Manises is a small town on the northwestern edge of Valencia, just a stone’s throw from the airport. Don’t go throwing too many stones though, as you are bound to damage some ceramics or tilework because the streets are just full of it!
The best place to start is the impressive and free ceramics museum. Set on four floors, the muesum takes you through the fascinating history of tile-making and ceramics in the town. The industry dates all the way back to the early 1300s. Each floor has its own character but we never got to the bottom of why there is a tile-clad torture chair on the upper level which presumably was created to show what might have existed during the Spanish Inquisition! Tiles of all manner of colours and design are on display throughout the museum. There are also some incredible black and white photos of industry workers doing their duty. One particular piece of ceramics that caught my eye was the sinai aguas. These tall water filters were both beautiful and practical in a time when drinking water was not as accessible as it is today.
Wandering around the streets you’ll see tiles besides many front doors. There are also interesting displays all over the place. A few old factories are still visible and the exterior of the market is quite outstanding.
Don’t leave town without going into Parc els Filtres. Primarily aimed at children, there are about fifty different tiled pictures showing the history of the region using cartoon characters. As a collection it is cute and captivating as well as being very educational.
For those, like us, who also like a mural or two, there is a great selection just a couple of streets north of the museum. They appear to have a bit of a Japanese theme about them.
Getting there is easy. We drove as it was a morning’s stop on the way into the city of Valencia and parked near an old chimney from a ceramics factory with a lovely view as we ate our picnic! Lines 3, 5 and 9 of the Metro go all the way to Manises too so it’s easy to get there from the city centre. The old railway station is currently undergoing some sort of refurbishment and will become the tourist information office. Just peeping out from underneath the tarpaulin are some interesting looking train tiles. There’s also some curious artwork on some of the nearby walls.
You can get a whistlestop tour of Maises on Youtube too:
Please let us know if you visit. It’s always good to hear if our readers enjoy places as much as we do.