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It has become a reliable formula: host a major event or commission a world famous architect and hey presto, a completely forgotten city is back on the map. It worked for Lisbon, Barcelona and Bilbao. Then, it was the turn of the capital of the Orange Blossom Coast. And the formula proved successful once again: the City of Arts and Sciences has become the top attraction in Valencia.
Strangely enough a natural disaster turned out to be the precursor of Valencia’s revival. In 1957, the eternal sunshine that has made the eastern Spanish coast so popular made way for a diabolic thunderstorm. Through a bizarre combination of weather conditions it rained for 13 days straight. The Turia, a river that normally flows calmly through town, transformed into a raging mass of water. The floods left 10,000 residents homeless, claimed 400 lives and destroyed Valencia.
“Santiago Calatrava’s unique buildings seem to have descended like UFOs.”