Portals – Outside the cathedral
The Cathedral has 3 portals and out of them, the late Romanesque Puerta de Palau in the East transept is the oldest (13 Century). With its beautiful archivolts and delicate ornaments, it belongs to the first phase of building and clearly shows Catalan influence.
The Puerta de los Apóstoles in the Western transept is part of the Gothic phase of construction, which ended in the 15C. The portal is decorated with numerous statues, including six Apostles under tabernacles and, in the tympanum, the Virgin with musicians and angels. Above the portal there is a rose-window with magnifcent tracery. In accordance with an old custom, which is said to go back to the time of the Moors, the Tribunal de las Aguas (“Tribunal of the Waters’) meets each Thursday at noon sharp in front of this portal. The Tribunal meets when noon time is announced from the Miguelete (the famous bell tower of the cathedral). The tribunal settles disputes arising from the distribution of water in the Huerta. No appeal is possible against the decision reached by the judges, who are themselves peasants.
The main entrance, an 18C baroque portal, is on the South side of the cathedral. It is also called the Puerta de Hierros, because of the grille which closes the portal forecourt. It is actually a three-storeyed façade and portal. Narrow and concave in form, it is the work of the German artist Konrad Rudolf, a pupil of Bernini, and was completed by Ignacio Vergara, who was also responsible for the statues. The top storey of the magnificent façade bears an Assumption of the Virgin.
The cathedral’s free-standing octagonal bell tower, known as Miguelete or Micalet, stands beside and to the left of the baroque portal. This sturdy tower, 223 ft. high (built 1380 – 1420), is the landmark of Valencia. Above the three undecorated storeys of red brick is a fourth storey with 8 windows, crowned with Gothic style.
The bell, hung in the bellcote (a later addition), formerly regulated the irrigation of the Huerta. From here there is a fine view of Valencia, the Huerta and the sea.