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The City of Science and Arts

The city of science and arts in Valencia is perhaps the greatest and the most pretentious project of the latest years not only in the Valencia community but in Spain in general. The huge educational and entertaining complex combining the newest tendencies in architecture and info-technologies is situated on the territory of 350 000 square kms in the picturesque valley of the river Turia on the boarderline between the old Valencia and the coastal region of Nazareth.

The history of “the City of the Future” started in the first half of the 90s of the 20th century. By that time the mayor of the capital had decided to create a cultural and tourist centre which would give an opportunity to become a tourist centre like Sevilia and Barselona. There was a competition as a result of which the projects of two architects Santjago Calatrava and Felix Candela became the winners. Today both of them are considered to be the national heroes.

The City of the Science and Arts has been built for 12 years. What can visitors see there?

The most outstanding places are the Museum of Oceanography, the Palace of Arts, the Greenhouse, the Museum of Science and the Multiplex Semisphere where the Planetarium and the Stereo Cinema Hall are situated.

The first building of the City is the Palace of Arts of Queen Sophia which cost 250 mln euro for the community. The Palace was opened in 1998 in the presence of the Queen. There are three halls there: the Opera House including 1750 seats, the Theatrical Hall for 450 spectators and the Congress Hall for 1500 spectators. Today the concerts of the famous symphony orchestras of the world are organized in the Palace. Thanks to its unique acoustics the Palace is considered to be one of the best in Europe.

The Semisphere is a gigantic entertaining centre, which startles your imagination by architectural novelty and technical equipment. The Semisphere is constructed in the form of an eye, the eyelid of which lifts up and goes down. The complex includes: the traditional Planetarium, 3D travellings round the Universe and Laser Show. All the citizens of Valencia came to see the first night of Laser Show.

The next is the Museum of Science. It is named after one of the representatives of the Spanish monarchy prince Philip. The Museum of Science is the biggest buiding of the City. But it is not the main characteristic feature of it.

The idea of the architect Calatrava was to construct a building without any right angles. This idea has been carried out. The columns at the entrance of the theatre standing at the angle of 45° provoke giddy emotions, such as amazement, admiration and you feel as you can’t gain a foot-hold. What concerns the exposition of the Museum you can’t help surprising while watching the interactive exhibits stuffed with electronics. Each brunch of science is disposed on a separate floor. There is no place better in Valencia to spend free time with your children. The main rule in the Museum is “Forbidden not to touch!”.

The other two buildings of the City are the Greenhouse and the Oceanarium. The Greenhouse is a great park under the elegant arches. You can imagine the Greenhouse if you have ever seen the comic books about the way of life of aliens.

The Oceanarium in the City of Science is the greatest in Europe. The underwater flora and fauna are shown there in miniature. Though the aquariums of the volume of the fifteen Olimpic swimming pools can’t be called diminutive. The structure of the exposition of the Oceanarium is devided into natural zones and continents. On the first tier you can see walruses, seals and different kinds of birds. On the lower tier you can see underwater inhabitants from whales up to coralline fish.

The Dolphinarium is the favourite place for families with children. The perfomance is organized there each three hours.

There is a restaurant next to the Oceanarium. There are also some parts of the Underwater Museum in its interior: behind the great glass you can watch predatory and not very predatory inhabitants of the underwater world. Some of them you can not only watch but taste.