For centuries, Cabanyal (Cabañal) was known as a small fishermen village. Those were times when street stalls were playing the role of shopping centers where locals could buy food and essential goods. Things changed when in 1837 the village received the status of municipality and coming with it new name – Poble Nou de la Mar (in Catalan “New Village of the Sea”).
The new status allowed the City Council to start larger scale remodeling and reconstruction of the village. One of ideas was to build the covered market (Mercado). The initial project from 1867 presented by the famous Valencian architect Joaquin Calvo by large exceeded expectations and obviously the budget (in some form these plans were later used for the projects of Mercado Central and Colon). As the result, the City Council commissioned much more modest project by Vicente Bochons.
Soon after, under the supervision of Pedro Llorca Vidal, the first Mercado Cabanyal was built offering some 1,800 square meters of commercial space and place for 52 stalls. Opened in 1869, it became the central point of the city the next 89 years.
Growing population as well as new requirements and expectations raised by 20th century forced the city to build a new, much larger market. On July 2, 1958, the new Mercado Cabanyal located between the streets of Marti Grajales and Marino Sirera opened doors for local merchants and customers. It offered a covered area of some 3.500 square meters and space for up to 400 stalls.
With time, Mercado significantly changed bringing modern technology and improved “environment” for the benefit of merchants and customers. For example, there is a free WiFi service on the premises, home delivery service, extended working hours on Friday. If hungry, thirsty or just tired you will find there Mercado Bar offering famous Spanish snacks and sandwiches, cup of coffee (as a “specialité de la maison” bar offers homemade croquettes) etc… There is even a Bodega (not surprising, given a formidably large selection of good and inexpensive Spanish wines).
What did not change however over time in Mercado Cabanyal is the quality of merchandise and services. As in the past, the most important part of the market is the fish section. The richness and freshness of the offer as well as service’s rituals follow traditions developed over the centuries by local fishermen.
Understandably, you will find here typical fresh and green market products like fruits, vegetables, breads, dried fruits, herbs and spices, meat, sausages (and even snails), dairy products and flowers (to name just few). You will also find stalls selling household items and clothing but most likely these are not items you will look for when visiting green markets. Obviously as visitors, you may not have a chance to develop stronger “relationships” with sellers, but certainly you will experience their warmness and friendliness.
Cabanyal, despite being since almost century an integral part of Valencia, still keeps its old vibes and pace of life characteristic of fishermen’s neighborhood. Outside of the Mercado you will still find stalls where local farmers sell their products directly to the customers. You may also enjoy exploring the labyrinth of streets, appreciating colorful tiles on numerous facades and sensing local atmosphere …
And eventually you can finish your visit to Cabanyal on the nearby beach Malvarrosa, a perfect place to end-up after busy day, the place where sun, water and sand meet together.