Located in Valencia in northeastern Spain, the Horta is characterized by an urban agricultural system composed of multiple irrigation channels, roads, network ditches (acequias), farms, rural constructions, and different land uses. Agricultural patterns have created a complex and highly resilient landscape in a densely populated coastal region. The area produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as rice and fish.
The Horta is influenced by its multiple environments, including the Mediterranean coast, the banks of the Turia River and the Albufera Lagoon. The agricultural system is managed by historical institutions such as the Tribunal de las Aguas, the oldest court of justice in Europe, which has authority over all acequias and is responsible for enacting and enforcing traditional rules for water distribution. Another important institution is La Tira de Comptar, founded during the Arab domination and made official by King James I in 1238. It currently guarantees the supply of fresh produce to the city and the right of farmers to participate in fruit and vegetable markets, as well as regulating their agricultural activities.
Following the designation of the Historical Irrigation System at the Horta of Valencia as a GIAHS site in 2019:
GIAHS recognition has given our community the opportunity to imagine a brighter future for our area, its conservation, the maintenance of artisanal and traditional fisheries, representing above all an insurance for our cultural identity.Amparo Aleixandre Secretary-General of the Community of Fisherfolks El Palmar
The system has proved very resilient in crises. During the pandemic, very little impact was felt in the rural area. Proximity to the city, short value chains and consumption of local agricultural produce resulted in the capacity of the Horta to contribute to the food security of millions of people.Daud Marwan Farmer and seller at Mosen-Sorell Market, Valencia, Spain
Video impressions: The resilience of the Horta of Valencia in times of COVID-19