Igor Mitoraj sculpture in City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia

Brief history

The astounding complex, now listed as one of Spain’s 12 Treasures , took almost ten years to complete, and cost four times the initial budget. This iconic landmark rises from what used to be the Turia river bed. We will briefly retrace the main steps of its history.

  • 1957 Catastrophic flooding

    After a catastrophic flooding in 1957, the Turia river was diverted to the southern section of the city. The old riverbed was turned into a lush park that snakes through the city for about ten kilometres (a little over 6 miles). The park is now a leisure area with footpaths and bike lanes.

  • 1989 The inspiration

    The president of the Valencian government, Joan Lerma, visited the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris. He was so inspired by the complex that he decided to propose a similar project for Valencia.

  • 1990-1995 Early Development

    A project for a “City of Sciences” was officially presented to the Generalitat and renowned architect Santiago Calatrava

    (a Valencia native) was brought on board. This development stage included many years of political, economic, and administrative setbacks.

  • 1996 Foundation of the City of Arts and Sciences limited company

    When the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, S.A. (equivalent to a public limited company) was founded, the Valencian Government put in place the definitive project for a cultural complex dedicated to the promotion of technology, innovation, art and culture

  • 1996 Félix Candela brought on board

    Architect Félix Candela (Calatrava’s teacher) was commissioned to design an oceanographic park.

  • 1996 Beginning of construction

    In July 1996, the first stages of construction began on the *


  • 1998 Inauguration of the complex

    On 16 April 1998, the City of Arts and Sciences was inaugurated with the opening of the Hemisfèric.

  • 2000 Inauguration of the Science Museum

    On 13th November 2000, the Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe was opened to the public.

  • 2001 Inauguration of the Umbracle

    In 2001, the Umbracle was completed.

  • 2003 Inauguration of the Oceanogràfic

    The aquarium was opened to the public on 14th February 2003.

  • 2005 Inauguration of the Palau

    The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (opera house and arts centre) was inaugurated on 9th October 2005, Valencian Community Day.

  • 2007 Award to the complex

    The City of Arts and Sciences was nominated one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.

  • 2009 Inauguration of the Àgora

    The most recent building in the complex, L’Àgora, was opened in 2009 to host the Valencia Open 500 ATP tournament, although the construction works were not completely finished.


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