We loved this church! It is the oldest church in Valencia founded after the re-conquest in 1238. Since mass was going on,we began our visit in the museum and were studying the photos of some of the restoration. The lady who staffs the museum started explaining the work to us. The church survived the Arabic influence, the Romanesque and Gothic changes and the Baroque refurbishments but the Civil War was very hard on Spanish churches. Many were burned. And that meant that the priceless and irreplaceable works of art also burned. In 1943, the church was declared a National Heritage Monument but used for non-religious events such as a cinema. The priests of Opus Dei reconsecrated and began its restoration. Some of the 12th century statues on view in the side chapels were found in art dealers' shops and purchased for placement in St John's. Since the Baroque decoration had been burned away, some of the whitewash was stripped and frescoes discovered. The altar pieces in the side chapels are what you see in the art museums. And you can see them in the place where they are meant to be. Our personal guide explained the iconography of the palm frond in Santa Barbara's hand (She was martyred.), why she has a tower next to her(Her father locked her in a tower to force her to marry an infidel.), why St James holds his head on one hand (The pain and grief he suffered for Christ's agony.), and other uses of symbols. Very informative tour for a very special place.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.