“THE HUERTA OF VALENCIA”, our first practice this year and what a great, improving and original experience. The purpose of our mini-trip trough the Huerta of Valencia was to discover it’s history, it’s architecture and also to observe, study and analyse the disposition of this significant territory of the city.

You, dear reader , should probably ask yourself; “What is The Huerta Of Valencia?”. Good question! The Huerta Of Valencia is a territory located next to the city of Valencia, it’s original because it’s a kind of countryside in more or less the city. Which make us say that it’s a part of the city that survived trough years with it’s unique houses and fields. This contrast with the modernity of the city, makes The Huerta a great place to visit.

The Huerta of Valencia, Top view-

Our practice/discovery was based on CLUES (this is what I meant with original), each clue had as a solution a caracteristic of the Huerta Of Valencia: monument, agricol product, a special construction…. We all agree about the genius idea of this practice no? Joining the fun and the studies the perfect strategy of enjoying our tasks!

Unlocking a clue was automaitcally leading us to the other clue so that we can keep our discovery continous, fun and fluid.

Before the beggining of the practice, we had to read a text as a priliminary study of The Huerta of Valencia, otherwise, an introduction about The Huerta. The reading of the text helped us to have an idea about the Huerta, it’s origin, it’s function, and the historical importance of it. As important information we can set a kind of presentation sheet:

  • Caracteristics: – An original geometry of fields, a massive agricol activity, an intelligent system of irrigation and the historical baggage.
  • Origin: the origin goes back to the Roman era which gave the design of the huerta then the Moslem era which installed the current irrigation system. Then during medieval times the huerta was successful in the trade of fresh agricultural products. Unfortunately with development and modernization the huerta has lost its old successes but still remains an economic pillar for the city.

CLUE 1: No es residencial, no esta relacionada al trabajo ni tampoco al paisaje. Esa es la clave para acceder a la pista 1.

… Reza un poco para ver si recibes inspiracion


“Can’t describe how happy we were when we found the first clue so easily and quicly; a real moment of joy”

HERMITAGE? is a small religious building, frequintly found in the countryside, generally dedicated to a saint. Here in valencia, Hermitage of the Huerta are included of the Catalogue of Protected buildings. They are a big caracteristic of the Huerta of Valencia.


The hermitage of Vera was constructed on the year 15, and it’s located on the called: Camino de Vera.


Once we strated our research, the first hermitage we found was the HERMITAGE OF VERA. A beautiful chapel, refined and radiate purity. From an architectural point of view; the process of the CONTRAST used here, attract more the attention of every visitor. The white colour of the hermitage that goes with the purity of religion and peace and then the brownish colour of the museum of Vera are creating a beautiful contrast and a big orignality.

A close up of The Hermitage of Vera

Location of the Hermitage of Vera on Maps


The hermitage of vilanova is called like this because it was related to a now-defunct housefarmer with same name: Vilanova. It was completlty demolished in 1971 and only the chapel we can see survived.

FUN FACT: For the hermitage of Villanova, we weren’t able to enjoy it as the first one, because we got lost on our way to it, and the cold weather and the unexpected rain got us!!

BUT, we can always count on Salma’s Skills for realistic Sketchs

-Sketch of the Hermitage of Villanova-


The hermitage of San Cristobal is dedicated principally to San Cristobal (Sant Cristofol), located in the middle of a cultivated field. The Hermitage we saw was constructed between 1881 and 1883. The original one was built after the discovery of the image in 1442 in what was probably the town of Raffelterras (according to some historians). The Hermitage of San Cristobal was damaged during the Civil War and then restored after and kept in great conditions.

-A sketch of The Hermitage of San Cristobal –
– Location of The Hermitage of San Cristobal-
– A sattelite picture of The Hermitage, for more realistic approach-

– CLUE 2 – 

Once clue 1 was finished, the next challenge arrived, clue 2, in which we were told:  “Certain infrastructures serve to connect territories, but sometimes they represent a  physical barrier. If you manage to overcome that barrier, you will find a new very  characteristic typology in La Huerta. ”  

This second track was one of the hardest to find since we were not very clear about  what these infrastructures were. At first, we thought that the infrastructure we were  being told about was a small bridge that was near the hermitage. However, we soon  realized that it couldn’t be that due to its proximity. That is why we decided to move  

forward. We followed the path of a road that passed by there and we found several  orchards around it. 

After an hour of walking around the road, we were lucky that we ran into Pasquale,  who found us totally lost. Faced with this situation, he decided to give us the clue that  the infrastructure we were looking for was not the road we were on, but the V-21  motorway, which connects the north of the city of Valencia and joins with Barcelona.  Once we knew where we had to go, we looked for a way to cross it. As we did not have  a car, we assumed that there must be a way to cross the motorway on foot. However, the  road led to a fork, and although you could go on both sides, we accidentally took the  longest of all. So, we started walking and we came across a small tunnel through which  both cars and pedestrians had access and through which we passed under the motorway.  In this way, we had already managed to cross the barrier and we only needed to find the  characteristic typology of which the track spoke.

As I have previously told, we took the longest path, we realized this when all we found  was a small house with a rose bush at the entrance, instead of the new typical typology  of the orchard that we had to find. 

We walked a little along the road and we did not find anything different, only orchards  and small houses. We were lost again and we decided to call Pasquale on Teams to see  if he could tell us where we had to go, or if we were wrong or what, because we really  

didn’t know if we were on the right track. Once we were able to contact him, he came to  where we were and told us that we had gone the long way, but even so with walking a  little we could also see the typology that the track was talking about.  We followed their instructions and finally found the answer. What had cost us so much  to find were the cabins. Specifically, the one that was closest to it was a very small one  that was next to some fields.

Because we went in November and by this time it is getting dark very quickly, we  decided to stop quickly to make a small sketch of said cabin.

Once we identified this typology, we decided to find out about it and we found quite  interesting data. To begin with, the cabin is the traditional Valencian dwelling and  constitutes one of the symbols of the city of Valencia. The origin of the name barraca  comes from the Arabic and means “Luck”, this was because a long time ago having a  house was a lot of luck and not everyone had the possibility of having it. Generally, the  cabin is a small building with a rectangular plan, a gabled roof, in which the whole  family lived. And although the distribution of this may vary, they generally have two  bedrooms; a dining kitchen, this is where most of the time is spent both cooking and  spending time with the family and it is the main part of the cabin and the largest; and  the attic, where all the provisions to eat and live were kept throughout the year  (although it could also be used as a bedroom, although it was not the most common). 

The origin of this type of building dates back to the primitive huts, and throughout the  entire peninsula and in the south of France there are constructions similar to the  barracks, with very pronounced roofs and covered with plant elements. There are two  main types, the garden cabin, located in the same garden; and the fishermen’s cabin.  However, this last type has almost disappeared, with only a few models in the Albufera  area, where it intermingles with the orchard cabins because this area has both  characteristics.

The reason why the locals built the cabins at the foot of the orchard was because  the climate of Valencia and the fertility of its lands allow several harvests a year,  with a cultivation system that requires special attention.  

The cabins are built with easily accessible materials such as mud, reeds, borró,  reeds or rush, and the walls were built with adobe bricks.  

Usually, these constructions are finished off with a cross that according to  tradition in the 16th century served to differentiate the old Christians from the  Moors. However, it may simply be a religious symbol.  

Currently, there are very few cabins left in Valencia and that is why they have a  great weight and symbolization in the Valencian tradition. Formerly people lived  in the barracks because they had no other option and as time has passed every  day fewer people live in a barracks, although there are still them. 

Despite this, there are many people who want to buy a cabin, but it is  increasingly difficult to find a Valencian barrack for sale. In recent years there  has been a great “boom” with the Valencian cabins and this is due to the great  historical and traditional value that they represent in the Valencian culture. The  owners of the barracks have been able to take advantage of this and many have  converted them into restaurants, event areas or simply as rentals. 

Curiosities of the Valencian cabins:  

– Some cabins have the outline of doors and windows painted light blue to scare  away evil spirits from the house.  

– Normally they have a vine as a roof on the porch so that in winter the leaves fall so  that the sun hits and in summer when the leaves grow, they shade. 

Where can we find cabins in Valencia? 

To see the Valencian cabins, we have 2 main areas today, one is the town of Palmar and  another is the Alboraya garden, although there are other towns such as Pinedo and El  Saler where we can see some more.

– CLUE 3 – 

Casa de Labradores” stands for the tenant farmer’s house, it’s considered the  evolution of the cabin. The valencian cabins are a characteristic of the surrounding  landscape of Valencia. These houses exist since ancient times but they have been slowly  replaced by a new form of houses called “casas de labradores”, these dwellings are  characterized with a gabled Arab tile roof. 

Arab tile roof example

In addition to a more complex construction, the ancient model of the cabin was a simple  house with a triangular roof the material used can also be considered as primitive ( use  of wood, mud, reed… ) while the recent ones are built white bricks tiled roofs,  including two entrances and a very wide living area. Next to these houses you will  certainly find the field that is associated to the casa

The farmer’s house is without any doubt the most common type of architectural  structure found in the Huerta, composed of different materials it’s important to explain  each part of its construction. 

One of its most important characteristics is its orientation, unlike the farmer’s house this  type of houses is oriented east-west, which would benefit prevent humidity inside. 

Another characteristic is the use of bricks in the mid twenty century joined white mortar  which helps build houses that are safer than the previous ones. Of course, some of these buildings are white painted or covered with a layer of tar. In addition, we can notice  windows with steel grid. 

  Cami Fondo Satellite top view: we can see the dwellings next to the farmlands. 

Visiting the Huerta of Valencia gave us so much inspiration for sketching, so here are  some of our sketches in relation with las casas de labradores. 

– CLUE 4 – 

During our tour of La Huerta de Valencia, we were able to observe the beauty of this  agronomy landscape, which is the result of human intervention in nature to obtain basic  resources as it is the food.  

We have been able to learn how since the past centuries we, as human beings are  capable of adapting our environment to take advantage of it in the in the best way to  satisfy our necessities.  

La Huerta de Valencia has been useful not only for self-consumption but for exporting  and growing the economy.  

One of the most characteristic cultive, here in Valencia, are the Tiger Nut (chufa)  commonly used for the preparation of horchata de chufa, a sweet, milk-like beverage, or  even naturally as a snack.  

Known since antiquity as a source of vitamins and nutrients, the tigernut horchata is  also considered a source of health and energy the world throughout.  Along with its delicious and refreshing flavor, several medical studies have accredited  its many beneficial properties for the body.  

Investigations have concluded that tigernut horchata has great digestive properties  thanks to its high level of amino acids and starch.  

Several prestigious specialists from the University of Valencia have also determined  that it is rich in minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, and iron as well  as unsaturated fats and proteins.  


As you may have read, the Huerta is an anthropic landscape. During the visit, look  for at least three man-made elements (other than buildings) that help to characterize  this territory.  

1. The cropping system:  

The system of tigernut cropping in La Huerta de Valencia is clearly the most  evident and big example of how this landscape is the result of a human process

First, the tubers are grown between March and May (depending on the weather), when  temperatures start to improve substantially after winter. The ground is prepared  manually.  

After the growing process comes the most surprising part of tigernut cultivation, the  practice of burning it before harvesting it. To collect the tigernut, the aerial part has to  be allowed to dry completely and wither. Burning is a common practice that has been  going on for years but not always.  

For several generations, agriculture was a system of cyclical use because there were no  large productions. They had a bit of everything, livestock, crops, etc. The tigernut  “straw” was used for the roofs of the barracks, as a bed for livestock and even for  compost. Currently there is not much outlet for this by-product, and it is burned just  before harvesting.  

Harvesting is currently fully mechanized with a sweeping harvester cutting the  ridge from below and a subsequent screen.   

2. Irrigation Canals:  

Another important factor that involve the human beings the landscape of the Huerta is  irrigation, which is highly dependent on soil conditions.  

The summer months are obviously the ones with the most water requirements. Even so,  a good level of humidity in the soil must be maintained throughout the growing period  without flooding the root zone.  

The way to achieve this is with frequent watering that achieve a good assimilation of the  water by the soil, maintaining a humidity that is maintained within the limits of field  capacity and wilting point.  

That’s why the historical structure of the landscape of L’Horta has, as one of the  singularities of the area, a dense network of irrigation canals supplied by the Turia  river.  

This system integrates the agricultural and hydraulic cultures, carved for centuries since  the beginning of the Arab domination in the area, which have been shaping a unique  landscape.  

3. The rural paths:  

Rural paths are made by and for humans directly. These are the connections between  agricultural land and nearby habitable buildings.  

We walked all the way along those trails, admiring very closely the complex of the  cultivation system, the flow of the irrigation canals, without damaging the crops  themselves thanks to the way they are made.  

It’s fun to know that farmers, in order to protect their crops, close these paths, so that  means that you can start walking by one and ended up in the middle of the Huerta  without another exit than turn back.  

And that is exactly what happened to us, we started walking in one of those and  suddenly we realized that there were no more path it arrived until the “Barraca” and  won’t go further, leaving us in the exact middle of that big part of the crop land.  

– CLUE 5 – 

As it got dark early and the photos for our practice will no longer have the same quality,  we decided that we would return the next day to complete the information collected. 

The following day we went back to visit the areas of the Huerta where we had already  been, this allowed us to better observe (and with different natural lighting) the landscape  and the different buildings. 

We also continued walking a little more to find a new farmhouse (“alquería”) that we  had not seen the day before. 

This farmhouse seemed to be of a slightly more private and larger sector.

The farmhouses, together with the cabin, are the best known and also the most  traditional type of housing in l’Horta de Valencia. 

A farmhouse (from the Arabic: القرية al-qarīa, “Town, hamlet”) designates a labor house,  with an agricultural estate, typical of the east and southeast of Spain, mainly between  the provinces of Granada and Valencia. 

In the Middle Ages it made reference to the small rural communities that were located  in the vicinity of the cities (medinas) in al-Andalus. From the 15th century, it changed  its meaning of locality to the current one, of a type of farm. 

The farmhouse represents the form of agricultural housing for excellence in this  territory, characterized by bringing together both the dependencies for the family that  lived as well as those necessary for the cultivation of the land, conservation and storage  of crops and also space for animals and agricultural tools. In this sense, it normally  represents a residence of a higher economic and social category compared to people  who could only live and work in a cabin. We also have to take into account that the  farmhouse represents the form of a dispersed town among the cultivated fields, opposed  in this sense to the way of living in a concentrated town that represents the towns.

It is also known for being the habitat corresponding to an important agricultural  exploitation, usually in irrigated lands, unlike the cabin, typical of the smallholding, and  the farmhouse, of a grain and cattle character. 

In the typical Valencian farmhouse, the ground plan is a rectangle, to which another  perpendicular is sometimes attached, forming a right angle; some are made up of two  squares, one inscribed in the other. Also, they exist of irregular plant. 

Its elevation is almost always smooth facades. The door, generally with a semicircular  arch, although it can also be linteled. 

On the ground floor is what constitutes the house itself, especially the study or marriage  chamber. At the bottom of the ground floor is the dining room, with its large chimney bell. When there are two floors, the first can have rooms, which originally would be  dedicated to the lords. The common thing is that the only floor constitutes the tire,  destined to store the crops and formerly to the rearing of silkworms. The roof of the  farmhouses is always made of Moorish tiles. 

Many of the farmhouses in the modern sense have disappeared due to various factors.  Some adopted different activities, such as mills or workshops, although a good number  suffered abandonment due to lack of use or depopulation. On the other hand, in  expansionist urban policy, farmhouses are coveted assets in terms of the economic value  of the land they occupy. All this has meant that a large part of the farmhouses that still  exist are seriously threatened with ruin. Some, privately owned, have been restored as  dwellings, usually as second homes, but they are not the most numerous. Due to the rise  of rural tourism, some have adapted to the hospitality industry, such as accommodation  or restaurants, and others such as cultural centers or museums.


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