Mercado Ruzafa is one of the most characteristic structures located in the famous bohemian neighborhood of Valencia – Russafa. The name Russafa (you will also find its Castilian version “Ruzafa”) is derived from an Arabic word Ruṣāfa meaning “garden”. In fact, this name reflects Valencian past because for long time the area was part of the gardens created back in the 9th century for the Moorish ruler Abd-Allah al-Balansi (hence also came the name Balencia).
Across the following centuries the fast-growing metropolis hungry for new development areas literally “devoured” neighborhoods – this process sealed the destiny of gardens. In 1954 the City Council issued a permission for construction of the Municipal Market of Ruzafa in the heart of the already well-established district, next to one of its old historical monuments – church of San Valero.
The project led by Julio Bellot Senet was finished in May 1957. The structure of about 4,800 square meters (52,000 square feet) includes four sections: traditional food market (meat, dairy products, fruits, veggies, herbs…), fish market, administrative section and an underground parking. Seen from the outside it is a modern, concrete, one level structure. Each of its sides is painted in a different color: correspondingly blue, green, orange and brown nicely blending with the bohemian character of the area. But for local residents (and certainly for visitors), colors also facilitate “orientation” in the city’s landscape given the highly symmetrical structure of the market. Additionally, their choice seems to indicate specific sections of the market (for example blue color points to the section of the fish market, green to fruits and veggies etc…).
Mercado Today (What to do/where to go)
Mercado Rusaffa certainly stays in the shadow of much more tourist-oriented and architecturally attractive Mercado Central. However, in contrast to the latter, you will find here more authenticity and tradition characteristic of old fresh food markets as well as famous spirit of Bario’s neighborhood.
It is also important to underline, that the Mercado Russafa provides supply of fresh food mostly from local farms specializing in ecological agriculture. Good examples of such suppliers are Agrolife (fruits and vegetables), Bon Profit and Filo (meat), Isabel Martinez etc… While healthy food offered on stalls of Mercado Russafa is certainly appreciated by local residents, visitors usually consider the Market as part of Russafa’s landscape ambiance characterized by numerous art galleries, entertainment clubs, souvenir shops, fashionable cafes and bars, cozy restaurants and let’s make it clear – the charming atmosphere hanging in the air.
The Market Ruzafa is located on the Plaça del Baró de Cortés surrounded by streets: Calle de Pere III el Gran and Calle de la Reina Na Maria, Calle del Dr. Serrano, Calle del Consolat del Mar, Calle del Mestre Aguilar, Calle de Francesco Sempere, Calle dels Tomasos, Calle de Mossen Femenia….
It’s wort to note that the Mercado Ruzafa has an underground parking for those coming by cars (do not count on a parking spot on the streets. It may happen but it’s a very rare event.)