Valencia Photos of the Month: Puerta de los Apóstoles and the Tribunal de las Aguas

Valencia’s cathedral, which began construction in 1262 on the site of a mosque, has three main entrances – the main palace entrance by the Micalet tower (Romanesque), the Almoina (Baroque), and the Puerta de los Apostoles (Gothic) entrance. Since there is so much to cover at the cathedral, today we just are focusing on the Gothic entrance, the Door of the Apostles.

The entrance leads onto Plaza de la Virgen, and was the original entrance to the mosque on the same site. It has around fifty reliefs of angels virgins and saints. It also has figures of the apostles, which gives the entrance its name, and a rose window with the star of David above the door for light into the cathedral. This area of Valencia is central to the fiestas and religious holidays of the city, and the door features in many photos of the city throughout its history due to its fantastic location. If you want a photo of any of the buildings in Plaza de la Virgen without the hordes of crowds, it’s best to start early. I have tried to find the best photos I have without the crowds, but it’s not easy.

Every Thursday at midday, the Tribunal de las Aguas de la Vega de Valencia, the Water Court or Water Tribunal, hold a session on the steps of the Apostles door. The court is held in Valencian and has no written records, but has been discussing irrigation matters of the areas (Quart, Benàger i Faitanar, Tormos, Mislata, Mestalla, Favara, Rascanya, Rovella and Chirivella) for almost 1000 years. Vicente Blasco Ibáñez wrote about the court in detail in his 18th century novel La Barraca, and I added a section on it in Blood in the Valencian Soil, when it featured in a major storyline set in the present day.

One more glorious photo – In Vengeance in the Valencian Water, in the storyline set in 1957, the main character José Morales Ruiz has to struggle to survive in the flood of the city, and pauses in Plaza de la Virgin. Here is an exact picture of what just how to plaza looked in 1957, with the Puerta de los Apóstoles in the background. Little bit of book trivia for you.

Años 50, plaza de la Virgen con la fuente, la puerta de los Apostóles y el Cimborrio de la Catedral.

Once again, all historical photos are courtesy of Juan Antonio Soler Aces.

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