The birthplace of paella, Valencia is famous for one more thing in particular — its striking old and new architectural gems.
It has taken two years of bold development for Valencia to come up with some of the most striking architecture in the country, adding to heritage of elegant Art Nouveau buildings, as well as Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance monuments.
Over the last century, the work of professional designers, architects, interior designers and illustrators have given rise to a unique design culture that now extends throughout the whole region. No wonder Spain’s third largest city has been picked as the World Design Capital 2022 by the World Design Organization (WDO).
“Valencia has become a leading example of effective and strategic use of design in public policy, which has resulted in a beneficial impact on industries, infrastructure and mobility. The city’s impressive mix of historic and modern structures, coupled and coexisting with the natural environment is best showcased in the example of the Turia Garden, one of the largest urban parks in Spain,” reads the official website of WDO.
Turia Garden runs through the city, along a nine-kilometer green belt filled with plants and ponds, shaded nooks, sports areas, bridges, and walkways. Impressive urban infrastructures coexist with abundant natural greenery in the garden built on a former riverbed that curves around the city, taking you through the most significant architectural gems of Valencia.
The futuristic City of Arts and Sciences is a vast sculptural white complex designed by designers Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, located in the premises of Turia Garden. The glass complex shelters Oceanogràfic, Europe’s biggest aquarium with seven different marine environments and 45,000 species, along with other attractions including a 3D cinema, science museum, an opera house, and more.
Visit the famous Valencia Cathedral to witness a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architecture at the city’s very centre. Take a stroll to see paintings by famous artists, have a look at a chalice, which is believed to be the original Holy Grail, and climb up the Micalet bell-tower for panoramic views of the city.
The Art Nouveau-building of Central Market dates back to 1914. Look up, and you’ll discover Modernist-era detailing in the domes, and interiors lined stained glass, mosaics, and ceramics, and polychromed tiles. Do remember to witness the grand and gorgeous construction the North Railway Station featuring colourful ceramics and intricate mosaics. The hip district of Russafa, once a rural area, has today transformed into an urban sprawl, brimming with uniquely designed cafes, hotels, and markets. The UNESCO-listed Lonja de la Seda is popular for both trading silk and its late Valencian Gothic architecture.