Once upon a time there was a horrible motorway project that could have existed in Valencia, but thanks to good fairies, the projet was finally abandoned. Instead, was born an iconic park, the famous “Jardine del Turia”, this beautiful “green flow” that has become the lungs of the third largest city in Spain and that everyone envies.
The tale of the “Jardin del Turia” is a tale that starts badly, but ends well!
It began with a river that regularly overflowed during periods of heavy rain, up to October 1957, when the floods were more deadly than ever, with a death toll of 81. This “riada”, was one to many, this forced the authorities of the time to make the decision to divert the course of the river to prevent it from going though the city. A completely new riverbed was therefore built on the outskirts of Valencia: which left, a dried up riverbed, full of bad memories, a sort of useless scar. It was necessary to make something of this new space … But what? A 6-lane highway as the authorities of the time wanted? A long and large green park with playgrounds for the population? … The debate was animated and the mobilization and the obstinacy of the inhabitants made the difference: with the slogan, “the riverbed is ours and we want it green”(” el cauce es nuestro y lo queremos verde “) the civil society has lobbied and obtained the rejection of the highway project.
Thus, just 40 years ago, in 1979, in a Spain that discovers democracy, the mayor Ricardo Pérez Casado (1979-1989), with a simple signature put an end to years of uncertainties and especially gave reason to the good sense of a majority of valencianos
What would Valencia be without its famous “Rio Seco”?
40 years and a few million pesetas and euros later, “el rio” or el “cauce” (the riverbed del Turia) comes first place in the ranking of the best parks in Spain that Google has just published.
These 110 acres of green land, bike paths, playgrounds, sports and conviviality are simply unique in the world and are now part of Valencia’s DNA. Each year, 3 million people take advantage of this Mediterranean vegetation composed of olive, orange and palm trees, pines and cypresses to mention only the most noticable since hundreds of plant species cohabit harmoniously.
Between the decision in 1979 to make it a green zone and the first shovel in 1986, many political, financial and technical problems had to be solved, but every year, stretch by strecth, section by section, kilometer after kilometer, the riverbed is also used as a haven to build emblematic infrastructures such as the Palau de la Musica, Gulliver Park, and more recently the City of Arts and Sciences, Opera or also Hemisferic …
There are still a few kilometers left to go, the last, so that the 18 sections (a total of 12 kilometers are planned) are developed and allow to connect Mislata to Nazaret … For this, a few years and a handful of million more euros will be needed, because it will be necessary, among other things, to bury railway tracks …
In the meantime, the spectacular park of Valencia, whose existence seems obvious today, continues to welcome enchanted visitors who sometimes, even, do not know, that not so long ago, a river ran through it.