San Juan del Hospital is the oldest church in Valencia founded after the re-conquest of Spain from the Moors. It was founded in the 13th century (1238) by the military-religious Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem. When King Jaime the First, the Conqueror, recaptured Valencia from the Moors, he gave the Order some land next to the Xerea Gate and in front of his camp. They have defended it ever since.
The 13th century in Valencia was a time of great changes. It was a time of transition from Islam to Christianity and artistic and architectural styles began to change from the Romanesque to the Gothic. Both of these styles are to be found in the church - elements of the Romanesque style can be seen on the side doors. These doors, older than the "Puerta del Palau" in the cathedral, are contained in a semi-circular arch formed in the faĆ§ade with a tympanum of plain wedged stones. Above this arch the original coat of arms of the Order of St. John can be seen. The coat of arms was changed years later and the more stylized emblem can be seen in the Gothic arch and window above the doors. This coat of arms has assisted researchers in accurately dating the construction of the church.
The main Romanesque characteristics are the heavy buttresses which support the walls and help distribute the weight of the vaulted roof as well as the very few openings in the walls, other than a few arrow slits. The ceiling is also low, another sign of its early construction, which is also seen in the frieze supported by dog's heads on the external wall to the left of the door. Arabic influences are particularly noticeable in the rectangular plan of the single nave a... [ ]