The Svilengrad bridge over the river Marica, Source: City of Svilengrad

Bulgarian town turns dry riverbed into playground

Bulgarian town turns dry riverbed into playground

It serves as a staging area for local authorities and their campaign to promote biodiversity in the urban environment

Recently, local authorities in the Bulgarian town of Svilengrad unveiled a new playground for children, built in a dry river bed, which runs through one of the neighbourhoods. The playground and park were built where the river Kanaliyka used to flow, as a tributary of the larger Maritsa.

Apart from making use of the new space, the playground was constructed with wood and features grass and mulch.

The project was funded through INTERREG, the EU’s cross-border cooperation fund for Bulgaria and Greece in the period 2014-2020. It is titled Green urban territories – better place to live and features ecological training for agricultural workers, introducing sustainable mobility and bio-diversity concepts.

In fact, according to local officials, biodiversity is exactly the rationale behind the playground, as creating the new biomes of mulch and grass can attract multiple species that would not have been able to thrive in a dry river bed.

As the Bulgarian News Agency reports, the project contributed a total of 1,4 million euros, with around 542,000 going towards the municipal budget in Svilengrad.

Biodiversity and sustainable ecosystems

The Green urban territories project in Svilengrad included a host of measures, centred around the idea of promoting biodiversity and better urban ecosystems. Additionally, it aimed to introduce modes of electric transportation and increase green area coverage.

The biggest initiative for Svilengrad was the park, which features two eco-areas: one designated for kids under 6 years old and the other – for those under 12. All the playground furniture is made from wood and the cushion layer is a patchwork of grass and wooden mulch, making for a better ecological alternative compared to commercial counterparts.


The municipality has greened a large area of around 5 acres, which now includes trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as a long row of birdhouses. Moreover, streetlights around the park are powered by photovoltaic panels.

As part of the project, local officials can make use of two electric scooters, which will be used during work hours, as a form of sustainable transport in the urban environment. Additionally, the city held a pesticide training for people working in agriculture to show them how to protect biodiversity.



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