The history of this monument is linked to the history of the city of Valencia and I am sure you will love it.
Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 BC. At that time the Turia River was navigable right up to the point where it is now the Temple Church, so the first building here was a ROMAN CASTLE.
In the year 714 AC Valencia falls in Muslim hands. The Arabs fortified the city and built a wall around it. Historians of the period said that “there is not in Spain a fortified wall as perfect as the wall of Valencia”. On the XI century Valencia was the strongest hold of Spain. And just where the Temple Church is now one of the gates of the wall stood: the GATE CALLED “ALI BUFAT”. The gate that faces the east and up to where boats can arrive to the city from the sea.
Valencia was conquered by the Cid in 1094 after six months of siege and indeed Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar died here in Valencia. The surrender Muslim flag wave first on the \” Ali Bufat \” gate.
Muslims retook the city in 1102 and finally Valencia was reconquered in 1238 by James I the Conqueror (exactly the October 9, a date celebrated annually in Valencia), who raised the banner of victory in this gate. This banner is today preserved in the Town Hall.
James I granted the fortress, tower and adjoining houses to the Order of the Temple in gratitude for their help with the siege of the city. The Order of the Temple (Templars) is intimately linked to the Crusades. It is known that James I was educated by the Templars from his 6 to 9 years and relied on them in all his conquests.
The Templars built a small CHURCH there and left the tower and the fortress as they were.
In 1311 the Order of the Temple is suppressed and a new Order is established in the Kingdom of Valencia called the Order of Montesa that inherits all the properties that had the Order of the Temple and also the mission of protecting the Kingdom against the increasing Arab and Moorish population.
The current building was built in 1761-1770 as a MONASTERY for the monks. All the rest was demolished in 1865 in order to widen the city.
The building was abandoned during the War of Independence against the French (1808-1814): they looted the monastery, killed half of the monks and the other half was taken to France as prisoners: the vast majority died in the roads either shot or due to fatigue and hunger. The building was abandoned and became state property. It is currently home of the Government Office in Valencia