A jewel in Valencia: the church of San Nicolás de Bari

Discovering its much and valuable historical and artistic heritage is one of the main reasons to undertake a trip to Valencia. Y Among all these treasures of the past emerges the imposing church of San Nicolás de Bari, located in the heart of the Ciutat Vella, the old district of the city and an area with varied monumental claims. However, this church stands out on the whole and becomes a must see and most surprising, both for its architecture and especially for the paintings that decorate its interior.

Origins of Saint Nicholas of Bari

The building of this church in Valencia traces its origins to the fifteenth century. However, in this same location there was always a religious building, even in Roman times. Since when they arrived in Valencian lands in this place they established the center of their colony and precisely here they built a temple, as indicated by the archaeological remains found.

Church of San Nicolás de Bari - Alberto Loyo

That building was later transformed into a Paleo-Christian church, and centuries later, with the Muslim conquest of the city, here a mosque was erected. This was maintained until Valencia was reconquered by Jaime I of Aragon in the thirteenth century, at which time he devoted himself to Christianity.

The architecture of San Nicolás de Bari

We had to wait until the early fifteenth century, for that church to be rebuilt completely. Some works that were made following the characteristics of the Gothic, the same style that can be seen in many of the buildings of the Valencian historical center, such as several palaces, including that of the Generalitat, and especially in the spectacular Valencian Lonja.

«The purpose of art is to give body to the secret essence of things, not to copy their appearance.»

- Aristotle -

The paintings of the church

However, although the medieval architecture of the temple is most interesting, there is no doubt that its great value is found as all that religious enclosure is completely decorated with mural paintings of enormous quality. So much, that this church is many occasions is named as the "Valencian Sistine Chapel".

Church of San Nicolás de Bari - Joanbanjo / commons.wikimedia.org

However, unlike the famous Renaissance frescoes painted by Michelangelo in the Vatican, here we are facing a splendid example of baroque art from the end of the 17th century, in which the paintings are combined with the reliefs or the very ornamental stucco.

A great work in which different artists intervened, but especially we have to name two. One was Antonio Palomino, who made the general design and from which other works of his can be seen in various temples in the center of Valencia such as the Basilica of the Virgen de los Desamparados or the church of Santos Juanes. And the second character to name is his outstanding student, Dionis Vidal, who made much of the paintings during four years of work.

The visit to San Nicolás de Bari today

Church of San Nicolás de Bari - Joanbanjo / commons.wikimedia.org

The passage of time was wreaking havoc in this pictorial set of extraordinary quality. But fortunately, the temple has been restored in depth and today his paintings look really spectacular and look very close to what they might have originally.

So if you are preparing a getaway to Valencia, sign up the visit to the church of San Nicolás de Bari on your travel agenda. We are convinced that You will be frankly impressed by its beauty and value. Of course, find out before the programming of their masses, since tourist visits can not enter during the hours of worship.

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