The 15th Century saw an explosion in Valencia’s economic, cultural and artistic output. The city established itself then as one of the focal points of Mediterranean trade, maintaining commercial relationships with cities in France, Italy and North Africa. Many civic, military and religious buildings are visible in the city today that stand testament to the prosperity of this era. One example is the Lonja de Valencia, the trade exchange centre whose construction began in 1483 to a design by Valencian engineer and architect Pere Compte. La Lonja, located in the city’s old town, is a true gem of Gothic civil architecture and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.