Right off Calle Palau, within 2 minutes of the Cathedral, lay the Baths of the Admiral — a bathhouse originally constructed in 1313.
Unlike the baths we visited while in Granada, these are of Christian origin, though with their arched doorways and star-shaped skylights, clearly owe a lot to Moorish aesthetic.
We’d been meaning to visit for more than a year, and finally did a couple weeks ago. Our visit began with a short video demonstrating how a 14th century lady might have bathed herself. Afterwards, we took a short guided tour of the building. The baños consist of three rooms — cold, warm and hot. Unlike the Arab baths, guests would only sponge themselves and sit in steam, and not fully emerge in water.
The architecture and history are neat, but this isn’t exactly Valencia’s most interesting cultural offering. The Baños have been fully restored, but have lost any sense of their antiquity. The introductory video was a little cheesy, bordering on distasteful, and our guide was unenthusiastic, bordering on comatose. But again it was all for free, so it’s difficult not to recommend a visit.
The doors open every half hour for the visit. Just wait outside until invited in.
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