Tuesday, March 31, 2009

FEW WORDS ABOUT ALAMEDA GARDENS

This is not the first Botanical Garden I've visited, but it's for sure the most beautiful one. Well, right, I must admit the others two are in Romania, one in Bucharest and the other one in Cluj, Transylvania. About the first one I have only vague memories, my visits there took place between 1978-1980, when as a student in the crowded, noisy and stressful Bucharest I used to change 2 trams only for the pleasure of spending few hours exploring the park. I remember it was well maintained, but you hardly could find some seats in the shade. The second one I visited it few years ago and I was impressed by the themes-areas as "Japanese garden", the green house for tropical plants and the conifers area which was my favourite place in the garden.

But Alameda Gardens is different, not only because of the amount of tropical flowers you can find here, but for the way they are laid out :it looks like a jungle, wild and natural, no organised squares for any species, no piece of ground uncovered, just wild and natural - its beauty speaks for itself. I'm not sure, but I think it includes 8 hectares of land. Anyway it's an oasis of peace, fresh air and beauty in the south side of the town. Its history begins in 1815 when the military governor of the Colony, Don George decided to built a walk around Grand Parade(the spot where the guard used to change, and where all the military ceremonies took place).This place was situated in an area known as a "desert of red sand" used for years as a raw material in constructions. During the numerous sieges, a part of this area was used as a vegetables garden and some other parts as cemetery. The name of the garden derives from the Spanish word Alamo, meaning White Poplar. It seems these trees were growing along the Grand Parade. The walks it was opened to the public on 14th April 1816. After more than 150 years, the gardens fell in a state of disrepair. Only in 1991 the Government of Gibraltar hired a firm that managed to convert it into today's beautiful Alameda Botanical Gardens.