Due to its architectural distinctiveness, these days Mercado Redonda is rather known as one of popular tourist attractions than as a traditional market as it used to be in the past. Almost perfect circular wall of four-floors houses with identical facades isolates what is known as Plaça Redona (Plaza Redonda) in other words “Round Square” from the surrounding historical center of Valencia. Four entrance gates (or rather passageways) provide the only connection to the outside world – the world of many remarkable touristic attractions (narrowest building in Europe on adjacent Plaza Lope de Vega) and historical monuments like the church of Santa Catalina (and its impressive tower) as well as Cathedral and Basilica on nearby plazas de la Reina and de la Virgen…..

Plaza Redonda: Perfect Round Square in the center of the crowded urban landscape
Source: Memoria Histórica: La Plaza Redonda


Valencia has the history of more than two thousand years. Founded by Romans few tens of years BC, subsequently it became an important commercial center under Moor’s rule. Since then across the following centuries the place today occupied by Plaza Redonda was serving as the fish and meat market. Big changes to the area brought the 19th century. Firstly, for the “sanitary” reasons in 1806 supporting the market slaughterhouse was moved outside of the old town. Secondly, the legislation from 1835 (so-called Desamortización) allowed for confiscation of monastic properties and by that opened a fresh supply of founds into city’s coffers. No wonder, it did not take long for the Town Council to initiate massive and badly needed (re)-construction works in the historical center.

The demolition of the old structures including the abandoned slaughterhouse in February 1837 and signaled the beginning of the new era. The construction works of what today is known as the Plaza Redonda started in the late summer of 1837 following approval of the project presented by municipal architect – Salvador Escrig Melchor on August 28. Works took several years, but when finished in 1846, the city got the new “center” in the center of the old town – perfectly round (37 meters in diameter) square initially named Plaza Nueva. It was designed (as the historical past obliged) as the commercial center primarily dedicated to fish and meat market. Interestingly, its interior’s round shape was hidden from the outside view as the whole block housing the new plaza had the shape of the larger polygon determined by the layout of surrounding streets and buildings.

Plaza Redonda in its historical form before recent renovations
Picture: Jose Rafael Navarro
Source: Memoria Histórica: La Plaza Redonda


Few years later (in 1850), the Plaza Nueva, soon also called Plaça del Cid (The Hole) received farther improvements – the ring of 8 trees and water source with 8 taps at its center. The trees brought a bit of nature into this brick “Hole” while the fresh water source (much needed improvement of sanitary conditions) represented new trends in the development of the city – distribution of water and canalization.

The next major modification took place in 1916. Due to the reconstruction of the Central Market, many stalls (especially the fish market) were moved to the nearby Plaça del Cid. Square became a crowded place with numerous vendors selling from the push-carts. In order to provide protection from the rain for sellers and buyers, the city council approved construction of the circular wooden shed covering the major part of the plaza. In 1977 mobile carts were replaced by fixed commercial posts (sort of kiosks) installed under the shed. Both modifications met with strong public criticism as they substantially changed Redondo’s initial open-space arrangement and undermining harmonious aesthetic value of the historical place.

The time and let’s face it – neglect, made further contribution to the degradation of the Plaza Redonda. No wonder that at the beginning of the 21st century the famous plaza was “shadow” of itself. The houses originally designed for commerce and storage with time were converted to habitable space. As the result, the individual facades were painted with different colors, some windows were replaced with larger ones and if all these was not enough – few penthouses had been built on the roof. The economic crisis at the turn of the century additionally led to widespread neglect (chipping paint, debris and frankly dirt…).

Plaza Redonda in first decades of 20th century lost most of its perfect uniformity
Source: La Plaza Redonda De Valencia by Adrián Saiz Pardo – Departament d’Història de l’Art, (Universitat De València)
In 2007 the city council commissioned the restoration project to bring the Plaza Redonda to its initial symmetry. All architectural “dissonances” were removed, the original uniform color of facades was restored. In the last phase of restoration in 2012, the old wooden cover was replaced by a modern one from stainless-steel and glass, the old commercial booths were replaced by new ones and the pavement changed.

Plaza Redonda at the end of 20th century: Penthouses erected on the roof completely destroyed the harmony of the original design.
Source: Memoria Histórica: La Plaza Redonda


Since the beginning of the project, importance of the future Plaza Redonda was sealed by its location – almost in the geographical center of the walled at that time city of Valencia.

Valencia with its City Walls in the 1830s by Alfred Guesdon (Source – Wikipedia)

This was probably the main factor determining the model of the plaza presented to the City Council by the architect Salvador Escrig.
The idea was to create the perfect “center” in the center of the town. And the only architectural form satisfying this requirement was a circle “fenced” by a wall of identical buildings. The simplistic design characterized by high level of uniformity underlined by repetitive pattern of doors and windows along the wall of facades of 4-story houses and continuous ring of balconies represented the Valencian neoclassicism. This perfect harmony was disturbed only by the asymmetrical location of the four entrance gates determined by the layout of the existing streets.

The ground floor consisted of shops and commercial stands, the first and second floors were intended for rental housing and the last floor (originally with small horizontal windows) was designed as the storage space supporting commercial functions of the plaza. By all measures – with its diameter of only 37 meters (slightly more than 121 feet) the future plaza at the center of the old town was quite modest!

Above: Plaza Redonda: “Unfolded” wall of facades of the final project by Salvador Escrig.
Below: Vaulted Entrance Gates

Source: La Plaza Redonda De Valencia by Adrián Saiz Pardo Departament d’Història de l’Art, (Universitat De València)

The facades were made from brick with wooden beams covered with plaster and painted in “peach-orange” color. The ground level included 34 bays and four entrance gates leading to the surrounding streets, while the three remaining floors included 38 openings each (balcony doors on the 1st and 2nd floor) and horizonal windows on the last floor. The railings of the ring balconies along the 1st and 2nd floors were made from wrought iron. The “wall” of facades was crowned by decorative cornice and topped by tiled roof inclined towards the plaza.

The construction works were supervised by Bartolomé Lláser (master builder) and team of architects including Jorge Gisbert, Sebastián Monleón and Timoteo Calvo, – in close collaboration with the author of the project – Salvador Escrig.
Although it was not part of the original project, few years after the opening of the Plaza Redonda a large obelisk containing eight taps of fresh water and topped with gas lantern was erected in the center of the place. Additionally, the ring of eight leafy trees was planted around this fountain, strengthening the perception of the perfect square.
Recently, the Plaza Redonda was declared as a Site of Local Relevance, and by that fact included on the list of protected sites.

Plaza Redonda after most recent renovations
Source: La Plaza Redonda De Valencia by Adrián Saiz Pardo – Departament d’Història de l’Art, (Universitat De València)

What to do at Plaza


Since the beginning, the Plaza Redonda served as the commercial fish & meat market. Over the years it did not lost its original character, although today you will rather find here shops selling rather local ceramics, clothing, souvenirs and all sorts of embroidery and haberdashery than meat and fish as it used to be in the past …. However, meat and fish (or seafood) lovers still can find there something for themselves thanks to the fact that many old shops were converted into tapas bars and cafeterias 😊.
The atmosphere on the plaza dramatically changes on Sundays, when the plaza transforms into a colorful space where merchants including local craftsmen, painters and all sorts of artists present their own selection of “art”, souvenirs, antiques, coins, stamps, books…. etc.
For many, today’s Plaza Redonda lost its past importance and charm and is not the most amazing place in Valencia neither the most important local attraction. However, it is still a bustling to visit, to feel it’s vibes, possibly find some souvenir(s) or just stop for a cup of coffee when exploring the old Valencia. What is still true, is that the Plaza Redonda due to its location is still on almost all touristic paths exploring Valencia.



Plaza Redonda is located between the Mercado Central and the Plaza de la Reina (near the cathedral). As it is “invisible” from the outside so as marking points can serve Plaza Santa Catalina (with its famous tower soaring above the streets’ level and the Plaza Lope de Vega. You can access the plaza via any of passageways correspondingly from the streets: Carrer dels Drets (Derechos), Carrer de la Sombreberia (via the passage de la Vallence), Carrer de la Pescateria and directly from the Plaza Lope de Vega.