The Botanical Garden of the University of Valencia is a living museum. In the heart of the city, more than 4,500 varieties are grown. Plants have been arranged into 27 individual groups to show their diversity, adaptation to the environment, or usefulness to humans.
But botanicals are more than just plants, species, and a recreational garden. Furthermore, its primary purpose and origin were not at all related to free time or having a good time.
The botanical garden contains an infinite number of species. Stand out are the irreplaceable hundred-year-old trees that have been around since the nineteenth century, and the important group of palm trees, Mediterranean plants, or a cactus specimen are so diversified that you have a section of desert flora in the plant.
However, some of the initiatives that the park wants to implement are the preservation of plants that are in danger of extinction or the study of the native flora of Valencia.
When visiting the park, you can find different greenhouses. These facilities help protect more exotic and geographically distant spices, with special properties such as the change in temperature from winter to summer.
A feature of the botanical garden is its ability to change its environment according to the season of the year in which it is located.
Therefore, depending on the season you visit, it is very attractive to find different colours, smells and sounds.
Since 1990 they have housed various groups of plants: orchids, bromeliads, palm trees, ferns, tropical, carnivorous or desert plants.
It is a quiet, relaxing and pleasant space, so it is very natural that you always see families with children and even older couples who see it as a good option to spend the day outdoors and breathe nature.
In the center of the garden are the historic buildings, all built at the end of the 19th century to grow plants from tropical climates under protection.
However, within the architecture and buildings that have been constructed in the Botanical Garden, the most important and symbolic one located in the center of the garden is the Tropical Greenhouse. It is the first Spanish building to have iron and glass as the main materials. It was one of the most important constructions in Europe during the second half of the twentieth century. nineteenth.
But the plant contains more architecture within its facilities, an architecture full of history and with strange and distinctive shapes that give the place an important beauty. Such is the case at Umbráculo, a construction with a semi-cylindrical metal roof, supported by large exposed brick columns. During his life, he underwent various rehabilitations, always respecting the original design.
Although it is a space dedicated specifically to the teaching and study of species, it does contain a research building. A building for publishing and education, and for highlighting the social and cultural life of the Botanical Garden.
It houses the laboratory, library and germplasm bank, with the aim of preserving the genetic diversity of crops and their types.
In its infancy, the plant was used to teach and teach botany to medical students. To this day, they want to preserve this tradition, which is why university students in careers such as environmental sciences, gastronomy or biology are guided on this campus and carry out internships.
Although it is currently open to the public, it was closed until 1962, as they did not want the garden to become an area so passive and its academic traditions ignored, that only teachers and students could access it.
Starting in the 1980s, its audience is no longer students and they begin to carry out activities for schools. However, he has always continued to combine this aspect with the university.
Quiet in the city
Oddly enough, despite the fact that it is located in the heart of Valencia, the very wide walls that surround the botanical garden do not allow the sound of the outside to pass through, so you are less likely to hear the traffic and busy life that takes place outside the garden.
This allows you to fully immerse yourself in nature and allow yourself a variety of scents, colors and shapes.
The activities, which the botanists usually carry out, are for families, focus on children, with workshops to learn how to plant and care for the orchard, but also target the elderly with gym sessions for the elderly which encourage active aging.
A story with roots
The garden opened its doors in 1567 and has been for more than 200 years an orchard of medicinal plants. However, the park’s location has changed over time.
It was not until 1802 when the university finally located it at Huerto de Tramoyeres that botanical collections were developed, plants were acclimatized and new agricultural crops were tested.
During the 20th century, the garden was increasingly abandoned until, in 1987, the university put in place a comprehensive restoration project for the botanical collections and historic buildings.
In May 2000, restoration work concluded with the opening of the Research Building.
Currently, it is a center for research and dissemination of plant diversity, with educational, cultural and communications offices, which organize activities to maintain a wide educational and cultural offer in the garden throughout the year.
Scientific collections, which contain live plants and a bank of germplasm and grasses, preserve endemic or threatened species of Valencia flora, one of the great bets in the enclosure.
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