For quite obvious reasons, human beings all over the world settled villages then cities around rivers and water flows. Valencia is no exception at all and settled then grew around the delta of the Turia, a sometimes fiery river that drains here into the Mediterranean Sea after running from Albarracin for some three hundred kilometres.
The ill-fated River
Water brings life and prosperity indeed, but sometimes –as in October, the 14th, 1957– brings death and misery: that tragic day, the ‘sometimes fiery river’ flooded with 3.700 m3 of water the historical core of Valencia City along it and beyond, causing at least eighty one human victims and massive material destruction.
Surviving people and buildings still remember it: the ones with crying eyes, the others with some wall mark at the two metres height that flooding water reached at its peak. After slow, painful recovering, the huge human and material disaster asked for some definitive solution and, not without discussion, political institutions eventually decided to divert the natural river course far away from the city, to the South, letting the natural ill-fated river course so dry as the hearts and pockets of its victims. End of the sad story for you and me and everybody.
The Redemption of the ill-fated River
The beginning of the happy story for you and me and everybody is 1976, in which the dry river course was hand over to Valencia’s Town Council, that started to set up the lovely Turia Gardens that we know today: a ten kilometres open park that now has turned into the big city lungs, with its overwhelming flora, as well as an ubiquitous free open space that holds all kind of playful activities: institutional and popular, individual and collective, casual and scheduled, and quite probably any other you may imagine or wish.
If you come here, it doesn’t matter at all where you and your business are located, the Turia Gardens are always at hand for sure, bringing to you the ideal opportunity to make your dreams come true: in there, you may practice or watch your favourite playful activity indeed, whatever it is.
In case sports is your cup of tea, especially for free, you’ll welcome its outdoors athletics track, baseball and rugby court, as well as its seven soccer fields and four sport centres. If you’re for less traditional sports, then you’ll enjoy indeed its open air body building area, its ping-pong and chess-tables, not to mention the countless small groups of kind people that meet at any point over there to practice tai-chi, soft martial arts or the-last-thing-in-town.
In fact, as the ten kilometres garden is running and cycling friendly, with many stations for renting cycles, you may take the whole thing as a giant sports field, as native people does. In that case, while cycling or running, and of course while having a lovely walk, you’ll be able to enjoy the Turia Gardens in full: its lush local and exotic flora, its peculiar fountains and settings, as well as the many singular bridges that hang all over it at street level –a level that you can watch and gain anytime, so that you can reach your destination traffic-free.
An Open Invitation
If you add lots of free music, shows and assorted happenings, it’s pretty astonishing how much life has sprout at the Turia Gardens since the day that the tragic flood advised to dry the old, ill-fated river course. So much life in fact, that it doesn’t fit into a single post, so please take this just as an open invitation to a series of posts that will try to unfold, step by step, all that recovered new life, both garden-level and street-level.
More info | CulTuria