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Crypt of San Vicente Martyr - Sight-seeing / Attractions in Valencia, Spain.
Cripta Arqueologica De San Vicente Martir
The Crypt of San Vicente is one of the most ancient parts of Valencia. Originally a Visigoth chapel from 6th century AD, it was converted into palace baths during the Muslim rule. After the reconquista King Jaime built a chapel on the remains, dedicated to San Vicente Martyr. In addition to the cross-shaped restored Visigoth chapel, the crypt also hosts a part of Roman house ornament, left from the surrounding houses of the Roman nobles, and a corner of a huge Visigoth cathedral this structure was a small part of. As such, the crypt truly spans the entire history of Valencia and is a treat for a history lover. Normally you can just walk in and see the ruins. However, on their own they are silent and might not impress you that much unless you really know your archaeology. Book the audiovisual - it is amazing. Scroll down to read about it below.
Viewing time: 30
What it is about: archaeological
ruins dating from VI century AD.
Presentation: the ruins, archaeological items, audiovisual tour (optional)
The building: the crypt is currently under a residential building
audiovisual tour (in Sp
or En) by reservation (call or book in the City
Museum opposite the crypt)
The Audiovisual Tour of The Crypt of San Vicente
The stones and the brochure don't tell you much. Yet there is a lot of history in this crypt. The audiovisual is a projection on the very walls of the crypt, with a voice over. It is incredibly well made, stylish and atmospheric, through a number of well-written personal accounts of various characters through the ages, and complemented with stunning computer generated models of what the crypt looked like in those times. The graphics will not only show you the past structures on this site, but will also give you an idea of what entire Valencia was like in Roman, Visigoth, Muslim and Middle Age times.
You will start with Roman Valentia and carry on to the story of San Vicente Martyr whose name the crypt carries. San Vicente was a 4th century Christian martyr, tortured to death by the Romans. His story is very impressive and moving. Then a Greek pilgrim will show you around the Visigoth Valencia and the cathedral, after which a Muslim historian will tell you of the palace baths and the re-conquista of Balansyia by King Jaime. Then the tour will plunge you into the intimate atmosphere of the Visigoth chapel, the centre-piece of the crypt.
It is all a profound story, focusing on one building, yet putting the whole history of Valencia and its cultures into perspective. It gives you an idea of how ancient this city is and how much it has seen. Besides, San Vicente Martyr is a very prominent figure in Valencia, he is the patron saint of the Valencian Community, although it never becomes quite clear whether he was actually ever jailed within these walls, or the site was simply named after him.
Audiovisuals are booked (see info above in "Museum Services") and whoever books it chooses the language. If you are already in the crypt when someone else's tour starts you will be invited to join or to wait until they finish (you won't be able to see anything apart from the projection as the lights go off). If you arrive while a tour is in progress, you will have to wait at the entrance until it is finished.
After the tour you can continue seeing the crypt.
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