Jardin del Turia - the green spine of Valencia - will keep on growing, Source: Depositphotos

Valencia has Spain’s longest urban park

Valencia has Spain’s longest urban park

And the current administration plans to make Jardin del Turia Europe’s largest city green space by extending it to the sea

Jardin del Turia (Turia Garden) is the green spine of the City of Valencia and Spain’s (and possibly Europe’s) longest urban park stretching for a length of 8.5 kilometres through the heart of the Levante capital. Now that Valencia is the 2024 European Green Capital, part of its planned projects includes the extension of that verdant space by another 1.5 kilometres so it will link to the port area and the Mediterranean Sea.

The new extension will be called Parque de Desembocadura, which translates as River Estuary Park. The reason behind this name lies in the origin of Jardin del Turia. The serpentine park owes its shape to the fact that it occupies the former riverbed of the Turia River.

You see, like many cities Valencia had its own river, which would often cause a calamity for the local residents throughout the centuries due to its propensity for flooding. The last such flood took place in 1957 causing 81 deaths. So, the local authorities at the time decided to take a drastic measure and divert the entire river down to the south of the city.

Modern park hiding historical treasures

The project to extend the park and thus make it the largest urban green lung in Europe is seen as a continuation of the legacy of former mayor Ricard Pérez Cadado, who initiated the creation of the Jardin del Turia in the 1980s, together with the landscape designer Ricardo Bofill.

The first section of the park was inaugurated in 1986 and since then has become a favourite space for Valencians and visitors. The city’s most iconic site – the City of Arts and Sciences cultural complex – is located near the eastern end of the park, as well.

Apart from its environmental benefits for Valencia, the park offers ideal opportunities for recreation and sports thanks to its flat and long topography. It contains palm trees and orange trees, fountains and pine woods, aromatic plants and ponds, sports facilities and rose beds.

And nature is not everything that the park offers. The former riverbed is crossed by no less than 18 bridges, some of which date back five centuries! In addition, many of the cities’ premier cultural institutions, such as the Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) and the Museum of Fine Arts are located on the sides of the park.

The plan to expand the greenery

Almost all Valencia residents (97 per cent) live within 300 metres of an urban green space. To many other local governments that would seem like a job done, but to the current administration, headed by Mayor María José Catalá (since 2023) the expansion of the green spaces is a shared policy that everyone is committed to and represents work passed on between generations.

Being the Green Capital is an opportunity to change how people see Valencia as a city but it must be a project of transformation in all neighbourhoods. People here must see that their quality of life is improving because if not then it’s not a real change,” said Paula Llobet, the city’s councillor for tourism and innovation, speaking to the Independent.

Jardin del Turia is a true urban oasis that provides exceptional thermal comfort, with a temperature difference of up to three degrees compared to other areas of the city. And in times of climate crisis affecting Spain more drastically than other parts of Europe – that counts for a lot. So, it only makes sense to expand this climate refuge and add that last stretch to link it to the marina by adding another 100,000 square metres of breathable cool public space.

The Parque de Desembocadura extension is currently undergoing final touches in terms of design before being put out to tender at the end of this year.

In parallel to the creation of the Estuary Park, the current flow of the Turia (to the south) will also see its environment altered through the renaturalization process that will be carried out by the Júcar Hydrographic Confederation in order to alleviate its industrial and desolate look.



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