Years ago we had a short encounter with Valencia and we instantly knew that we had to go back some day. In the winter of 2019 we finally had the opportunity to dig deeper into this absolutely amazing city, the third largest in Spain.
When traveling in southern Europe you are pampered with picturesque towns exuding medieval charm, imposing gothic buildings, magnificent churches and cathedrals, impressive squares and exciting ancient history and Valencia is no exception. But what really makes this Spanish metropole something extraordinary and what will make your jaw drop is La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, The City of Arts and Sciences. A futuristic mirage constructed in the dried out riverbed of the former Turia river.
For centuries the people of Valencia struggled with flooding from the mighty Turia river and after a devastating flood in 1957, that flooded almost three quarters of the city and killed over 60 people, a diversion project was devised. The river was divided in two. During floods the water is diverted southwards along a new course that skirts the city.
After the diversion the city leadership planned for a highway in the old riverbed. But the people of Valencia pushed back and protested the highway proposal under the motto ” The bed of the Turia is ours and we want it green”. Luckily the people won and the City approved legislation to turn the riverbed into a park. A decision that forever changed the city of Valencia.
Today the Turia Gardens wind like a giant
It is possible you should do the almost
At the very end you will be rewarded with the absolutely amazing and stunning Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (CAC).
The CAC is designed by the world-renowned
The complex is made up of the following buildings:
El Palau de las Arts Reina Sofia
When the Valencia Opera House was official opened in 2005 it was the culmination of 14 year’s of work for the architect Calatrava. We find the building to be somewhat of a masterpiece in modern architecture. Walking around this absolutely out of this world futuristic building gave us
We discussed whether the building resembles a seagoing vessel or a spacecraft. But in fact, Calatrava had a prehistoric giant warrior’s helmet in his mind when designing the building. This stunning iconic construction will no doubt become a symbol of the city of Valencia just as the Opera House has become for Sydney.
The Opera House extends over more than 55,000 square meters and measures more than 70 meters in height. The building holds 4 separate halls and can seat more than 4000 spectators. We recommend you to take one of the very informative guided tours.
The beautiful planetarium and IMAX Cinema is meant to resemble a giant eye. Like the Opera House it is almost like the “Eye of knowledge” floats on a surface of water. The Hemisferic was the first building of the CAC and also designed by Calatrava.
It’s a great and thrilling experience to join in on one of the many different IMAX movies displayed on the 900 square meters large screen.
El Museu de las Ciencies Principe Felipe
This monumental building is an interactive museum of science and resembles the giant skeleton of a whale. This grand building occupies more than 40000 square meters and is currently the largest exhibition space in Spain. The science museum’s main objective is to stimulate curiosity and critical thinking.
Full interactivity is one of the special features. The motto of which is “Forbidden not to touch, not to feel, not to think”. You can easily spend hours in this state of the art museum.
This beautiful building was originally designed as an entrance to CAC. It is 320 meters long, 60 meters wide and 18 meters high. It harbours in its interior an outdoor art gallery with sculptures by contemporary artists and a botanical garden with plants indigenous to Valencia.
Along the central arch of the building, you will find 99 majestic palm trees, planted as a beautiful contrast to the featherlight construction. In summer, one end of the L’Umbracle is converted into a large open-air nightclub. Here you can dance till the early hours and sip ice cold cava and Aqua de Valencia.
The most recent of the buildings in the CAC. Inaugurated in 2009.
The Agora is also designed by Calatrava and is a multifunctional covered space. It can seat a maximum of more than 6000 guests and is designed to hold events such as concerts, performances, exhibitions and international sports performances. These days the construction is undergoing a major renovation.
Exploring day and night
We spend several days wandering and biking through the mesmerizing complex of La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. We simply couldn’t get enough.
When we thought we had seen it all we discovered something new and exciting. The complex is stunning and breathtaking in daylight but maybe even more, if possible, during night, when all the buildings and the pools are lit
We give the futuristic City of Arts and Science our warmest recommendations.