City of Arts and Sciences - A relatively new, striking in its scale, the attraction of Valencia. Despite the fact that the creation of such a center is more a tribute to fashion than an urgent state need, the complex itself is worth it to be included in the obligatory excursion program. With its outstanding size and originality, the ensemble resembles a fantastic city from a Hollywood blockbuster. Spending a few days in Valencia and not bringing along photos taken against the backdrop of the turquoise ponds of Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias means wasted time.
The architectural style of the complex uses elements of bionics, due to which the appearance of the buildings is radically different from the rest of the Valencia structures. By the way, visiting the City of Arts and Sciences is better after visiting historical sites in order to fully experience the effect of striking contrast.
How it all began
At the end of the 80s of the last century, the professor at the University of Valencia, Jose Maria Lopez Pinro, proposed the government to build a science museum. And in 1989, the president of Valencia, Juan Lerma, decided to start implementing this idea. The development of the project was entrusted to a team of architects who had experience in the construction of similar objects in other European countries, and the former channel of the Turia River was chosen as the place for the City of Arts and Sciences. In government circles, the news was perceived ambiguously. The idea of building such a large-scale architectural ensemble has been repeatedly criticized, which, however, did not affect the course of work.
In the spring of 1998, the L'Hemisfèric Cinema welcomed its first visitors to the City of Arts and Sciences. A year and 8 months later, a science museum was opened, followed by, in December 2002, the oceanographic park L'Oceanographic was commissioned. On November 8, 2005, the line reached the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía. The last venue of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia was the Àgora Covered Area. The official opening of the pavilion took place in 2009, and it was possible to completely complete the construction work only by 2011.
Palace of Arts
The building of the Palace of Arts, which houses the opera house, bears the name of Queen Sofia. The idea of creating a structure resembling a conquistador helmet in its form belongs to the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The palace is surrounded by two artificial pools, the blue water of which emphasizes the amazing whiteness of the walls of the building.
How much this ambitious project was worth the money and effort spent on it can be judged by the popularity of the palace among foreign artists. Most often, the performances of the world stars of opera and ballet take place on the stage of the Valencian theater. You can visit El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía by buying a ticket for one of the performances, or by ordering a tour of the building. A 50-minute journey through the galleries and halls of the palace will cost 8 euros. To watch the performance, it is better to come here in the morning. Ticket offices where you can buy a ticket for a performance begin to work from 10 o’clock.
The building has four auditoriums with a total area of 40,000 m². The premises are designed for the simultaneous presence of 4200 spectators in them, and about 2000 guests can be accommodated outside. The interior of the largest hall, accommodating 1,400 people, is made in the classic Mediterranean style: the blue mosaic of the walls is exquisitely set off by the snow-white tiers of the balconies. By the way, visiting cultural events taking place here, the main thing is not to get lost in the labyrinths of palace corridors and numerous stairs.
The cinema, and in combination the L'Hemisfèric planetarium, is located below ground level. Steps at the entrance lead visitors down to the heart of Valencia's largest cinema. The structure surrounded by pools reminds in its form a half-covered human eye immersed in the azure expanse of water. It is best to observe a fantastic resemblance to the organ of vision in the evening, when the external and internal illumination of the building is turned on. At this time of day, through the glass walls, a sphere imitating the eye pupil is clearly visible. At the same time, L'Hemisfèric looks very futuristic, as, indeed, all the objects of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia.
In addition to the planetarium, the building has a hall for laser shows, as well as an IMAX cinema. Anyone can visit the latter. It is enough to buy a ticket for one of the educational documentaries and do not forget to take 3D glasses from the cinema staff. The cost of admission for an adult is 8.80 euros.
Orangery, gallery, garden - this place in the City of Arts and Sciences is called differently. The gigantic metal arch structure looks amazingly light and airy. In the park and exhibition complex located inside it, with a total area of about 17,500 m², more than 5,000 species of exotic plants grow. Here is the Gallery of Modern Sculpture (Walk of the Sculptures).
If you want to take a look at the entire architectural complex, L’Umbracle can serve as an excellent observation platform. From the outside of the building there is a beautiful view of the rest of the pavilions of the City of Arts and Sciences, its delightful pools and pedestrian zones. Right next to the gallery wall there is a viewing area with a long canopy and benches, where you can rest a bit before continuing the further excursion. Well, lovers of unusual selfies will have the opportunity to take pictures on the background of plaster sculptures in the form of sweets. “Tasty” exhibits represent the largest countries in the world and are painted in the colors of state flags.
Prince Felipe Museum of Science
Another pavilion with an unusual exterior resembling the skeleton of a huge marine animal is a museum of science. The area of this gigantic educational site is 40,000 m². The object is famous for its interactive exhibitions and a concept unconventional for most museums: idle contemplation is not welcome here, but direct participation is encouraged. It is better to visit this unusual place with children, as well as curious people who love to touch and operate exhibits.
Museum expositions in a fascinating way will acquaint visitors with evolutionary and physical processes, will tell about the structural features of a living organism and the brilliant discoveries of mankind. You can observe how chickens hatch from eggs, arrange a stability test for your vestibular apparatus, and try to cope with optical illusions only at El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe. Well, those who are interested in the history of world catastrophes should allocate time to visit the exposition dedicated to the legendary Titanic. The museum is open daily from 10:00 to 20:00 from July to September. In other months - from 10:00 to 18:00. The cost of an adult ticket is 8 euros.
The largest oceanographic complex in Europe has more than 500 species of marine animals, fish, reptiles, birds and invertebrates. The inhabitants of the park are kept in giant two-level aquariums, which are a truly bewitching sight. For the convenience of visitors, the park is divided into 10 zones. In addition to standard glass pavilions with representatives of the marine habitat, it has a dolphinarium, a garden, a mangrove grove and artificially created swamps. The price of an adult ticket is 29.10 euros. Children under the age of 4 years are entitled to free access to the aquarium.
In addition to standard collective excursions, in L’Oceanogràfic you can take advantage of individual offers. For example, immerse yourself in the company of an instructor in one of the tanks to take a closer look at some representatives of the underwater world. As a keepsake, the visitor receives a test certificate and a full video of his underwater adventures.
One of the “youngest” buildings of the City of Arts and Sciences is an exhibition area and at the same time a multifunctional Àgora hall. The height of this amazing structure is about 80 m. Initially, the pavilion was conceived as a giant concert hall, as well as a venue for international conferences. Today it hosts not only cultural, but also sports events: for example, the Valencia tennis championship Valencia Open ATP 500. It accepts Àgora and stars of show business, and even world couturiers. And during the Christmas season, a huge ice rink is poured here and performances for children are held.
Near the Agora is the suspension bridge El Puente de l’Assut de l’Or. The 180-meter-long structure designed by Santiago Calatrava plays a rather unusual role in the life of the entire City of Arts and Sciences. The fact is that a 120-meter column installed on the bridge serves as a giant lightning rod.
For your information
When visiting the City of Arts and Sciences, a tourist is not required to buy a pass to each of the pavilions. The guest always has the right to choose exactly those objects that correspond to his personal interests. For example, it is possible to purchase a comprehensive ticket to visit the oceanographic park and the museum of sciences (cost for an adult is 30.80 euros). For 37.40 euros, you can immediately see three buildings: a cinema, an aquarium and a museum.
How to get there
Since the architectural ensemble itself is located on the site of the drained bed of the Turia river, it serves as the best guide for travelers. You can get to the “youngest” sights of Valencia through the center of the old city, following the bends of the river contours. The exact address of the City of Arts and Sciences is: Av del Profesor López Piñero, 7.
Those who do not favor walking should choose a metro ride. The red line L3 and green L5 will bring anyone to the Alameda station, from which it is within easy reach of the complex. The third option is the bus. The City of Arts and Sciences is easily accessible on routes 9, 15, 25, 35, 47 and 95.
City of Arts and Sciences
City of Arts and Sciences (valence. Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Spanish Ciudad de las artes y las ciencias ) - an architectural complex of five structures on the drained bottom of the Turia River in the city of Valencia (Spain). Design owned by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, construction began in 1996 source not specified 1526 days . The complex is one of the outstanding examples of modern architecture.
The "city" consists of five buildings, usually named after their Valencian (Catalan) names:
- El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía - opera house and stage for other theatrical productions
- L'Hemisfèric - IMAX cinema, planetarium, laser theater
- L'Umbracle - gallery / garden
- El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe - science museum
- L'oceanogràfic - open air oceanographic park
The complex is surrounded by parks, streams and pools, this area is a popular vacation spot for residents and visitors, there are bars and cafes.
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In 1989, the President of Valencia, Juan Lerma, accepted the idea proposed by Jose Maria Lopez Pinro, professor of history at the University of Valencia, to build a science museum in the park on the old riverbed of the Turia River. Lerma commissioned the development of the museum project to a team that designed and built on similar spaces with similar characteristics in Munich, Canada and London. The architecture of the museum complex should be exceptional.
“City of Science” is the name that the autonomous government has assigned to the project. The plan included a 370-meter communication tower, which would be in third place in the world, a planetarium and a museum of science. The total cost of the work was estimated at about 25 billion pesetas or about 150 million euros.
The Cities of Science project nevertheless caused a lot of controversy. The People’s Party saw in the “City of Science” the “work of the pharaohs,” which, in their opinion, would serve to increase the ego of the socialists who initiated the project. The communications tower has been a major criticism. However, work continued.
In May 1991, the council approved the transfer of land. Four months later, a project developed by Santiago Calatrava was presented. Construction began in late 1994 source not specified 1526 days .
The museum’s vision by the team that developed it did not fit with the form in which Santiago Calatrava conceived the building. Thus, some changes have been made.
In April 1998, the complex opened its doors to the public from the L'Hemisfèric building.
Eleven months later, Valencia's President Eduardo Zaplana opened the El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, although the museum was not yet completed. The museum was opened to the public twenty months later.
On December 12, 2002, the L'Oceanographic (the largest aquarium in Europe) was opened.
Finally, on October 8, 2005, the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía was opened and became the opera house of Valencia.
Buildings and admission prices
Entrance to the territory of the complex itself is free of charge - it is not only a local attraction, but also one of the favorite vacation spots of local residents. You can also visit Queen Sofia Palace of the Arts for free. But here it is worth considering that in the days when concerts or theater performances are held there, you will have to buy a ticket for the event in order to see the Palace from the inside.
The hemisphere, which houses a cinema, a planetarium and a hall for laser productions, is available for inspection. But to see an impressive concave 900-meter screen, visit a planetarium or attend a laser show, you need to buy a ticket. Entrance to the planetarium will require you to pay 8-9 euros.
To visit the aquarium, you must also purchase a ticket. Its cost is from 27 to 29 euros, the official website of the City of Arts and Sciences can always provide up-to-date information.
Separate recommendation to visit the aquarium if you have children. More than 40 thousand species of fish and marine animals are represented here, and they are located in nine huge aquariums, each of which imitates a certain natural zone.
Gallery Garden is available for walks, admission is free. Here you can see more than 5500 species of plants and an exhibition of sculptures by modern masters.
With children, you also need to visit the Prince Philip Science Museum. It is interactive - that is, everything here can be touched and seen clearly. An excursion to such a museum is the best way to instill in children a love of learning and the natural sciences. The cost of visiting one exhibition is 7-9 euros, but it is much more profitable to purchase a complex ticket for 15 euros to see everything.
In general, in order not to get a purse in each building of the complex, it is best to immediately purchase complex tickets to the City of Arts and Sciences, the cost is about 37 euros.
To go on an excursion to the city of Arts and Sciences in an organized manner, contact the Valencia-Guide company. We will arrange a trip at a time convenient for you and on the most favorable conditions.