Its full name is “The Metropolitan Cathedral–Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia,” but people will know what you mean if you just call it the Valencia Cathedral. Consecrated in the 13th century, the cathedral has what it claims to be the true Holy Grail, an ornately decorated stone chalice dating back to the first century A.D. Mainly Gothic in architectural style, the cathedral features lofty vaulted ceilings, impressive stained glass windows, and a breathtakingly elaborate high altar with gilt molding, statues, and large religious paintings. You’ll also see a painting by Goya and the mummified arm of San Vincente Martyr. If you like, you can also climb the octagonal bell-tower El Micalet, the favorite subject of Valencia’s postcards. The attached cathedral museum preserves old stonework from previous renovations, plus some dazzling gold and silver religious figures. If you only have the interest or patience to see one cathedral in Spain, Valencia’s cathedral would be my personal pick.
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Listen to the bells at Valencia's Cathedral
Perhaps most famous for its iconic bell tower, the Torre de Micalet, Valencia's cathedral is home to Spain's biggest collection of Gothic bells. Some of the bells are played manually for the city's major festivals and special events, and others are rung mechanically on the hour.
The cathedral also offers guided visits and a small museum exhibiting religious art and artifacts.
A particularly interesting relic in this cathedral is the chalice, Santo Calíz, housed in its own chapel, and believed by many to be none other than the holy grail.
Built by the earliest Christian conquerors of this previously Muslim area, Cathedral de la Santa Maria stands guard over one of the loveliest squares (placas) in old Valencia. Make sure you walk all the way up to the altar, as the ceiling over this portion of the church is painted a stunning blue with angels that were hidden from view for nearly 300 years, and only ‘recently’ uncovered by restorers.
Valencia’s most important church, affectionately known as La Seu, stands at the center of the old town, with its octagonal bell tower (the Micalet) visible for miles around. Gothic in origin (the first stone was laid in 1262), the interior was revamped in a neoclassical style in the 18th century. Not to be missed are the Goya paintings in the Chapel of San Francisco de Borja, but the cathedral’s most famous treasure is the Holy Chalice, one of the most convincing candidates for the Holy Grail.