When visiting Valencia, the Turia park cannot be missed! This is a 9 km long park which is located from the north of the center of Valencia. This place is not only nice for tourists but also for the local people of Valencia! They often come here to find peace and quiet from the busy city. But did you have any idea that this gigantic park used to be a river?
History of Turia Park
The park has not always been the green lung of the city. In fact, it used to be the Turia River. This river was known for its floods. It had many types of floods over the years. But on October 14, 1957, there was the largest flood the city of Valencia has ever experienced. This is perhaps one of the worst events in the history of Valencia. This flood was nicknamed the Great Flood of Valencia.
It happened due to a 3-day cold spell with heavy rainfall. As a result, the highest point was 5 meters high with water in the city of Valencia. The whole city was without water, gas and electricity and about 75% of the commercial industry was affected by the flood. As a result, about 5,800 homes were destroyed and about 3,500 families were left homeless. This massive flood damaged much of the city. And as if it wasn't bad enough, it also took the lives of many people.
Building a new River Turia
After the flood, the government of Valencia did not want this to happen again. After many floods that had happened before it, 1957 was the last straw. To prevent flooding, on December 21, 1961, they made a plan to build a new river, and distribute the water of the old river to the new river.
The new course was 12 kilometers long and 175 meters wide. This new river was diverted in the south of Valencia. This was 3 kilometers from its original course. Work began in 1964 and was completed in 1973.
Dry riverbed, now what?
After the old Turía river was empty, the government of Valencia wanted to build a highway in this large open space. This highway was mainly intended for the trucks that would travel from the port to the city. This was to avoid burdening the motorists on the road. People from Valencia did not like this plan. They protested loudly against it. They wanted a green space in the city. At that time there was not much green in Valencia. And the municipality finally agreed with the Valencian.
To choose who could design the park, a contest was held. Architects and landscape designers showed their idea to the citizens. They were then allowed to vote for the idea that seemed best to them. In the end, the results were so close that the municipality chose to give each designer their own piece, and they could put their own spin on it.
What can you find in the Turia park today?
Nowadays, you can find all kinds of things in the park. You can find different sports fields, a running track, a bicycle route and much more. You can also find spectacular buildings in this area such as Palau de la Música, Gulliver's playground or the area of the City of Science and Art. The Turía park is a nice place to go if you want to get away from the busy city center.