A river transformed: the curious story of the Túria

Once upon a time, perhaps every fifty years, Valencia used to be engulfed by floods. The River Túria, which largely encircled the old city centre, regularly burst its banks and devastated the town. 1957 was particularly bad. The streets became canals, houses were ruined, and more than eighty people died. Something had to be done.

The solution was radical. They moved the river. The Túria now flows well south of the city and those floods are all in the past.

But what to do with the old river bed? Well, what about a multi-lane superhighway charging through the city, linking Madrid with the port of Valencia? It jolly nearly happened.

But the citizens, horrified, had a better idea than the planners. What about a park? The plan took many years to realise – there’s little commercial advantage in green space. But eventually work began on preparing the site, and later on planning and planting. Now the Túria Gardens are much loved, much used. If you want to go jogging, ride your bike, walk the dog, play sport, bring the children to let off steam or have a picnic, you have a nine kilometre (soon to be eleven) circuit to play with. It’s an idyllic, peaceful place at any time of day.

How do I know all this? Because I went on a Free Tour Valencia yesterday. For ‘free’, read ‘pay as you like’. This company has good, informative and interesting guides. They have to be good, or they wouldn’t earn anything. If you go to Valencia, be sure to seek them out. Thanks, Carlos. I hope I’ve got my facts right.

The gardens seen through an arch of the 17th century bridge of Sant Josep.

17 thoughts on “A river transformed: the curious story of the Túria”

  1. what a good read, and what a tribute to your burgeoning Spanish that you got so much from the tour guide! But isn’t San Josep Catalan? Would it be San José in Spanish? Not sure…


      1. Thank you. Our guide told us that Catalan and Valencian have many similarities, and a native speaker in either language would be able to understand the other. It’s great that these languages are both vibrant despite attempts to suppress them at various times.


  2. Now I feel like visiting Valencia, maybe doing a Spanish crash-course …? 🙂
    You are doing such an excellent job not only in learning a new language, but also at the same time conveying such interesting and fascinating details about the place you are staying at. Of course you have the best possible reason to learn Spanish – how kind of you to go out of your way to communicate with family whose first language isn’t English. I’m full of admiration

    Liked by 1 person

      1. …and right you are! Nobody of MY family ever felt they had to learn additional languages to visit me and understand the country’s language and mentality better. Just saying

        Liked by 1 person

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