Dades bàsiques


60 minutes

Punt de partida:

On the esplanade of the Church of Santos Juanes (Church of San Juan del Mercado)

Punt de finalització:

The garden of the Llotja

It is recommended, although it is not necessary, to use binoculars to observe some details.

The triangle made up of three of the most cutting-edge buildings in our city, La Lonja, the Market and the Church of Santos Juanes, make up the sample book of an authentic stone and metal zoo, a place where sculpture shows nature, in a real way on occasions, and with the fantasy of medieval iconography, whose tradition refers to bestiaries. at other times.

The route takes its name from the northern gate of La Lonja, which bears such a name, and from the Central Market, the first market in Spain for its variety and beautiful architecture that is, without a doubt, an invitation for the sin of gluttony.

We owe the idea to the writer Vicente Muñoz Puelles, because his book “The animals of the city” was the starting point for the elaboration, by the Museum of Natural Sciences, of these routes to discover the fauna hidden in the walls of the buildings and monuments of the city.

It is topped by a weather vane with an eagle holding an inkwell and feather from its beak. It is the famous sparrow of Sant Joan, the cause of jokes, legends and jokes that have populated the collective imagination of all Valencians.

On the façade of the church, we can see the zoological attributes of each of the titular saints of the church, the lamb, symbol of St. John the Baptist and the eagle of St. John the Evangelist. In the center of the finish, just below the clock, we have the allegory of the mystical Lamb, or Agnus Dei. In Christian iconography, the Mystical Lamb is the symbol of Christ, sacrificed for the redemption of men and recalls the Jewish tradition of the sacrifice of good for Passover.

Saint John the Evangelist is represented by his iconographic emblem, the eagle, which in heraldry means strength, power and respect. It seems that an eagle accompanied him while he was writing the gospel on the island of Patmos, as we can see illustrated in the medallion on the current entrance door.

This iconography is repeated throughout the building.

Since the Market parakeet was built in 1914, a weather vane located in the centre of the building, it has been the subject of stories and legends.

The parakeet, which is actually a cockatoo, is very present in the legends of the city, being the protagonist of numerous jokes and witty phrases of double intentions. Possibly the parakeet was installed in the building to allude to the Market as a place for chatter, gossip and gatherings in the city. It also has a meaning of strong sexual connotations in popular parlance. In addition to this weather vane we have another with a swordfish that crowns the part of the market where the fish is sold.

Attached to the central building is the well-known Llorgeta, a building that served to house the administrative part of the Market. On the balcony of the door, there is a shield supported by two limestone lions and on the corbels of the window jambs appear dogs and peacocks. The dogs seem to symbolize loyalty in this case and the peacock symbolizes beauty, immortality and wisdom. There is also another weather vane finishing off the Llotgeta building with the representation of a dragon.

Gothic building of the fifteenth century built by Pere Compte. It is the most important example of civil Gothic in Europe. The rich iconography, full of religious, magical and esoteric symbolism, is full of animals with a clear influence of medieval bestiaries. The animals represented are allegories of vices, sins and also virtues and some of these animals are also related to occultism, witchcraft and others of confusing meaning.

The representation of plants is also abundant. For the interpretation we have used the works of Salvador Aldana, renowned specialist in the iconography of La Llotja.

At the West gate, which is the one opposite the Central Market, there is a varied set of animals that, according to Medieval and Renaissance symbology, will have different meanings. Among them, dogs stand out, which, in addition to fidelity, also have another interpretation, such as envy and lust. The lion is a symbol of resurrection and strength. The pig is an unworldly animal that represents sin. On the doors appear on each side of the jambs two groups of five ducks, which seem to be associated with the great mother and descent into hell. The snake represents death. The eagle represents resurrection, strength and power. The snail represents laziness and the turtle represents wise slowness and reflection.

At the East Gate, we find four pitchers with intermingled plants: laurel, which signifies virtue; ivy and palm, glory; and myrtle, which is the symbol of Venus. Among a varied sample of vegetation, in the borders that adorn the façade, several animals and men point out.

Inside, the door that leads to the garden is known as the door of vices or sins and there is a representation of abundant animals as symbols of human weaknesses. The bird is a symbol of lust, the dog is a lustful and unworthy animal, the hare is also a symbol of lust, the monkey is a symbol of lust, and the snake is a characterization of evil.

In the doorway leading to the tower, we find a disturbing scene of a woman breastfeeding a harpy and above it there are two obiles representing death and also wisdom.

In the chapel, in the capitals of the columns attached to the wall, are the animals representing the evangelists, the ox for St. Luke, the eagle of St. John and the Lion of St. Mark.

At the door that leads to the Consulate of the Sea, we find a curious representation of a flautist frog and, under the shield, among abundant foliage, points to a lizard of a beautiful workmanship. It seems that this iconography was added in later times after the construction of the building.
In the garden we see interesting corbels with dragons, a man fighting with a lion representing Sanson of the Old Testament, real and fantastic animals and men on horseback.

Another chapter apart deserves the gargoyles. The garden features a man with a helmet pushing an enormous snail, a woman holding a monkey in her arms and a man coming out of the mouth of a large fish, which seems to be an allusion to the legend of “Jonah and the whale”. On the façades, we can see in the gargoyles of the South Door, an eagle that holds a bat between its legs. On the façade of the Market Square, we see a man opening the gargamelles of a lion.

We invite you to complete this Gothic animal facility looking for more animals to get to know this Museum of Natural Sciences in stone bequeathed to us by the master stonemasons in the best example of civil Gothic art.