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Valencia destined to become new cultural hub

By Greg Goodsell
April 22nd, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Valencia is poised to become the newest jewel in the Spanish crown. The nation's third largest city is poised to come from out of the shadows of Spain's two other largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, to become a vital cultural hub in modern Europe.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Visitors can't miss the energy of this city as it forges a new identity," National Geographic correspondent Melissa Geiss says. "Historical buildings are being cleaned and restored, live theaters are popping up all over the city, and crowds are thronging the new museums. Even the natives appreciate her newfound vibrancy."

Valencia, located at the mouth of the Turia River on the Mediterranean Sea is surrounded by orange groves and rice fields, rising out of the rich agricultural plain known as the huerta. Famous for paella, Lladró porcelain, and the spectacular festival of the Fallas, Valencia has a population of 750,000. The city enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, and the average highest temperature on any given day is 64°. The city's mild weather promotes the area's bouncy outdoor lifestyle.

Valencia suffered disastrous flooding due to the Turia River in 1957. Diverting the river south of the city led to the establishment of parks, gardens and athletic fields which were essential in the city's rebirth.

"At the southern tip of the riverbed garden lays the crowning achievement of the new Valencia, the stunning complex of cultural attractions known as the City of Arts and Sciences," Geiss says. "The eyeball-shaped L'Hemisfèric houses a planetarium, laserium, and IMAX theater, and uses hydraulic lifts to make the building's eyelid open and close.

"Behind the waterfall-style facade of the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe you can clock your fastest sprint or build electrical circuits in a hands-on learning environment.

"At the Julio González Center of the Valencian Institute of Modern Art you can admire the Picasso-inspired forged iron masks and sculptures of González as well as revolving exhibits of other modern artists. If symphonies and arias are more to your liking, the glass-domed concert hall at the Palau de la Música offers more than 200 programs annually," Geiss adds.

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