The close link between Valencia and the silk culture has resulted in it becoming a city within the project known as The Silk Route, an initiative promoted by UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization and whose main goal is to disseminate the cultural, natural and artistic heritage left by the art of silk.
The history and importance of silk in Valencia is reflected in the old neighborhood of Velluters, where all of the Silk weaver had their looms. It is said that a third of the population of Valencia lived directly or indirectly from the production and trade of silk. There are two specially significant places: the College of High Silk Art and the Silk Exchange Market.
The first stop of the Silk Route will be the College of High Silk Art, founded at the end of the 15th century, during the boom of silk production in Valencia. This beautiful building is well worth a visit, not only for its content of old costumes, sketches and fabric samples, but also for its ornate façade, Gothic chapel and colourful tiled floors and walls. In 1981 it was declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument and in 2016 it was opened to the public after being restored by the Hortensia Herrero Foundation.
The second stop will be the Lonja de la Seda or Silk Exchange building, a masterpiece of the Gothic civil architecture and the best example of the period of splendor lived in Valencia in the 15th century, known as the Valencian Golden Age. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996.
The decline of silk in Valencia began in the 18th century. However, their industry has survived to the present day thanks to the Fallas Festival and their wonderful traditional Valencian costumes.