The City of Arts and Sciences or La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias de Valencia in Spanish was the main reason that I decided to visit Valencia on my first trip to Spain. I saw pictures of the complex in a magazine and decided that I needed to visit it. I really enjoy architecture and this was when I first became aware of the architect Santiago Calatrava.
The City of Arts and Sciences was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. Calatrava designed the buildings that house the Opera House, IMAX Theater, Science Museum and Promenade/Car Park. Candela designed the Aquarium or Oceanográfico. The complex is located in what was once the River Turia. The river had been diverted in the 1960’s to stop the city from flooding and the river bed was turned into parks for the city.
The buildings were even more interesting in person than in the pictures. They were spread out over a large area with parks and water pools surrounding them. I spent a couple hours just walking around the buildings and taking pictures. I really wish I had visited at night because the buildings would look amazing when they are lit up.
Besides looking at the buildings there are many activities to keep you busy for the whole day. There is an IMAX Theater, Science Museum, Opera House and one of the largest Aquariums in Europe. The only one of these that I visited was the aquarium. The aquarium was really enjoyable and had a great variety of fish and animals to see. My favorite part was the clear tunnels that you could walk through and be surrounded by the fish.
I went to Valencia primarily to visit The City of Arts and Sciences and as an added bonus I found a city that is a great place to spend a few days.
- The City of Arts and Sciences Website
- The Complex is just outside the historic downtown area and is easily reached by public transportation
- Valencia is less than a two hour train ride from Madrid and three hours from Barcelona. Visit Spain’s RENFE site for more information on the trains.
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