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Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences)
Valencia is the 3rd largest city in Spain, after Madrid and Barcelona. It has one of the largest historic centre in Spain, spanning over 160 acres and is popularly known as the place where the famous dish, Paella, originated from. A city wall was once built around Valencia, but majority of them are now gone (destroyed in the past or demolished to make way for roads etc), with only two gates remaining.
As this is gonna be a very photo-intensive post, do click to read more!
Valencia Post Office
It was a fine weather the day we reached Valencia, which means it's neither too hot nor too cold, so it's perfect to take long strolls around the city.
Valencia Town Hall
I think it was a weekend or a public holiday the day we were there (pardon my memory... it's already been more than 10 months since I came back from my Europe trip!) Hence, there weren't many people on the streets. The Town Hall, in my opinion, doesn't offer much, but it does have several modernist buildings which also serve as government buildings.
Plaza del Ayuntamiento 1, Valencia 46003
Sant Joan del Mercat
This beautiful building is one of the oldest churches in Valencia. Originally a mosque in 1240, it was destroyed by a fire and a church was rebuilt on the exact site in the 14th century in Gothic manner. The church was refurbished during the 17th and 18th century, giving its current Baroque looks. It's located just opposite of Llotja de la Seda (address below).
Llotja de la Seda (Silk Exchange Building)
Llotja de la Seda is the site of an ancient local silk trade, built between 1482 and 1548. It is considered as one of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is probably one of the most popular tourist attraction in Valencia.
Sala de Contratación
Upon entering the building, you'll be greeted by a large and astounding hall. Built and sculpted in Flamboyant Gothic style, there are 10 beautiful, tall spiral pillars supporting the building; the floor is made of different coloured marbles, and there are many large windows around the hall to let in plenty of light. You could pay for a tour but we decided to just walk around by ourselves.
If I didn't remember wrongly, this is the chapel, with an insanely beautiful ceiling (look at photo below).
Gardens at Llotja de la Seda
Plaza del Mercado, sin número. Valencia
Opening hours (not confirmed)
Weekdays: 10.00 - 14.00 ; 16.30 - 20.30
Weekend: 10.00 - 15.00
PriceFree to enter and walk around
Small fee for a tour
Torres de Quart (Quart Towers)
Torres de Quart is one of the twelve gates, and one of the two remaining, guarding the ancient wall of the Valencia. It's built between 1441 and 1460, in the west part of Valencia, facing Madrid. Most of the markings on the wall are impacts caused by guns during war times and due to deterioration over time.
Calle de Guillem de Castro, 74, 46001 Valencia
Torres de Serranos
Torres de Serranos is the other city gate remaining in Valencia and is considered one of Valencia's best conserved monuments in the city. We managed to climb up the gate and had a great view of the city.
Plaza de Fueros, Valencia 46003
Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 - 14:00 h; 16:30 - 20:30 h.
Sunday and public holidays: 10:00 - 15:00 h.
Adults: 2 Euros
Children from 7 to 12 years, groups, pensioners and students with Youth Card: 1 Euro
Free on Sundays
Beautiful sculptures decorated Valencia city, and one fine example is the statue of Vicente Domenech. Vicente was a popular and prominent figure in the history of Spain as he was the first to declare war against France during the Spanish Independence War.
Church and Convent of Carmen
The Church and Convent of Carmen is often considered a rare find in the centre of Valencia. We chanced upon it purely by coincidence (or would you say fate?), while wandering around, heading towards Plaza de la Virgen. We didn't even know what's the name of the church until we went back and researched about it!
What caught our attention is the beautiful and spectacular Baroque facade. The church is situated in a very quiet square - there were no tourists in sight - which allowed us to breathe in the gorgeousness of the church. I found a website that describes just how beautiful and majestic the church is, do hop over for a read!
The church is still active but only open during services. The convent is currently being used as an art exhibition venue.
Plaza del Carmen 7, Valencia 46003
Closed on Mondays
Access to church: during religious service only
A cute fountain that we passed by while on our way to Plaza de la Virgen.
Turia fountain at Plaza de la Virgen (Virgin's Square)
Plaza de la Virgen is located at the center of Valencia's historic district. It is probably the most popular tourist destination in Valencia. The fountain was built as a celebration of the Spanish Turia river in human form.
Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados (Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken)
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken is a 17th century church built in a Baroque style and dedicated to the patron saint of Valencia. Located at Plaza de la Virgen, it is considered the most important religious building in Valencia built that century. The patron saint of Valencia, Virgen de las Desamparados, represents a medieval brotherhood that cared for the insane and disabled, and buried the dead left in the street.
Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia 46003 - Spain
Apse and North transept of Valencia Cathedral
One of the most popular sights in Plaza de la Virgen would definitely have to be the Valencia Cathedral. Founded in the 13th century on the site of a mosque, and perhaps a Roman temple of Diana, the unusual Valencia Cathedral incorporates a number of architectural styles and artistic treasures - including the Holy Grail.
One unusual yet familiar architectural style will definitely have to be the open arcades around the northeast-oriented apse. They reminded me fondly of the Colosseum in Rome (can't believe that it's almost a year since I've been there!)
Puerta de los Apóstoles (Door of the Apostles)
The exterior of Valencia Cathedral is mostly Gothic - evident from the entrance on the North transept. The north transept, Puerta de los Apóstoles, is richly decorated with Gothic sculpture and a 14th-century rose window (which again reminds me of the famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris!)
Baroque portal used as the main entrance
We actually wanted to go in and have a look, but seeing that the door at the North transept was closed, we thought the cathedral was closed. Little did we know that there's actually another entrance!
This entrance design is vastly different from the rest of the cathedral - the Baroque façade was added in 18th century and is currently being used as the entrance.
Interior of Valencia Cathedral
Valencia Cathedral is definitely one of the most unique and beautiful cathedral I've ever seen. I especially love the place because it's quiet, serene and not overly crowded like other popular tourist spots. I'm not quite sure how to explain how I felt there, but the cathedral looks much more beautiful and magnificent with the absence of people.
Plaza de la Reina, Valencia, Spain
Monday to Sunday: From 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Reduced price entry: 2.10 € (groups, children between 3 and 12 years old, retired people and disabled people)
(We didn't pay to go in to have a look, we just stood at the entrance and took a photo of the interior of the cathedral)
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences)
After having experienced the old of Valencia, we headed to the new side of Valencia - City of Arts and Sciences. The whole City consists of several entertainment-based cultural and architectural buildings. It is definitely an eye opener as the designs of the buildings are modern, exceptionally beautiful and futuristic (to me at least). It is the most important modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia.
While researching, I found out that the total cost of the works was estimated to be about 25,000 million pesetas, or about 150 million euro - and that's a lot of money!
We took a bus from the city centre and upon arriving, we were greeted with a landscaped walk with numerous types of plant species. The 320 meters long and 60 meters wide walk consists of an outdoor art gallery filled with sculptures from many contemporary artists.
El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe
El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe is an interactive museum of science that is built to resemble the skeleton of a whale (amazing, isn't it?) The museum occupies about 42,000 square meters and 26,000 square meters of this are exhibition space, which is currently the largest in Spain. Standing at 220 meters long, 80 meters wide and 55 meters high, it is constructed with 20,000 square meters of glass, 4,000 panes and 14,000 tons of steel.
L'Àgora is a covered plaza designed to hold a variety of events such as concerts, performances, exhibitions, conventions, staging of congresses, and international sports meetings. Many important events have been held in this building including the Freestyle Burn Spanish Cup in 2010 and the Christmas Special Program.
L'Oceanogràfic is the largest open-air oceanographic park in Europe with 110,000 square meters and 42 million litres of water. It is built in the shape of a water lily and is home to over 500 different species including dolphins, belugas, penguins, turtles, sharks and rays.
El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia
El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia serves as an opera house and performing arts centre dedicated to music and scenic arts. It is surrounded by 87,000 square meters of landscape and water, as well as 10,000 square meters of walking area. The building has an metallic feather outer roof that rests on two supports and is 230 meters long and 70 meters high.
Front view of L'Hemisfèric
L'Hemisfèric is an Imax Cinema, Planetarium and Laserium and is my most favourite building of all (in terms of design and structure). With an approximate surface area of 13,000 square metres, L'Hemisfèric is the centrepiece of the City of Arts and Sciences. I particularly like the "wings" of the buildings - they actually serve as working gates! L'Hemisfèric is designed to resemble an eyelid that opens to access the surrounding water pool - and we witnessed the magnificence of the building just several hours later (see photos below!)
Side view of L'Hemisfèric
We stayed at the City for many hours, until the sun set.
L'Hemisfèric at night - the bottom half of the eye is actually reflection in the water!
L'Hemisfèric at night
The skies turned red while we were there and it started to drizzle.
L'Umbracle at night
Avenida Autopista del Saler, 7
Do click on the links below to access the various information:
This is the end of my Valencia trip, after this we headed over to Madrid, I hope to get the post on it out soon!