City of constant renewal ...
Barcelona, located at the Mediterranean sea in the very north of the Spanish
coast, is certainly the most cosmopolitan and economically most active city
in this country. It has always proved its will to be modern, to follow the
latest international tendencies or be ahead of them. To the tourist this is
evident specially in its architecture, which so well reflects the general
approach to life in this always pulsating city.
Of course, Barcelona has an old history, and there are monuments of
Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods or still before, but most
characteristic is what has been built during the last, say, 100 years.
Barcelona has been a center of Modernist architecture and is distinguished
specially by the works of genial Antoní Gaudí, who together with his great
contemporaries gave new and exciting looks to it, but has remained since
then at the top of modernity. If you want to find out which are the very
latest tendencies today - go to discover it here.
Gothic Quarter is one of the oldest and most interesting parts of
Barcelona. The square of Sant Jaume was Forum at the time of
Romans, and there are many remains of old fortifications still to be seen,
for instance the portal of "Plaça Nova". At this square there are as well
Palacio de la Generalitat
Palacio del Ayuntamiento
In Calle Paradis, on top of the mountain Táber, you will find
an old millstone. Here were living Iberian tribes long before the time of
At Plaza del Rei there are the
Palacio Real Mayor,
Iglesia de Santa Agata and
Palacio del Archivo de la Corona de Aragón,
close to it the
and the medieval palaces of Casa dels Canonges, Pia Almoina
This boulevard of a length of about 2 kilometers, between Plaza de
Catalunya and the port, shows what is perhaps the quintessence of
Barcelona. You will find here people of any age and social class, shoe shine
boys, small stands selling flowers and vegetables, street-theaters, big
business-galleries, cafeterias, terraces as well as some of the great
theaters of the city. Specially interesting buildings are: the Academia
de Sciencias (Academy of Science), with its giant watch from 1868, the
gothic-baroque church de Betlem, and the Palacio de Moya with
its beautiful halls and extraordinary wall-paintings. It is used frequently
The Mercado de La Boquería is the most important and most visited
market of Barcelona, while "Pla de la Boqueria" was the old center of
town. In Palacio de la Virreina, today seat of the culture department
of the regional government, frequently you can see expositions of art.
Impressive is Casa Bruno Cuadros with its dragon at the front. You
arrive to Plaça Reial, a beautiful square with arcades, palms,
fountains and luxurious shops. Here lived in former times the bourgeoisie,
but today it is the heart of an artists district and offers charming
ambience with its pubs and typical bars. Sundays you may visit here a market
for coins and stamps.
located at the end of Las Ramblas, is dominated by the tower of
Colón, from the top of which you have a fantastic view over Barcelona
and the great boulevard Paseo de Colón.
center of Barcelona, built between 1870 and 1936, was planned by architect
Cerdá, who wanted to create an luxurious district for the bourgeoisie
and enlarged the city to five times its original size. All the streets here
cross rectangularily, an unusual thing in European town planning. The best
known monuments in El Ensanche are the
works of Antoní Gaudí,
as the great cathedral
together with Casa de los Punxes and Casa Amatler de Puig i
Cadalfach, all of them masterworks of modernistic style. The central
square is Plaza de Catalunya, of dimensions comparable to those of
the Vatican in Rome, which stands symbolic for Barcelona's mentality of
constant innovation and change. Regularly this square is modified, for the
last time up to now in 1986. Then there are the Paseig de Gràcia, a
wide boulevard with curious benches and banana plants, and La Diagonal,
another boulevard that crosses all this district.
The mountain of
Montjuic was the scenery of the World Exposition of 1929, for which was
built the Pueblo Español. The buildings there represent all the
architectonic styles typical for Spain.
In 1992 the Olympic Games
here. On top of the mountain, surrounded by beautiful parks, there is a
fortress of 17th century.
arrive to the top of this mountain by the only tramway that still exists in
Barcelona, and find there one of the most famous and spectacular amusement-parks
Parc de la Ciutadella
Here took place the World Exposition of 1868. Inside the park there are the
Parliament of Catalunya, the statue of the "Lady with the Umbrella",
various museums and the zoological garden.
The Barcelona of Antoní
Antoni Gaudi was one of the most important
modernist style architects worldwide. Many of his most extraordinary works
are to be found in Barcelona.
- Finca Güell
- (1884-1887), "Av. de Pedralbes 77"
Through a narrow portal the visitor enters a fantastic world of forms and
colors, which the genial architect created for his friend and sponsor,
industrialist Eusebi Güell.
- The portal of
- "Passeig Manuel Girona"
Only a small work for another friend of his, in an interesting contrast to
"Casa Calvet", which was made during the same period of time.
- (1900-1909), "C. Bellesguard"
Landmark of Catalonia. This gothic building, formerly summer-residence of
king Martí I., was modified by Gaudí in genial harmony with the original.
- (1888-1889) , "Ganduxer, 87"
When he built this school, Gaudí evidently was inspired by gothic style
and created a masterpiece of simple and clear lines.
- Casa Vincens
- (1883-1888) , "Carrer de les Carolines
Gaudí's first architectonic work, and a milestone in his carreer. The
building reminds to a palace of an Arabian prince, but was made for the
owner of a tile factory - material of which Gaudí made ample use.
- Casa Mila
- (1906-1910) , "Passeig de Gràcia 92"
The irregularly curved walls of this building remind of dunes in the
desert. When it was made, this building was too futurist for most people,
and gained the nickname La Pedrera, "the quarry". Today it is
considered a landmark work of modern architecture.
- Casa Batllo
- (1904-1906) , "Passeig de Gracia 43"
Another futurist work, with no single straight line at its front. Even the
walls are curved and seem to be covered by leather.
- Casa Calvet
- (1898-1900) , "Carrer de Casp"
Perhaps the most traditional work of this master of extravagance. That
might be the reason why Gaudí received for this building his one and only
honorable mention by the city of Barcelona.
- Palau Güell
- (1886-1889) , "Carrer Nou de la Rambla
Another work for Eusebi Güell. With its cupola, stairways and impressive
windows it seems of giant dimensions, but its base is of only 18 x 12
- Sagrada Familia
- (1883-1926) , "Plaça de la Sagrada
This great cathedral, inspired by gothic style yet a landmark of modern
architecture, is in reality not much more than a facade. Gaudí
died before he could finish his biggest and most beloved project, with
galleries that should have room for 1500 singers, 700 children and 5
Will the city of Barcelona ever complete this monumental work?
- Parc Güell
- (1900-1914) , "Carrer d'Olot"
A fascinating scenario of gardens and overdimensional architectonic forms
which seem to be born by the ground. Gaudí created an equilibry that
usually only exists in nature, but never in architecture.
- Crypta Colonia Güell
- This small chapel, wonderfully integrated
in the landscape, may be visited at some 15 km from the city.
In the region of the Vallés there are
Cugat with its monastery of 11th
century and the university of Bellaterra, and
Terrasa with some interesting churches: the
Romanesque church of Sant Pere with remains of 6th
century in its interior, and the one of Sant Miquel with its
extraordinary baptistery. The textile museum of Biosca, in the
center of this area traditionally dominated by textile industry, reminds of
the "industrial revolution". Sabadell offers
an interesting paleontological museum and the monastery of Mare de Déu
de la Salut.
In Badalona visit the monastery of
Sant Jeroni de la Murtra and the Roman settlement of second century
before Christ. There are more Roman ruins in Mataró,
a blooming industrial town with beautiful medieval center. A very
picturesque village is Arenys de Mar. The name,
read reverse: Syrena, siren, points to the mythic mermaids.
Away from the sea, you arrive to the mountain ranges of Montseny,
Montnegre and, specially remarkable, Montserrat,
the mythic "Holy Mountain", with its Romanesque Monastery de la
Verge de Montserrat, famous place of pilgrimage.
Beautiful Sitges, with freshly whitewashed
houses and wide beach, is one of the most traditional and beloved holiday
places along all the Mediterranean coast. See as well the museum of Cau
Ferrat, with a valuable collection of objects of metal, glass and
paintings of the epoch of Modernism, and Palacio Maricel, home of a
More places to visit from Barcelona are the Casino of
Sant Pere de Ribes, the vineyards of Penedés
with a wine-museum in Vilafranca and the
home of the "Cava", the famous Spanish sparkling wine,
Sant Sadurní d'Anoia.