On the Plaza del Mercado, this 15th-century building is a product of Valencia's golden age, when the city's prosperity as one of the capitals of the Corona de Aragón made it a leading European commercial and artistic center. The Lonja was constructed as an expression of this splendor. Widely regarded as one of Spain's finest civil Gothic buildings, its facade is decorated with ghoulish gargoyles, complemented inside by high vaulting and slender helicoidal (twisted) columns.
Opposite the Lonja stands the Iglesia de los Santos Juanes (Church of the St. Johns), gutted during the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War, and, next door, the Moderniste Mercado Central (Central Market), with its wrought-iron girders and stained-glass windows. The bustling food market (at 8,160 square meters, one of the largest in Europe) is open Monday through Saturday 8 to 2; locals and visitors alike queue up at the 1,247 colorful stalls to shop for fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and confectionary.