If, like most people these days, you walk down the street with your attention absorbed by some electronic device or other, you might, should you be walking the streets of Valencia, raise your head one day to find yourself face to face with dragons.
This could be the case should you be turning the corner of Sorní and Jorge Juan Streets.
known as the ‘House of the Dragons’, this very special building was designed in 1901 by the Valencian architect José Maria Manuel Cortina Pérez (1868-1950).
Although from the Modernist epoch, the house contains neo-gothic elements and was described by Cortina Pérez himself as ‘medieval fantasy’, with swirling columns and floral designs and its ornate ironwork on the balconies or its crenellations.
The large star on the facade has led to speculation about an ideological addition, although it in fact represents nothing more than the shield of the local railway company, Compañía de Ferrocarriles del Norte.
Another work by the same architect can be found at Calle Felix Pizcueta 3, standing out among buildings of lesser extravagance. Cortina managed to build 30 buildings in Valencia, although unfortunately, unlike Gaudí, most of them were bulldozed in the name of modernity and only six remain. Dragons were also a common symbol for Gaudí and were thought to offer protection for the inhabitants of the buildings where they stood guard.
He was also responsible for 27 pantheons in Valencia’s Municipal Cemetery, and, outside of Valencia, perhaps his finest work was the Casino Africano de Ceuta.