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History of the Plaza

The square has been in the heart of Valencia since the demolition of the convent of St. Francis de Valencia, but the form we see today is mostly a result of reconstruction in the past century.

First granted by James I of Aragon to the St Francis monks to build a monastery in the 13th century the buildings were finally demolished in 1891 making the open area which today we know as Plaza Ayuntamiento, but which has had different names at different times.

During the Franco regime the square was called Plaza del Caudillo or "Square of the Leader", a reference to General Franco himself.  After the transitions it was given the more descriptive name Plaza del País Valenciano, to reflect it's place in the heart of the city.  Still many people use this name for it though since 1987 it is formally Plaza Del Ayuntamiento according to the city maps.

Currently there are proposals to rename it yet again, this time in honor of James I, coming full circle.

As a side shoot to the naming there is a local in 2011 protest movement in the square in support of the May 15th movement, and renaming the square after this is also common among young people, but this is not official.

Full list of names of the Plaza

  • 1423 - 1840 Plaza de San Francisco
  • 1840 - 1843 Plaza del General Espartero
  • 1843 - 1868 Plaza de Isabel II
  • 1868 - 1874 Plaza de la Libertad
  • 1874 - 1899 Plaza de San Francisco
  • 1899 - 1939 Plaza de Emilio Castelar
  • 1939 - 1979 Plaza del Caudillo
  • 1979 - 1987 Plaza del Pais Valenciano
  • 1987 - present Plaza del Ayuntamiento

For a greater detailed history of the Plaza in Spanish please read http://www.jdiezarnal.com/valenciaentornoayuntamientohistoria.html