Mercado de Rojas Clemente is a small fresh-food market is located at the “edge” of the Old Town in the district Extramurs, commonly known as district “El Botanic”. In fact, Valencia’s botanic garden as well as Torres de Quart (15th century defensive gothic walls with entrance gate) and IVAM (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno) are three biggest tourist attractions in the neighborhood. It may be worth to mention, that Mercado’s name “Rojas Clemente” (BTW – located on the namesake plaza) has common roots with the Botanical Garden: Simon Rojas Clemente y Rubio – one of the greatest Spanish botanists (born in the 2nd half of the 18th century in the province of Valencia).
The Mercado Rojas Clemente was inaugurated on December 15, 1963. It provided modern covered space for stalls previously operating as the daily street market on the small Plaza de San Sebastian (just next to the botanical garden). Initially there was 88 double stalls offering fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, salted and fresh meat cuts, bakery and pastries as well as fish. Interestingly, since the beginning on Mercado’s premises were also two bars.
Mercado’s underground level housed supporting warehouses and cold stores, while on the upper floor were offices for market’s administration and for what at first look seems surprising – an office of the Bank of Bilbao. While today it may make sense (at least in a form of an ATM) at those times it was not obvious – its presence was justified by the fact that the Bank of Bilbao was actually financing the operation of the newly established Mercado.
Today, after almost 55 years of operation the Mercado Rojas Clemente became the focal point for local residents. As expected, time brought several changes on the floor. You will find now more and more stands selling organic food. Salted meat rather vanished giving place not only for larger selection of fresh cuts but also for all sorts of famous Spanish “Jamones” and sausages. Equally inviting are shops selling freshly baked breads and pastries, dried fruits and rich selection of fish. There is even a wine shop as well as a Greek corner bringing some sort of “exotic taste” into predominantly local flavors.
Operating on the premises – the restaurant Rojas Clemente and café bar bring the friendly, relaxing atmosphere into typically vibrant environment of fresh food markets.
But time had also a negative impact on the Mercado Rojas Clemente. The relatively modern design of 60-ties after more than half of century largely lost its appeal while impoverished exterior walls were rather reminiscence of poverty characteristic of first decennia after WW2. In order to change this largely outdated look, recently Municipality together with Mercado’s administration embarked on a project to give an attractive touch to the structure. In close collaboration with students of the School of Arts they set-off the program to change the image of Mercado’s exterior and interior walls the way to reflect its local, urban character. The results were greatly welcomed by the neighborhood and I guess by visitors.
Antonio Marín Segovia
Arte Urbano en el Mercado de Rojas Clemente – Botánico – Valencia