Antonio Gala, one of the last Mediterranean poets whose popularity can be compared to that of a rock star, says that whenever he visits a city he goes to its cemetery and its market. He approaches the history of its dead to understand its past, but also “the celebration of the living” which takes place daily in the melting pot of spices, fruits and neighbours. The Mercat Central, or Central Market, as well as being one of the largest markets in Europe, has become the place brings together the agricultural and historic wealth of the city. Above all, it keeps residents connected through the spontaneous, intercultural and intergenerational transit of its customers, but without closing its doors to visitors.
The Mercat Central is known as “the cathedral of the senses”, but this temple is just as pagan as the Silk Exchange or the Fallas, UNESCO Tangible and Intangible world heritage of Valencia, and the origins of which are secular. It is also the shop window of one of the European market gardens with the highest quality indices in vegetables and citrus fruits. The Valencian countryside, which irradiates life to the rest of the continent, can be seen on the stalls and in the passageways of this industrial building, dating from just over 90 years ago. But it should not be forgotten that its innovative slopes and domes are today the modern roof of what was once a Muslim market, consolidated by the Crown of Aragón which dominated large areas of the mediaeval Mediterranean.