LA LONJA DE LA SEDA (THE SILK EXCHANGE)

La Lonja was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 for being one of the most stunning, most important and best preserved examples of Late Gothic architecture in entire Europe. Built in the beginning of XVI century, La Lonja (Silk Exchange) is the real emblem of the Golden Age of Valencia - the times when this city was one of Europe's main cultural and economic centers - and this is precisely why La Lonja was built. As such, no expense was spared on the lavishness and luxury of the architecture here. La Lonja is composed of three parts. The main hall, Sala de Contratacion  is an enormous, lavishly decorated space supported by gorgeous twisted columns. This was the centre of life in La Lonja, the place where the merchants would meet, deal and sign. The side-wing is named the Pavilion of the Consulate, and this was the seat of the Tribunal del Mar - the first merchant tribunal to ever be formed in Spain. The first two floors were the main function rooms, with the upper one hosting a richly decorated ceiling - a masterpiece of medieval art which had the King ride out of the capital just to see it. These rooms are still authentically furnished. On occasions, the Tribunal would imprison merchants for debts in the central tower of La Lonja - the third part of the structure.

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