better if it is Saturday morning, when thousands of people traditionally go to do their weekly shop. On Saturday, the atmosphere is more lively than ever, with the hustle and bustle of people looking for ingredients for paella to the most exquisite gourmet products.
Karen Real estate consultants and real estate consultants in Valencia