Saint Vincent’s Jail: Valencia’s Oldest Chill-out?

From the outside it looks like a faceless, modern building, even though it’s located in an attractive square in the historic centre of Valencia, just behind the cathedral.

However, when you go inside you find yourself in Valencia’s oldest chill-out, with Pink Floydesque music playing and some fairly charming ruins, which we are assured date back to the times when the Visigoths briefly reigned supreme here, after the Romans barged their way in, conquering left, right and centre on their unbearably straight roads.

Interesting people the Visigoths; don’t know anything about them and wouldn’t really know where to look as they didn’t leave voluminous writings explaining their civilisation.

These ruins are supposed to date back to the birth of Christianity in the Iberian Peninsula and contain two tombs, one of which is believed to be that of Justinian, a Bishop of Valencia.

Later, in 711 AD the Moors would take over Valencia for 500 years, and turn this particular holy shrine into public baths, although it is Roman, Visigoth and Christian remains that are on display here.

As for Saint Vincent, the earliest of the two saints with the same name in Valencia, he of the martyrdom and not Vicente Ferrer, his story is told on a video, if you can hear it over the swirling chords of that really relaxing music.

Whether the 4th century saint, martyred by those bloody Romans, was actually imprisoned here is debatable, but it gives the tiny museum a certain chic.


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