The Garden of the Paterre is one of the first city’s public areas.
It contains a fountain dedicated to the god Neptune (the rest disappeared with the flood of 1957). Presiding over the Parterre is the equestrian King James I statue.
Its highlights are the Canary pines,Washingtonias and the huge ficus tree. It is also remarkable the Canary pine set and needle bushes (Acaciafarnesiana) planted in the perimeter fence.
In another area,close to the Neptune pond, a set of magnolias is locatedshowing howthe dehydration is altering, in the deepest part of the city, the lives of the great ancient tree specimens.
The Garden of the Parterrre was built on some existing plots in the old Plaza de la Aduana, a place considered by historian MartínezAloy as the lowest of Valencia. The approximate date of these gardens’ construction is 1850.
In 1852 there were already planted forty seven magnolias and two araucarias. The final organization of the Parterre Garden takes place long after, being inaugurated the monument to King James I. According to the bibliographer Nebot Pérez, this garden was provided with four circular ponds, as many groups of Canary pines, two pisántropos, metrosidros and Araucaria. It is possible that those metrosidros Martinez Aloy considered as single copies in Valencia, proceed from the garden of Archbishop’s Palace in Valencia, for this rare species of trees was brought to Spain by the Archbishop of Valencia and patriarch of Indian Don Francisco Fabian y Fuero.
Under an agreement with the Municipal Corporation, on March 18, 1901 the iron fence, which previously served as support of the Glorieta’s benches, is placed on the stone bench going around the parterre.
A key aspect of the Parterre is the monumental statue dedicated to James I. The idea of erecting the statue emerged from the gathering organized in 1875 around TeodoroLlorente, director of “Las Provincias”. The coterie thought that Valencia had to solemnize the sixth centenary of theconqueror King’s death and presented a document to the City asking the erection of the monument; it was signed by TeodoroLlorente, Vincent W. Querol, Edward Attard, Juan Reig and Garcia Llorente Feliciano Jose Fernandez Olmos, Vicente Graus, Aurelio Querol, Bernardo Ferrandis, Juan Navarro Reverter, Rafael Ferrer and Bigne and José Brel. Accepted the proposal by the City, a governing board of the monument is named in June 13, 1876 divided into two sections, one in charge of the statue’s study and another that would seek to raise funds for it. The Board chaired by Acting Mayor Don F. Llorente y Ferrando decides that the monument consists of a molten bronze equestrian statue with a size greater than the natural that would be covered by public subscription.
The centenary’s date passed without being able to erect the statue for lack of financial resources. It is agreed in 1878 to build the pedestal designed and built, to make people not to be disappointed, by the city architect Don Vicente Constantino March with a height of seven feet.
The following year the invitation, sent to the Valencian sculptors to make the statute, appears in the “Official Gazette”. Molto, Yerro,Gilabert, Santigosa and Aixa were presented, but the contest was declared void, so that steps were taken to commission the statue to Vallmitjana brothers, from Barcelona. Contract signing is performed on October 21, 1882 being Mayor Don José María Sales. The statue was carved by AgapitoVallmitjana and approved by the Board in April 1886. In order to melt the work, the Monument’s Board addressed to the Ministry of War, asking to be supplied of fifteen tons of bronze granted by Royal Decree in July 1886. Five guns and a howitzer totaling the amount requested were sent from the fortress of Penyiscola.
The statue’s smeltingwas awarded by competition to “La maquinistavalenciana” promising to make it within a period of eight months. The contract was signed on 31 July 1888 and it is specified that the melting had to be an alloy in which nine hundred thousandths of copper, fifty-four of zinc, seventeen of tin and fifteen of lead were in. The metal plate had to have a minimum thickness of ten millimeters and the statue’s placement on the pedestal run account of the smelter company.
Due to a number of technical problems, the MaquinistaValenciana could not finish the monument to ten and a half years after signing the contract, so in January 12, 1891the statue was located on the pedestal, officially inaugurated on July 20 of the same year. Subsequently, the conqueror’s coats of arms was placed on the front and rear the shield of the city of Valencia modeled by sculptor Aixa; plus, on the both sides legends offering the monument to King James I the Conqueror were set. The equestrian work is perhaps one in which picture can be seen mostly, a picture from an sculptor whose most striking feature is the severity , possibly a result of their specialization in religious imagery , represents the walking horse and rider in suit and helmet warrior attitude to lead the troops, all within an easily identifiable style with romantic historicism.
- TIME SCHEDULE
- Spring- Summer: 9:00-21:00
- Autumn- Winter: 9:00-18:00
- Plaza Alfonso el Magnánimo 46003 Valencia
- 5.709 m2
The Parterre we see today is the one brought into being after the Valencia’s flood of 1957. In the beginning, by mid-nineteenth century, it was a crossed garden having in the center of each table a pond with tropical aquatic vegetation. In the late nineteenth century the statue of King James I the Conqueror was placed in its center.
In 1901, a major reform of La Glorieta was performed, and consequently, the stone benches with iron backrest were taken to the Parterre. The action performed after the flood eliminated the ponds located in the center of the tables and gave the garden a more “landscape” look, likewise Ponzanelli’s Neptune statue was placed in a lateral pond.
Vegetation’s highlightis the great Ficus macrophylla. Its adaptability to the stone benches and coexistence with a gas remains a source of wonder for all citizens.