Sunday, January 15, 2017

Gothic Architecture: Torres de Serrans - Valencia, Spain

Torres de Serrans 
Cataluña, Spain

N 39° 28.763 W 000° 22.557

Short Description: 

Torres de Serrans is one of the twelve gates that formed part of the ancient city wall, the Christian Wall, of the City of Valencia. it is located at Plaça dels Furs, Valencia,  Spain

Long Description:

The Torre de Serrans (Valencian spelling) was built between 1392 and 1398 by Pere Balaguer in the Valencian Gothic style as part of the city's fortification. Construction began on the April 6, 1392, on the site of an older gateway. It was completed March 1398. The structure is considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in Europe.

At each end of the structure are pentagon shaped guard towers with crenellated battlements. The towers are joined by a two story structure. On the city side there are three large Gothic style pointed arched openings and the second level. The towers rise above the second level and, on the city side, there are two arched openings below the towers. A central, ground level, arched opening functioned as the city gate. The Serranos Towers are made of hard stone with a limestone façade to give it a smooth appearance.

After one of the main prisons of Valencia burnt down in 1586 the towers were converted into a prison for knights and the nobility, like the Tower of London or the Bastille. In 1887, all the prisoners were transferred to the monastery of Saint Austin and it ceased to be a prison. Since the Torres de Serrans were in active use when the city wall were dismantled, the structure was spared destruction. Today if functions as a museum.

The Serranos Towers became the ceremonial entrance to the city. During the Spanish Civil War, art from the Prado was stored in the towers for protection from Francoist bombers.

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