A brief History about the urbanism of our neighborhood
Our neighborhood is called la Roqueta (The little rock), and located within the bigger district of Extramurs. In 1876 the first division of the city was made, creating the first districts, resulting in the current nineteen districts in 1979. ‘Extramurs' was the name given to the part of the city that was 'beyond the wall', the medieval Christian wall, which is where you will now find Guillem de Castro street. Extramurs district started to develop with the demolition of the medieval Christian wall in 1865, which allowed the coexistence between the old and the new.
The ciutat Vella (historical city) is shown in several elements, such as the height of the buildings, their colors, and the irregular shape of the plots. The 'new' is observed in the modern urbanistic principles, typical for the bourgeois city. If you have an hour to spare, take a walk around the neighborhood, and observe the connections existing between the Spanish popular traditions, and those coming from foreign cultures settled in this neighborhood.
la Roqueta is related to Roman times through the figure of St. Vincent Martyr, the patron saint of the city, who came here in the fourth century to promote Christianity. He was condemned to death and tortured by the city Governor Dacianus. After his death his body was put into a rock, and left to be eaten by birds and other sea creatures. This is how the neighborhood was named la Roqueta. His remains were eventually retrieved by Christians, who deposited them in what is today the church of San Vicente de la Roqueta. In the 13th century a small hermitage was built in the place where Dacianus ordered to dispose of the body of the saint. The temple disappeared, and in 1977 a new building was put in its place. All these places, related to the life of St. Vincent, are now the home of popular celebrations, ceremonies, parades, folk music and fireworks and part of the daily life of the neighborhood.
The first signs of urbanism became visible after the conquest of King Jaume I. An architectural complex, consisting of a church, a monastery and a hospital, was built in this area. Other constructions began to surround them, gradually forming the suburb of San Vicente, today the neighborhood of La Roqueta. The successive urban plans caused the loss of the orchard and some important historic buildings, such as the Jerusalem Convent, where the Alonso Building was built in 1930.
One of the most emblematic buildings of the neighborhood dates from the 19th century. The Trinquet Pelayo was built in 1868. This place, proudly referred to as the oldest sports facility in Spain, is where the traditional game of pelota is played. Read more about our experience at the Trinquet here.
Pelayo Street has always been active commercially: in the early 20th century lots of street trades here were related to rail transport. Nowadays, the commercial activity is mainly carried out by East Asian immigrants, who have opened various restaurants, several very specialized asian food markets and bazars. They co-exist with typical local bars, valencian folk clothing stores, vintage record shops, firecracker shops and, of course, the legendary Paris-Valencia bookstore.
This heterogeneity and mixture of styles, times and cultures is one of the characteristics that define the esthetics of the neighborhood, a proud melting pot!
Architectural information extracted from the book Geometría y Mestizaje, by Joel Mestre and Isabel Tristan.