The World Design Organisation (WDO) declared the Spanish city of Valencia as The World Design Capital of 2022. Located on the south-east coast of Spain, Valenciais a port located on the Mediterranean.
According to the WDO website, “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.”
Let’s take a look at what made Valencia the World Design Capital of 2022:
At first glance, Turia Garden is just a pretty urban park with a nine-kilometer green belt filled with plants and ponds, shaded nooks, sports areas, bridges, and walkways. It is also one of the largest urban parks in Spain, a popular spot for chilling, lounging in the sun, exercising, and a lot more. But the garden has an impressive history. It is built on the riverbed of the Turia which changed its course after a massive flood, leaving the land dry and exposed. What it is today is the work of landscapists and architects who gave the site its present makeover.
The Central Market in Valencia is a grand Modernist building dating back to 1914. It covers 8,000 sq meters space over two floors. If you look up, you will see the Modernist era features in the domes and sloping sections at different heights. The interiors are lined with iron, wood, ceramics, and polychromed tiles. It is best to visit the market during the day as the sunlight filtering in through the coloured windows is a sight worth witnessing.
City of Arts and Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences is one of Valencia’s must visit spots. It was brought to life by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, and is situated in the Turia Garden premises. This scientific and culture leisure complex also shelters Oceanogràfic, which is Europe’s biggest aquarium with seven different marine environments and 45,000 species. There is also Hemisfèric, the 3D cinema with a 900 metre concave screen. Also worth visiting: Science Museum, Ágora, Umbracle, Palau de les Arts Opera House, and Assut de l’Or.
The Cathedral of Valencia shelters the Holy Chalice, but it was once converted into a mosque. Its construction dates back to the 13th century and it retains, till date, elements like the Romanesque Baroque-style Door of the Irons in its Gothic-style build. The adjoining museum, which has works of artists like Goya, and the Miguelete Tower which opens up panoramic views of the city, are must visits, too.
North Railway Station
The main railway station in Valencia is an important one for travellers, but it gets its fair share of visitors, too, owing to its gorgeous architecture. Designed by Demetrio Ribes in 1017, this modernist construction is in line with Secesión Vienesa which is an art movement that arose at the end of 19th century. The interior and exterior design is also a tribute to the Valencian orange trade. The construction features mosaic work on the ceilings, walls and floors as well as colourful ceramics and intricate designs on the wrought-iron grilles.
Russafa or Ruzafa is the hip district of Valencia, in the league of London’s SoHo, which was originally a rural area that has been converted into an urban sprawl. It is lined by cafes, hotels, a local market and often sees cultural performances after dusk.
La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia
Currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a ticketed tourist destination, this group of buildings was originally used for trading silk. A masterpiece of late Gothic architecture, the Sala de Contratación (trading hall) is particularly a stunning example of the trade powers of this Mediterranean mercantile city in the 15th and 16th century.