La Huerta, better known as L’Horta, is rather unique place. From the edge of the city you can catch a glimpse of its landscape on the horizon, dominated by rice paddies and ‘chufa’ crops, orange groves and vegetable plantations, aubergines and artichokes, vines and olive trees. Acequías (irrigation canals) criss-cross the expanse and provide the alquerías (farmsteads) with their water. This area is also responsible for the international prestige today held by Valencian produce.
With regards to its borders, the historical region of La Huerta is composed of the Valencian capital, in addition to several nearby towns of the north, south and west. From Paterna to Alfafar, via Alboraya. The latter, for instance, has a special relationship with the chufa (tiger nut) crop. Consequently, it is said to have the best horchaterías in the city, such as Daniel, which first opened in 1960.
Its irrigation system hails from the Arabic tradition. For this reason, València has a total of eight major acequias, distributed across the local area. Since their creation, they have been governed by the Water Tribunal, an institution which regulates the use of water flows and which has been declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity, on account of its uniqueness. Still in force today, it’s possible to attend their public meeting, held every Thursday at 12:00, at the entrance to the cathedral.
It worth taking a trip to La Huerta to admire the examples of traditional Valencian architecture. Between fields and rice paddies stand huts and farmhouses. Rural houses of humble origin, sometimes made from reeds and mud with a very distinctive structure are a common sight. Nowadays, many such constructions have been resorted and converted into restaurants, as in the case of l’Alqueria del Pi where you can enjoy delicious rice dishes in ideal surroundings.