In medieval times, between the Grau of Valencia and old Grau of Sagunt, there extended a long marsh that occupied the lower lands of the agricultural garden. These lands were considered “francs” or free of taxes, in order to stimulate their transformation. With the passage of time, most of them were healthy and integrated irrigation systems of irrigation canals of the agricultural garden.

It should be noted that the dual process of agricultural colonization and drainage of these palustrine areas was not, in any way, sudden. The process was slow and cumbersome, with many ups and downs. As narrated by the historian Agustí Rubio Vela in relation to medieval times, the sustained actions on these amphibious areas, in the attempt to tame them, was subjected to a series of demographic crises, epidemics, wars, and other difficulties. We should add that, with the means of the times, to change a marsh from one day to another was a materially impossible task. For many decades, future agricultural lands of Rafalell and Vistabella suffered setbacks and advances in a regular manner concerning its ultimate transformation. One of the obvious symptoms of this agrarian regression was the lack of consistency in the clearing and the arrangement of new ditches and building of dams; which resulted in reservoir filling with water and the rapid decline of the fields conquered from the swamps with so much effort. However, centuries later, although most of this was turned into a seaside plot with a string of well-ordered fields irrigated by various channels of the Royal Irrigation Canal of Montcada, the apparent stubbornness of nature has preserved some remains of ancient marsh. Thus, in Rafalell and Vistabella, there subsists one un-transformed sector, poorly drained, that remains divided by the AP-7, and has remained as a watery space covered by a dense patch of reeds. This wetland is still a pantry and a refuge for the species that are adapted to environment of palustrine ecosystems. It is not surprising that the value of this natural area has deserved the protection in the Catalog of Wetlands of the Government of València. But, don't forget, that along with this value, the marsh is, moreover, the ultimate testimony of a critical piece of the cultural landscape of Northern agricultural gardens.



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(Al-Andalus) [711-1238]

(Kingdom of València) [1239-1453]

MODERN PERIOD [1454-1789]


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