There are many beautiful buildings in Valencia, and this one is my favourite. She may not be much to look at, but she gives great inspiration to writers (well, me).
Everyone knows the gorgeous and majestic 13th century Micalet bell tower against the cathedral. Next to it lies the sweetest street in the city, Calle del Micalet. A busy road in the Valencia for hundreds of years, it is now pedestrian only and so important for the city. Anyone who has visited the city will have walked down this tiny street, and features in both of my recent Valencia-based novels (shameless plug). Most fiestas features heavily in this street’s activities, has the old water court held there on Thursday’s and the prime plazas of Valencia sit at either end of this lane. Sitting quietly on this street is the abandoned building once belonging to the local watchmaker. The cathedral used to have a clock attached to the Micalet tower, and the watchmakers lived across the street from the important town landmark. When the clock and the adjoining buildings were torn from the cathedral side on Calle del Micalet, the watchmakers store and building across the street also became abandoned, and has sat in a state of despair ever since. Tucked just behind the bell tower, it just hides itself in multiple photos of the cathedral entrance, but the adjoining buildings can be seen. These buildings were still standing in the early part of the civil war, but then disappear from photos, around the same time the watchmakers abandoned their building. The building has been used for a few different businesses on the ground floor since, but in the decade that I have known the place, it has never once been open.
Good news came just yesterday that work has begun to stabilise this old relic, with metal beams going up, and mesh covering the facade for protection. While the Valencian government claim to have to no money to fully restore the building, it will be stabilised now, at a cost of €35.000, to preserve it for future use. El ayuntamiento consolida su finca junto al Micalet para evitar que se caiga.
I love this little street and the watchmakers building. When you walk past it, it whispers a grand history of this ancient city. Expect it to be a main attraction in a historical novel by me soon as I uncover its full history.
Historical photos from Juan Antonio Soler Aces and current photos by Caroline Angus Baker