Otos: the Village where Time (almost) Stands Still

Hidden away in the deep, dark, rocky recesses of the Vall de Albaida, to the far far west of Valencia, is a village where time stands still. Or at least it does when the sun goes down; the rest of the time time is in perpetual motion in harmony with the star around which our planet, the third stone from the sun, is orbiting.

santos juanes 020We are of course speaking of Otos, the village of the sun dials, where in every corner, as long as the sun is shining, you can look up and see a sun dial, and argue about whether or not the time expressed there bears any resemblance to GMT, exactly the same in Canarias; which of course makes a nice change from arguing as usual about the bloody appalling coverage in this village!resized_santos juanes 021

Otos has about 500 inhabitants, or almost 500, or as many as 500, depending on what impression you wish to give. Like so many mountain villages, the population explodes in the summertime, when the weather is fine, although the Municipal services usually clean up the mess pretty quickly.

Inaugurated in 2005, the project to decorate the streets of Otos with artistic sun dials is one of many that have been promoted by small communitities trying to survive by attracting tourists looking for something completely different.resized_santos juanes 023

The project was able to count on the support of various artists such as Andreu Alfaro, Rafael Amorós, Joan Olivares, Rafael Armengol, Arcadi Blasco, Manuel Boix, Artur Heras, Elisa Martí and Antoni Miró, as well as a European Union subsidy, the purpose of which was to encourage rural tourism and to offer frustrated parents a way of keeping their children occupied in a pedagogical task during the long, hot summer that didn’t involve buying copious kilos of ice cream.

The decision to create sun dials was not a capricious one; there exists a catalogue of the area containing 120 examples of sun dials in different states of conservation.resized_santos juanes 028

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