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