Coming to Valencia without seeing the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias or in valencian: Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències), is like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower. You can’t miss this futuristic complex devoted to sciences and culture located at one end of what was formerly the bed of the River Turia.
A 21st century city
This spectacular and futuristic complex, inaugurated in 1998 and created by the great architects Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela as well as the engineers Alberto Domingo and Carlos Lázaro, is one of the most appreciated places in Valencia by tourists with more than 4 millions of visitors every year, which the Oceanogràfic has far the most success.
This project was launched in the 90’s letting Calatrava free to design the future city of Valencia. It’s a space opened to everyone where it is possible to see an opera, see stars, discover the origins of life, face with a shark, etc.
Its 350.000 m2 on two kilometers regroup different fun, scientific and cultural buildings such as: the Oceanogràfic (Oceanographical museum), the Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe (Sciences Museum), the Hemisfèric, the Palau de las Arts Reina Sofía (Arts Palace), the Umbracle, the Ágora. You will also find restaurants, shops and places to park. Around this area, new districts with high towers were built, so as hotels and big shopping centers (Aqua mall and Corte Inglés).
According to the period of the year, some events are organized, in winter, an ice skating rink is installed in order for kids and adults to have fun, you will also be able to run inside bubbles on the City of Arts and Sciences’ water, spend your summer nights dancing at the Umbracle, …
A unique concept
The concept of this complex is to regroup in one place, open to everyone, leisure and science. It’s a unique concept in its kind in Europe that spread over two kilometers on the formerly river Turia to attract tourists to Valencia for something else than getting tan and enjoying the beach. The goal of this area was to create a center dedicated to leisure and investigations, satisfying the visitors’ curiosity and envies. This project has converted itself into a vast work with an international dimension.
Its architect, Santiago Calatrava, native of Valencia, wished that all eyes turned to the city of Valencia. His mission is accomplished and the “Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias” is today the modern and avant-gardist representation of the city.
This project started in 1991 by the socialist Joan Lerma who employed the famous architect Santiago Calatrava to realize it. At the beginning, this first project was only a City of Sciences with one museum, one planetarium and a telecommunication tower that had to be taller than the Eiffel Tower by 50 meters with a cost of 150 millions euros. The project was criticized by the “populars” until the popular party took the power in 1995, changing the project with, as a consequence, criticisms from the socialists. After they stopped the work, a second project was proposed but was not accomplished and the tower finally transformed itself into a Palace of Arts, giving the definitive name of City of Arts and Sciences. Santiago Calatrava were in charge of remodeling the original idea. The total cost of this complex today is estimated at 1,300 millions euros.
The goal of this place was not only to promote culture and earn money but also to revitalize an area of the city that was depressed before, where hotels and shopping centers were almost empty. Since the construction of the City of Arts and Sciences, all has revived and was renovated in this district.
This complex is the work of two great architects: Santiago Calatrava, born in Valencia community, and Félix Candela. All the buildings were designed by Calatrava except the Oceanográfico which was made by Candela.
Santiago Calatrava is famous worldwide for his balanced constructions and light structures, he was awarded in 1999 with the Price Príncipe Felipe in Arts thanks to his “original understanding of volume and the new materials and technologies use in the search of an innovating esthetic”. Some of his most famous works are: Alamillo bridge in Sevilla, the Telecommunication Tower of Montjuic in Barcelona, the train station at Saint-Exupéry in Lyon (former Satolas), Alameda Bridge in Valencia, The Orient Station in Lisboa, the International Airport of Bilbao, the Europe Bridge in Orléans in France, the Olympic complex of Athena (OAKA), etc.
Félix Candela was mexican with spanish origins and was specialized in paraboloid structures. He realized the following buildings: Chapel of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad and the market in Coyoacán (district of Mexico), the metro stations San Lázaro, Candelaria and Merced on line 1 in Mexico, the Olympic Games Sports Palace of Mexico as an engineer, etc. He is the one who realized the Oceanogràfic.
The Sciences Museum is an architectural, modern prodigy, made of geometric lines and ongoing challenges to gravity looking like a dinosaur skeleton. Next to it, we can find a blinking eye converted into a planetarium, a place to park hidden by a path where plants climb up between sculptures and palm trees, a gigantic aquarium in the shape of a water lily, a big ship where you can listen to classical music and opera. A little bit further, stands the Ágora, a polyvalent space with the vocation of being a meeting point that was inaugurated by welcoming the tennis open of the Community of Valencia in November 2009.
This complex is marked by the water and plants profusion, that makes this place very pleasant not only to enjoy yourself but also to relax.
Tourists attracted by this curiosity that seems out of a science fiction movie wonder if that space is real… and what about you?
Did you know?
Some shots of this place with the buildings outline were used to put in the background of the nurse shuttle of the remake of the series “V”.
Different guided tours are offered to tourists at the City of Arts and Sciences. You will get complete information of every building of this place and about their architecture. You will also have access to some restricted areas to the public. Tours last between one hour and a half and two hours and you will walk along the two kilometers of the complex in the former bed of the river Turia. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about this extraordinary place!
How do you get there
Autopista del Saler
Highway A-7 and road N-340 : that crosses the community of Valencia from north to south.
Highway A-3: that links Madrid to Valencia
National 234: that connects Valencia to Aragón, Castilla-León and the north of the Peninsula.
Valencia possesses two stations: El Cabanyal and the North station from which you can get buses that drive you to the City of Arts and Sciences.
Information and timetable on: www.renfe.com
The Valencia bus station is located on the border of the former river Turia. Some regular bus lines arrive from all over Spain. To access to the City of Arts and Sciences from this station, you need to cross the former river and take the bus nº95 of EMT.
The lines going to the City of Arts and Sciences are the EMT buses nº13, 14, 15 (from the city hall square) and 19, 35, 95, 40.
More information on: www.emtvalencia.es (Spanish or Catalan).
The closest metro lines are nº 3, 5 et 7. It is recommended to stop at Alameda stop that is around 15 minutes walking from the City of Arts and Sciences.
More information on: www.metrovalencia.com (Spanish, Valencia language or English)
By the gardens on the former bed of the river Turia.
Addresses and localization
Official web of the City of Arts and Sciences: www.cac.es (Valencia language, Spanish and English)
Phone: 00 34 902 100 031 (Phone from monday to friday: 9:00 – 18:00 / weekend and holidays: 10:00 – 14:00)
Avda. del Professor López Piñero (Historiador de la Medicina) nº 7 – 46013 Valencia.
39º 27′ 23” N, 0º 21′ 10” W
Avda. del Professor López Piñero (Historiador de la Medicina) nº3 – 46013 Valencia.
39º 27′ 22” N, 0º 21′ 12” W
Calle Eduardo Primo Yúfera (Científic), nº 1B. 46013. Valencia.
39º 27′ 9” N, 0º 20′ 53” W
Avda. del Professor López Piñero (Historiador de la Medicina) nº 5. Valencia
39º 27′ 15” N, 0º 21′ 7” W
Calle Eduardo Primo Yúfera (Científic), nº 1A. – 46013 Valencia.
39º 27′ 13” N, 0º 21′ 0” W