Rare phenomena in the Cathedral of Valencia

by Lorraine Williamson
Valencia Cathedral

VALENCIA – In the cathedral tower of Valencia, better known as Miguelete or Micalet, a special solar alignment takes place every year. It was already planned during construction in the 14th century. The tower was completed in 1425.

This unique phenomenon occurred on August 15, the feast day of the Assumption of Mary, to whom the tower is dedicated. On this morning, sunlight shines through a window for a few minutes into a space shrouded in shadow for the rest of the year. 

This particular room is located on the second floor of the tower and has an octagonal base with a vaulted ceiling. People who were fleeing from prosecution were once hidden here. The window, which faces east, is very narrow and placed high above the ground. It serves as an arrowslit, given the sheer thickness of the wall. 

Valencia Cathedral

Forgotten phenomenon 

The phenomenon was forgotten for years. However, around 2010 or 2011, after ringing the bells, the bellringers noticed there was light in the room. They thought someone left the electric light on. To their surprise, however, they saw sunlight enter a space where they had never seen it before. Since then, this phenomenon has become known. 

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A witness of this phenomenon on August 15, 2014, captured it in photos. Sunlight began to enter the space at 10.17 am. The light then shifted across the floor toward the centre of the octagonal space, disappearing completely again at 10.46 am. The incidence of light in space, which is shrouded in darkness for the rest of the year, lasted a total of 29 minutes. 

Valencia Cathedral

Miguelete Tower 

The Miguelete Tower is the bell tower of the Valencia Cathedral and one of the most iconic landmarks of Valencia. The construction of the Miguelete began in the 14th century, in 1381. However, it was not completed until 1429 in the 15th century. Despite its long construction period, the tower has a fairly cohesive Gothic style. The Miguelete is octagonal in shape, and its robust appearance is complemented by buttresses. 

Visitors can climb the 207 steps of its spiral staircase to reach the terrace, from which they can enjoy panoramic views of the city of Valencia. The belfry houses several bells, but the most prominent one is the main bell, weighing approximately 7 tons. This main bell is named after St. Michael. 

Related: Top 10 Cathedrals in Spain

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