The City of Culture.

Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Galicia.

Like a pharaoh planned his pyramid, the former long-time regional president Manuel Fraga envisioned this gigantic cultural complex as his legacy. The actual contents, however, were never a matter of deeper thought. The complex did not have a strategic plan until two years after its inauguration, and one of the buildings changed purpose six times over the years. The original budget was €108 million, but it rapidly escalated, reaching finally around €300 million, and it could have been even more if the last two buildings out of six had been constructed. This enormous cost overrun has drained the cultural budget of Galicia. In 2015, around 16% of the culture budget of the regional government is spent here, but during the construction period, it reached over 30%. The new National Library of Galicia is a good example of that, built with a capacity for 1 million books, it displays embarrassingly empty shelfs, while local library branches cannot afford buying new books.