Wednesday, 13 August 2014



In the gargoyles appear different themes: 
monsters, animals, humanoids, which in some cases are wrapped with lust, creating terrifying sets. 

The ornamental carved figures on this Silk Exchange of Valencia show messages of curious content.  
The recently restoration work left all the details covered by the consequences of time more visible to the passersby.

 "Merchants Exchange," as it is also known, is a magnificent secular monument declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931 and World Heritage Monument on 7th December 1996, which contains 28 artistic gargoyles and various ornaments in windows, corners, facades that decorate and enrich this splendid and emblematic work of the fifteenth century.

  These Gothic gargoyles are drains to remove the rainfall water accumulated on the roofs.
   They are the work of the "pedrapiquers" craft workshop, led by the maestro Pere Compte, especially those located in the upper part of the building, since the rest, situated on the Consolat del Mar, are from about fifty years later.

   They represent the iconographical statement of this property and make reference to this medieval world, inspired by superstitions, winding tales filled with rawness and sinful customs. Are they by any chance a satire on religion, deceit and lust, similar to the burlesque expression shown in the fallas, although these are made ​​in the Middle Ages, of stone and forever?
Some believe that it was meant to show the sin, expelling it outside the buildings (especially the religious ones), showing them in this way to the people, who cannot read, just as the Romanesque transmitted the religion through its expressive fresco paintings.

How much fun must these great and roguish stonemasons have had while carving!
   It is worth admiring them in detail.

   I invite you to see them!


Nº1 An angelic being puts his penis in a jar

Nº2  A hairy man catches a reptile with his left hand.

Nº3 An animal with necklace tries to devour a human.

Nº4 A crowned and armed man opens the jaws of a lion

The anus of the child is the drain of the gutter.
Nª5 A human carries a child on his head and squeeze him to defecate.

Nº6 A king with mace and shield

Nº7 A monk holding a goat between his legs.

Nº8 A crowned eagle blocked by a scroll.
Nº9 A fierce animal carries two humans in its thighs.
Nº10 Hairy man carrying a jar in his hands.

Nº 11 A winged monster

Nº12 A woman touches her genitals

Nº13 A strange animal with ears, goatee, tail and wings

Nº14 A woman has a monkey on her lap.
Nº15 A humanoid hugs a reptile.

Nº16 A chained monkey playing a drum

Nº17 A winged ram with reptilian body and two vertical udders.
Nº18 A soldier has in his left hand a snail.

Nº19 A monk carrying a child on his shoulder

Nº20 A lion has a prey between its claws.

Nº21 A man prays inside the mouth of a great fish.

Nº22 A bat-like monster has captured a fainted hairy man.

Nº23 An angel sings and plays a musical stringed instrument.
Nº24 A monster with scales, wings and a human face (damaged).

Nº25 A monster wearing a lizard in his hands. Two faces appear between its thighs and a head between its legs with terrified appearance.

Nº26 An eagle has a bat in its claws
Nº27 A man is bitten by a strange animal.

Nº28 Bizarre monster with the beak and wings of a rapacious and the ears and legs of a carnivore.

In this gargoyle Nr. 28 we can see the conduit to expel the accumulated water for rain on their roofs.

Photographs by the author.

Manolo Ambou Terradez

Thursday, 10 April 2014


European Bee-eater 
(Merops apiaster)
Every spring, when the sunrays begin to warm the air up, a squall coming from Africa brings back to us the abundant life of these migratory birds.

They ascend over our peninsula in hordes, depending on species, riding on favourable warm winds, flying north, searching for their birthplaces in Europe.


   Now, our surrounding has been decorated with their abundant multi-coloured flora which invites you to take a walk in nature, into our woods. But this time a few splashes of colour have joined the beauty of the landscape. They pass in front of us with their elegant glides, showing his impressive livery, while clamping insects in the air.

Their flights are accompanied with cheerful decoys and after a catch, they return to their vantage point where their partner is. They are the Bee-eater.

    They would settle in open areas, where some sandy slopes are found. There, they would scramble to occupy previous nests or they will dig new and deep tunnels, which expand at the end for the nesting chamber. This excavation technique is performed by two other species more: Kingfisher and Sand Martin.

   It is one of these five birds, of extraordinary beauty, called coraciiform birds: Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Roller, Kingfisher and Bee-eater, which fill with pride our abundant and unique ornithological fauna.

   Observing these very beautiful birds of ruby eyes with a zoom lens is honestly a pleasure.
The remains of the shells of insects of insects are regurgitated.
   Their prey are medium and large insects caught in flight. For this reason and because of pesticides, little by little, the individuals, which were formerly large families, have gradually decreased.

   During six months they would reside in our land, being the envy of the most of Europe, especially the North.

  When August is over and September begins, the cacophony of Bee-eaters will return to the South crossing the Strait of Gibraltar on the ridge of some favourable storm towards the tropical and southern Africa where they departed.

Photographs by author

Manolo Ambou Terradez

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Without going into too much technicalities, it is not my thing, we will focus especially on the flower and also on its outside part, which we can see with no harm.
Apparently, Orchids come from the Liliaceae family.

These flowers, perennial as well, have 6 tepals (3 sepals and 3 petals). I mention them, because we will rely mainly on them.
                             S - Sepal
                             P - Petal

1st - Orchid flowers have 6 tepals as well.

2nd – there are 3 sepals and 3 petals, the central one, known as labellum or lip, is very distinct from the other two, in shape, size and colour. It is made to attract and as a landing site for insects which help the pollination.

3rd – We can differentiate them from the Liliaceae because these have 6 clearly visible stamens while our orchids only one.
Scheme of an orchid flower from Orchis family 

Scheme of an orchid flower from Ophrys family

                    S – Sepal
                    P – Petal
                    L – Labellum or Lip (Petal)


4th - The leaves are uniform, entire, with parallel longitudinal veins but never compound, divided or with lobes. Only in the case of Goodyera, they are linked by a noticeable mesh of transversal veins.
Another observation is that the flowers are always accompanied by small leaves, which start, like them, from the stem.
5th - In some cases, while reaching the floral fullness, the first leaves usually fall.

6th - The European Orchids flower stem or spike is only a little straight and vertical stick, which never has branches.


- The full height of these plants goes, depending on species, from 5 cm. such as Ophrys speculum until 125 cm. like Dactylorhiza elata.
- The flowers are distributed spirally along the stem.


- In spike shape (sessile flowers)- In raceme (stalked flowers)


With these simple facts we can go to the field now, into the woods, and to get in a more objective way a better assessment of these extraordinary plants.
Bear in mind that for the fully development of an orchid is necessary several years, even fifteen, therefore I beg to be respectful with these interesting and wonderful flora species.
Good luck friends!

Photography and drawings by the author

Manolo Ambou Terradez