The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, or Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, is really an architectural masterpiece! It looks like something from a futuristic dream, and it’s hard to believe it’s real! There are several different buildings, each with unexpected fluid lines, defying gravity and any other construction rule. The complex is quite special, and the Spanish voted it to be one of the 12 Treasures of Spain, alongside other amazing places such as the Seville Cathedral, the Alhambra, Sagrada Familia, La Concha Beach in San Sebastian and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
The brilliant mind behind Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect well-known for single-pillar bridges, spectacular railway stations, stadiums and museums, and the fluid and organic forms he offers to his creations.
Santiago Calatrava’s most famous project is in fact the City of Arts and Sciences. But he is also renowned for other outstanding projects around the world, such as Gare do Oriente in Lisbon, Gare de Lyon Saint-Exupéry, the Telecom Tower in Montjuic, Barcelona, the train station in Liege, Belgium, the Turning Torso in Malmo, Sweden, the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, or the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York. Every structure he designed looks amazing and other-worldly! A simple Pinterest search will convince you.
The City of Sciences controversy
As with any other grand project, while tourists look at it with admiration, the locals somewhat despise it. That’s because all the costs have greatly burdened the entire region. They had to triple the initial budget of 300 million euros. The city of Arts and Sciences has thus become a symbol of excessive spending for locals.
The City of Arts and Sciences
I’ve been there myself, but I wasn’t feeling very well (long story about getting to the Emergency room in Valencia). So let me tell you about Alex’s experience at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. He is still amazed by what he saw! The structures are breathtaking, and it’s so impressive to see how hard materials, such as glass and metal, have been modeled into these fluid shapes.
There are several buildings, each with a different architecture and a specific purpose. I would say the most famous is the Hemisfèric, in the form of a giant eye, which at night reflects in the pool in front of it and actually takes the form of a complete eye (I find this amazing!). In the Hemisfèric there is a planetarium and an IMAX cinema.
The Principe Felipe Science Museum is an interactive museum and its shape resembles a whale skeleton. I love Science Museums ever since I saw the one in Vancouver, which I found absolutely fascinating! I hope to come back to Valencia one day to see this one as well. The Umbracle is another splendid structure meant to provide shadow, and it’s filled with psychedelic geometry.
Oceanographic is an aquarium. And I’ll stop here, I’m sure you know I’m against the capture and holding of any wild animal. The Reina Sofia Palace of Arts is a performing arts center, with dedicated rooms for theater, opera, and other arts. And finally, the Agora is a covered plaza for concerts, exhibitions or sports events.
The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, a timeless masterpiece
The City of Arts And Sciences in Valencia was featured in George Clooney’s Tomorrowland (2015), and that says a lot about the futuristic look of the complex. I understand the costs were very high and it became a burden for the entire region, but I cannot help admiring the structures and the brilliant mind that deigned them. They are exceptional creations, real masterpieces of contemporary architecture!
The official site of the complex is here and you can find the ticket prices here. Book a whole day for your visit and take a lot of pictures, because someday you will wonder if this was only a dream or you really saw these amazing constructions 😊.
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