Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tourist in My Own City: Mercado Central

As many of you may know, one of my favorite things to do is go to the city food markets and window shop. Most Mondays and Wednesdays after my Arabic class, I will go to Valencia’s Mercado Central to wander around and get some inspiration for meals for the week.

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This market is right in the center of the city, just a few minutes walk from the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. It is a huge building with a lot of space to walk around in. So, instead of fighting through huge crowds, like in Barcelona’s La Boqueria, you can actually take your time and enjoy looking at all the delicious food. The market is divided into two parts. The meat and vegetables are in the front and all the fish and seafood are in the back.

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Right in the middle of the market is a big open space. Look up when you get here and you will see a beautifully painted dome which reaches up 30 meters. This open space is sometimes used for events. Even Spain’s first season of Master Chef has filmed here!

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Top Chef
This market has a long history similar to La Boqueria. It began as an outdoor traveling market, in 1839 it became a permanent market called Mercado Nuevo (New Market). Some years later, it started to become too small for the expanding city. After seeing many architectural plans for a building the government decided on a design form architects Alejandro Soler March and Francisco Guardia Vial. Construction began in 1910 and finished in 1928. King Alfonso XIII was the leader at the ground breaking ceremony.

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Both tourists and locals frequent this market every day. It is one of the highlights of a trip to Valencia! But, make sure you go in the morning. It is open Monday to Saturday from 8:00-2:30. But most of the stalls start packing up around 2.