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The Bell Tower

click here to enlarge this imageIn 1381, Andreu Juli started building this representative monument of Valencia. During many centuries it was called “Campanar Nou” (New Bell Tower) or “Campanar de la Catedral” (Cathedral Bell Tower) so as to differentiate it from “Campanar Vell” (Old Bell Tower), a Romanesque square tower situated on Barxilla Street, where one can see a few wall remains. After Juli, the following architects were Josep Franch and Pere Balaguer.

click here to enlarge this imageLittle by little, due to the big clock bell, the name
“Torre del Micalet” (The Micalet Tower) replaced
the former one.

Originally, it was an outside tower close to the cloister under construction. At the end of the 15th century, it was joined to the Cathedral when the main nave was extended. Its access is through an angular door with archivolts; its perimeter is the same as its height, Catalan architecture, exterior decorations include mouldings highlighting the different levels or sections of the tower

The first body is solid, leaving only a hole for the spiral stairs; the second body has a vaulted space, which is the old “Pres” or Cathedral Refuge with an only exterior large window; the third body is the “Casa del Campaner” (House of the bell-ringer) another vaulted area similar to the previous one though a bit larger with two big windows. The upper floor is the hall of bells with eight large windows, seven of them taken up by the bells. The eighth floor has only the spiral stairs getting narrower from this point.

click here to enlarge this imageIn 1425, the tower was already finished up to the terrace, leaving Antoni Dalmau's plan unfinished, kept at the City Historical Museum. The clock bell hung from a wooden structure on stone pillars, similar to many other bell towers of the Aragon Crown. The current steeple is a complement built between 1660 and 1736. It had an elegant fretwork cresting, used as a crown and destroyed in the 18th century. It was replaced first by a wooden rail, then by a metal one (19th century) and finally by a stone rail (1983).

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