Alejandro Alejandro

Autor: Alejandro Alejandro

Fecha: 16/07/2018

Valencia, our beautiful city, is one of the most important cities in Spain, both for its population and for its rich heritage, although it is still very little preserved and of which it would still be preserved if it were unfortunately not lost in the course of the last two centuries; In this sense, in this section we will talk about the main buildings that have disappeared from the landscape of the city, but not from the memory of the Valencians.

    In the first place, it would be necessary to talk about the city walls, which, like other places of the same period, disappeared to facilitate growth and make room for new neighborhoods; A situation that we must understand within the context of the revolutionary 19th century, with its economic growth and its industrial development, in which the walls represented a symbol of Early Modern Times overthrown by the French Revolution,  only the Serranos and Quart Towers survided as a prison of the nobility.

    Next to the wall, the city had spectacular entrance doors, besides those of Serranos and Quart towers, previously mentioned. In addition, it is necessary to mention the Portal Nou that, where the Na Jordana falla is planted in front of the Saint Joseph’s bridge, was demolished next to the walls in 1868, leaving only vestiges under the tunnel that runs through Blanquerias street.

    Another door that also had importance was the Portal del Mar, which connected with what today are the Gardens of Viveros through the currently pedestrian Sea Bridge. Building not totally lost since at present subsists a reproduction of the same of the 1950s in the Sea square.

    The same can be said of the set of walls in front of this door. In this case, we speak of a kind of castle, the citadel, where were the military detachments that defended the city and that was destroyed in the nineteenth century. Despite this, there is at present testimony of this use, with the building of captaincy located in the Santo Domingo convent. Its loss constitutes an important absence although in other cities the same happened, being able at the moment to subsist an architectonic set comparable to the city of Avila in Spain.

    Another building tragically disappeared was the Royal Palace which, located in what we know today as gardens of  the Viveros, constitutes a monumental set of must visit. This building was the residence of the king of Spain when he came to visit Valencia, being very old since it was a royal residence in the Middle Ages, used by the muslims who used it as a recreational property and continuing with this same use for centuries, serving in these functions to Habsburg and Bourbon dynasties. The building, similarly to the previous cases, disappeared during the 19th century, although in this case during the Spain War of Independence. In this situation valencians prefered to knock it down to avoid being used by the French army as a bulwark to bombard the city, although it served little purpose since they acceded on the other hand. There are also interpretations that claim that it was demolished because, as in previous cases, it was a symbol of Early Modern Times that had to be demolished.

    Despite the above, the previous demolitions should not make us feel guilty because the Valencians of that time had a very different mentality to that of today, in which to leave behind the old world represented by the monarchy and the Ancient Regime to arrive at a new world represented by the liberal values ​​was an ideal to reach, not being an exception Valencia since these same positions were adopted by other Spanish and European cities.

Much heritage was also destroyed in the interior renovations of our historic center. During the 40s and 50s, spectacular avenues were built to improve communication between the center and the periphery by collapsing multiple buildings. At this point we must refer to the creation of the avenue of Baron de Cárcer which sought to extend to the Turia or the creation of the Virgin Square  around the cathedral. Along with this, we must also point out the remodeling of the Town Hall square, whose first project, Goerlich's work, was demolished to give place to the current square, stage of acts and the traditional "mascletàs". In addition, it is possible to mention buildings that passed by the picket because of the demolitions, like the Vich Ambassador Palace, near Saint Martín parish, from which only its spectacular patio conserved in the Museum of Beautiful Arts.

    These reforms were not exclusive to our territory. Similar projects were carried out in Spain and Europe, the precedent of all these initiatives being the reform carried out by Baron Haussmann in Paris, knocking down large areas of the old town to create wide boulevards, which by means of large Roads of communication allowed the union between the different sectors of the city, arriving the imitation of this type of projects until our days.

    What has no forgiveness, assuming an irreparable loss to our heritage, were the demolitions made from the 50's onwards, motivated by urban speculation. In their quest for progress, they were a great loss. To understand this, we must speak about the situation of Spain in the 50s and 60s, at which time it was built with abundance allowing to give a lot of accommodation to the Spaniards who then came from the countryside to the city but, many businessmen took advantage of to build there where they wanted, this situation being the arrival of the phenomenon of "pelotazo" to the current Spain, resulting in a huge disappearance of our heritage and one of the causes of the destruction of our coasts. Unfortunately, it seems that the lesson has not yet been learned ....

    Among the buildings lost in this period there is talk of the Parcent Palace, between the streets of Baron de Cárcer and Eixarchs, which currently houses a door in the garden that today occupies the site of the old palace, being another door sent to the gardens of Viveros. Another part of the city that suffered countless damages refers to the present of Christopher Columbus street, that could have a similar aspect to the Peace street, reminding us the first years of 20th century. In this case their buildings were replaced by contemporary buildings of dubious taste. In some cases, part of this heritage was saved, being transferred to safer areas. The old Church of the Saint Catherine convent, present  Nuestra Señora del Sagrado Corazón Church, was transfered to the Orriols district near to the Levante stadium during the 70s, since in its present location located in the Pinazo Square settled the stores of the Corte Inglés Shopping Center, who bought the land and later moved the building.

    Finally, it is worth remembering the demolition of the Ripalda Palace, built next to the  Royal gardens, which was a beautiful example of artificial romantic architecture, was demolished by urban speculation to give way to the Pagoda building, one of the most exclusive of Valencia but that from our point of view should never have risen in that place.


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