Barcelona is the most cosmopolitan and economically active city in Spain, and has always managed to stay ahead or abreast of the latest international trends. This is evident in the architecture, which so accurately reflects the zest for life of this city of vivid colors and boundless energy.
Barcelona is stretched out on a plain next to the Mediterranean sea in the very north of the Spanish coast, bordering France, between the rivers Llobregat and Besos and between two mountains, Collserola and Montjuïc.The result is scenic beauty beyond measure.
Barcelona is steeped in history, as witnessed by the grandeur of its architectural treasures from the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods. During the last century, Antoní Gaudí, led his contemporaries in adding new and exciting strokes to the pallatte as Modernist themes were blended with those of the past. Modernism is characterized by the predominance of curves over straight lines, the richness and detail of decoration, the frequent use of floral motifs, the taste for asymmetry, the use of a refined aestheticism and the dynamism of forms. Checking this list against any building designed or built by Gaudí will have the viewer nodding vigorously in agreement!
Barcelona is a progressive, commercially sophisticated, upper middle class European city, while at the same time being traditionalist and typically Mediterranean. This dichotomy between tradition and progress is a characteristic of the city and of its nearly two million inhabitants. In preparation for the 1992 Olympics 250 acres were cleared along the commercial waterfront, and a total transformation took place. The result was a spectacular five mile long beach and promenade that are now enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. As usual, this ultimate designer city, again reinvented itself.
Wherever you stay in Barcelona, the excellent public transportation system gives easy access to the entire city. A visitor might choose to stay in the old town near the bustling boulevard known as La Rambla within walking distance of centuries old, architecturally splendid buildings. Another choice would be the spacious Eixample district with its wealth of shopping opportunities and fine restaurants. Whatever the choice, Barcelonians will be delighted to have you sharing the beauty of their city.
English is not widely spoken and all signs are in Catalan and also in Spanish. However, there are many guided tours of the city and its sights that are available with English speaking guides. Barcelona has over 50 museums and galleries, many parks and a wide selection of waterfront noteworthy attractions. Modern art lovers shouldn’t miss the Contemporary Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum. Barcelona hosts some of the world’s greatest classical musicians including Montserrat Caballé and José Carreras. Many contemporary theater and dance companies perform year round. Modern music fans will enjoy the rock, jazz and salsa clubs. The tradition of dance halls also lives on in Barcelona.
Sports enthusiasts will find plenty of action in Barcelona. Sea fishing, hiking, water sports golf and cycling are some of the favorite forms of recreation. Soccer is the national sport and is almost elevated to a religion in Barcelona. Basketball, hockey and handball are also popular team sports that fill the local arenas.
Catalonia is a society, with deep-rooted relationships, in which great importance is given to the family. Children are loved and welcomed. When traveling with children, visitors may prefer a slower pace. One way to spend a relaxing and refreshing family day is to visit The Parc de la Ciutadella which is located near the Old Town and the waterfront. It has shade trees, acres of lawn, a boating lake and Spain’s best zoo with over 7,000 animals. Beautiful beaches are within easy reach, and Barcelona also has many fine swimming pools. The weather is mild and sunny most of the year. Gaudí’s fairy tale-like buildings, the 200 foot statue of Christopher Columbus pointing out to sea, much of what makes Barcelona so appealing to adults is also inherently appealing to children.
In the shopping districts, the windows display the latest fashions for the very slim, but extravagently delicious culinary delights are everywhere. Hundreds of restaurants and cafés in every price range are conveniently located in all parts of the city and surrounding area. Crafts, antiques, ceramics, art objects, fashions, books: there is no limit to the wide array of offerings at the shops, markets, and stalls throughout the city.
Festivals and carnivals brighten every season. There is always something to celebrate in Barcelona from the grape harvest in the Fall to the Feast of Santa Eulalia in the winter and the marvelous Terrassa Jazz Festival in the Spring, followed by the summer arts festival and many more.
There is no question that Barcelona seems to have discovered the secret to eternal youth!
B- City information:
1,505,581 in the city and a total of over 4,000,000 in city and suburbs.
On the plain the elevation is only about 12 feet, but the city’s highest point, in the Collserola Hills at Tibidabo Amusement Park, is 1,680 feet above sea level.
Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour: Time in Lisbon is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York. (7 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.) Barcelona uses the 24 hour clock, so the numeral 1 on a US watch would be read as 1in the early morning or 13 in the afternoon, etc. Transportation timetables and schedules will use this method of representation of time. (designations of am and pm are unnecessary)
International Dialing Code:
All numbers for Barcelona begin with 93 and have 7 additional digits. The country code is 34. (use the country code only when calling Barcelona from another country).
Phone booths take coins. Some take credit cards and phone cards.
To call the US from Barcelona using your telephone calling card, please check with your card issuer as each company has its own codes.
General: 112 police: 346 61 41;
Tourist Police 93 301 9060
Lost Property 93 402 3161
Directory Assistance/Operator: 1003
Accessing email and the internet:
El Cafe de Internet Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 656 Tel.(+343) 4121915 / or 93 302 1154
Throughout Spain the medium of currency is the euro. The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent. The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks and stores. As in the U.S., some banks charge a fee and a transaction tax, so check with the banks to find the best value.
Telephone Tourist information in New York City (212) 265-8822 for information.
Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):
January – March 59 41
April – June 75 50
July – September 82 66
October – December 70 46
Winter evenings in Barcelona can be chilly. From mid April through mid June and from September through mid October, the weather is mild and pleasant. August often becomes so hot and humid that many businesses close for vacations. Rainfall is moderate throughout the year.
Equivalent Weights and Measures
1 cm – 0.39 inches
1 meter – 3.28 feet / 1.09 yards
1 km – 0.62 miles
1 liter – 0.26 gallons
1 inch – 2.54 cm
1 foot – 0.39 meters
1 yard – 0.91 meters
1 mile – 1.60 km
1 gallon – 3.78 liters
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day
January 6 Feast of the Epiphany (Els Reis)
March 19 Feast of St. Joseph
Good Friday (date varies – March or April)
Easter Monday (date varies – March or April)
June 24 Feast of St. Joan
June Midsummer’s Eve
August 15 Feast of the Assumption
September 11 La Diada: Catalan National Day
September 24 La Mercé Festival
October 12 Hispanitat: Spanish National Day
November 1 All Saints’ Day
December 6 Constitution Day
December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 St. Stephen’s Day
Roman Catholic: tel. 93 204 4962 (at Paroisse Françoise (Mass in French and English)
tel. 93 417 8867 (St. George’s Church)
tel. 93 200 6148 (Sinogoga de la Communidad)
Public restrooms are difficult to find in most places. It is best to ask for els serveis (Catalan) or los aseos (Spanish) in a café, hotel or department store and be directed to the employee rest rooms. Always carry toilet tissue, as that is usually not provided.
Many people in Spain smoke and very few restaurants have no smoking areas or tables.
The electrical current in Spain is 220 volts, 50 cycle AC, and outlets have openings for two round pins. Some older buildings still have 125v systems, but plugs look the same for either system. The difference is that appliances such as heaters which require higher voltage should not be plugged into the 125v system. American appliances will need a plug adapter and will require a three tier standard travel converter if they do not have a dual voltage capability.
Visitors with disabilities:
Spain is attempting to accommodate the needs of travelers with disabilities, but so far progress has been slow. Telephone Federació at 93 451 5550 for additional information.
Spain’s postal service is called Correos. it is quite slow, but express (urgente) mail is available. Stamps can be purchased from tobacconists (estanc) Main Correos are open from 8-9 Mon.-Fri. and 9-7 on Saturday. In Catalan addresses, the street name is written first, followed by the number. Zip codes have 5 digits.
How to get around:
Barcelona has an excellent bus and Metro system. A map of the city and transportation systems is essential for ease of travel.
There are 5 color coded metro lines which are also numbered 1-5. Tickets are inexpensive. The best value is a T-1 card which gives 10 rides for the price of 5 1/2 and can be used on all forms of public transport (bus, Metro, and FGC lines)
Service is efficient and regular.
Estacío de Sants is the city’s main train station, for national and some international arrivals. The Estació de França (or Estació Terminal), next to the Parc de la Ciutadella, is the terminal for long-distance Spanish and European express and inter-city trains.
FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Cataluña) travels into the hill country and around the city.
Ferries Tickets for Balearic ferries from Transmediterránea, at the Estacío Maritima tel. 93 443 2532. Book in advance in July and August.
Black and yellow Barcelona taxis are metered and fares are reasonably priced. Luggage is extra. A small tip is appreciated.
The airport, 12km southwest of the city, is linked by a half-hourly train service. Many trains from the airport also run on to Plaça de Catalunya, a more direct way of reaching the Barri Gòtic. Alternatively, there’s the efficient Airbus (Aerobus; Mon-Fri every 15min, Sat-Sun every half-hour; 6/6.30-11; 450ptas), which departs from outside the terminals on a circular route and runs into the centre via Plaça España, Gran Vía, Plaça de Catalunya and Passeig de Grácia.
Traffic drives on the right side of the road in Spain. Driving in the city center is not advised. There are approximately 400,000 parking spaces for the daily infusion of 600,000 cars. The public transportation system is excellent and a car is not necessary.
C- Attractions / Things To Do:
Barrio Gótico (Old Town)
Metro lines 1,3 and 4 Jaume I Station is in the heart of the district The Gothic Quarter is one of the oldest and most interesting parts of Barcelona. The square of Sant Jaume was the site of the Forum in the days of the Roman Empire, and there are many remnants of old fortification walls still standing. Also.located in the square are the Palacio de la Generalitat and Palacio del Ayuntiento (Townhall).
In Calle Paradis, on top of the mountain Táber, there is old millstone. Iberian tribes lived here long before the time of the Roman empire. At Plaza del Rei can be found the Palacio Real Mayor, Iglesia de Santa Agata and Palacio del Archivo de la Corona de Aragón. The Gothic cathedral and the medieval palaces of Casa dels Canonges, Pia Almoina and Ardiaca are close by.
Casa de l’ Ardiaca
Carrer de Santa Llúcia 1
93 318 1195
Metro Jaume 1
Standing beside what was the Bishop’s gate in the Roman wall is the Archdeacon’s house. It was built in the 12th century, but its present form dates from around 1500 when it was remodeled and a colonnade added. In 1870 this was extended by the addition of a Gothic patio around the fountain. A Modernista architect, Domenech I Monrtaner added a fanciful marble mailbox, carved with three swallows and a tortoise which stands beside the Renaissance portal. The city archives are housed upstairs.
Cathedral de Barcelona
Plaça de la Seu
93 315 1554
Built between 1298 and 1450, the cathedral is an excellent example of Catalonian Gothic architecture. It was begun in 1298 under Jaume II on the foundations of a Roman temple and a Moorish mosque.Its large bell towers blend medieval and Renaissance styles. Beautiful cloisters, the high altar, the side chapels, the sculptured choir and Gothic arches are among the features that make this one of the most impressive cathedrals in Europe. A garden of magnolias is surrounded by vaulted galleries in the cloisters. The cloister is illuminated on Sundays and feast days and contains a museum displaying medieval art. Among the works displayed is Bartolomé Bermejo’s La Pietat. A plaque near the baptismal font records the baptism of six native Americans of the Carribean brought to Spain by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Every Sunday noon passersby join in dancing the sardana, a Catalonian folk dance, in front of the cathedral.
Frederic Mares Museum
Plaça Sant Iu 5
93 310 5800
Daily except Mondays from 10 – 5
Sundays and Public Holidays from 9 – 2
The sculptor Frederic Mares I Deulovol (1893-1991) was a traveler and collector. This building is part of the Royal Palace complex and was occupied by 13th century bishops, 14th century counts, 15th century judges and 16th century nuns. Mares had a small apartment in the building and opened the museum in 1948. It is a fasscinating place and boasts a fine collection of Romanesque and Gothic religious art. Exhibits range from clocks, crucifixes and costumes to antique cameras, pipes, tobacco jars and postcards. There is also a room full of antique children’s toys.
Museum of the History of the City of Barcelona
Casa Calriana Padellas. Plaça del Rei.
93 315 11 11
July, August and September 10 – 8 Sun 10 – 2 p.m. Rest of the year 10 – 2 and 4 – 8 Sundays and Holidays 10 – 2 . Closed on Mondays all year.
The museum occupies a Gothic building that in 1931 was brought stone by stone from its original location in Carrer dels Mercaders. During the excavation at this site, the remains of Roman water and drainage systems, baths, mosaic floors, and a road were found. The basement now contains these treasures of some of the ancient construction of Roman Barcelona. The three other floors have exhibits relating to local history and post Roman development..). There are many documents, prints, paintings, sculptures and ceramics.
Palau Reial Major (Royal Palace)
Plaça del Rei
93 315 1111
Originally the palace of the counts of Barcelona, this later became the residence of the kings of Aragón. During the Inquisition, the accused were tried in this square.
Of particular interest are the Salon de Tinell, a 14th century banquet hall with a wood paneled ceiling, the Mirador del Rei Martí containing a gothic chapel of 14th century design and the ceremonial hall of the counts of Barcelona, where Christopher Columbus is said to have been received by the king and queen after returning from America.
Palau de la Generalitat (Parliament Building)
Plaçe de Sant Jaume
93 402 4600
Catalonia’s parliament building constructed in gothic and renaissance styles, has a superbly designed chapel and stone staircase that rises to an open air, arcaded gallery.
Palau del Ayuntiento (Townhall)
The facade is of neoclassic, the inner court of gothic style.
The Palau de la Música Catalana
At the corner of Carrer adeu Vives stands this fascinating building: the work of the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a follower of Gaudí. The Palau de la Música dates from 1908, and its interior is the most typical of the modernist style. Polychrome materials (tiled mosaics, stained glass); floral themes and the figures with the body in mosaic and the bust in relief were created by Eusebi Arnau. To the left of the stage there is a willow tree in stone, sculpted by Pau Gargallo, evoking Catalan folk song in the person of Anselm Clavé and the girls of the song Les Flors de Maig. The right-hand side depicts international music, with the bust of Beethoven and the ride of Wagner’s Valkyries. The Palau de la Música was created as the home and the concert hall of the Orfeó Català, a great choral society founded a few years earlier by the composer Lluís Millet. It should be noted here that the Orfeó Català has had great importance in the development of Catalan popular music.
This boulevard is about 1 1/2 miles in length and is situated between Plaza de Catalunya and the port in the Barrio Gótico section of Barcelona. It is the main artery of Barcelona’s street system. People of every age and social class can be found here. Shoe shine boys, small stands selling flowers and vegetables, street theater, commercial galleries, cafeterias, terraces as well as some of the great theaters of the city.
Palace of La Virreina La Rambla, 99.
93 301 7775.
Monday to Friday from 9:30- 2 by prior arrangement.
Pasaje de la Banca, 7 (at the end of La Rambla)
93 317 2649
Contains a collection of wax figures representing famous people from the world of the arts, science, history, etc.
The Mercado de La Boquería
This is the most important and most visited market of Barcelona, while Pla de la Boqueriawas 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 cafés. Sundays are a popular market day for coin and stamp collectors.
Museum of Geology
La Ciutadella Park. Passeig Tillers.
93 319 6895.
daily except Mondays from 10-2.
This is Barcelona’s oldest museum. It was opened in 1882. It has a large collection of fossils and minerals, including specimens from Catalonia and around the country.
Museum of Modern Art
La Ciutadella Park. Plaça de Armas.
93 319 5023
Metro: Arc de Triomf
daily except Mondays 10 -7
Has paintings and sculptures from the end of the 18th century up to the present day. There are paintings by Fortuny, Rusiñol, Casas, Nonell, Regoyos, Zuloaga, Sunyer, Sotomayor and Solana as well as sculptures by Llimona, Gargallo, Hugue, Clara and Rebull. there are also some bold pieces of Modernista furniture acquired from the houses in the Eixample.
Carrer Nou de la Rambla 3-5
Gaudi’s first major building in the center of the city was commissioned by his life long patron, Eusebi Güell in 1889. The mansion stands on a small plot of land in a narrow street. Inside Gaudí created a sense of space by using carved screens, recesses and galleries. Furniture designed by him is also on display. With its cupola, stairways and impressive windows the house seems to be of giant dimensions, but its base is only 40×60 feet.
La Llotja (Commodity Exchange)
Carrer del Consolat de Mar 2
Metro: Jaume I
Built in the 1380’s as the headquarters of a guild of Catalan sea traders, it was remodeled in neo classical style in 1771 and housed the city’s stock exchange until 1994. The upper floor housed the Barcelona School of Fine Arts where the young Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró both studied. The building is now being used as a public library and as local government offices.
Montcada, 15 – 19
Metro: Jaume I
Tuesday – Saturday and Holidays 10 – 8 , Sunday 10 – 3 , Monday closed. The collections are housed in three adjoining medieval palaces on Carrer Montcada.
The works are divided into three sections: paintings and drawings; engravings and ceramics. The most valuable exhibit is the 3,000 piece collection of Picasso’s early drawings and paintings. These show that even at the age of 15 and 16 he was painting major works. Picasso arrived in Barcelona when he was 13. He was admitted to the upper school where all the other pupils were at least 20 years of age.
La Ciutadella Park.
93 319 6912
daily except Mondays from 9 – 2
Built as a restaurant for the 1888 Universal Exhibition and inspired by the Gothic style Llotja (commodities exchange), it has housed the museum since 1937. Exhibition of stuffed animals and interesting zoological study collections.
Thyssen Bornemisza Collection Foundation
Baixda Monestir, 9
93 280 1434
Daily: 10 – 2 . Saturday 10 – 5 . Closed Mondays 71 paintings and 8 sculptures from the most representative areas of the whole collection: Italian and German painting. It takes you on a journey through the history of art from the 13th century to the 18th, with examples of Italian Renaissance, European Baroque, northern European painting and late Venetian Baroque.
Barcelona and the Sea
Located just below the City center on a triangle of land jutting into the sea. Originally this was a district of fishermen, but during the last years this has changed dramatically. The ambience of a maritime village is still present, but young business people have discovered the excellence of the seafood and restaurants have renovated to accommodate the crowd The offerings range from a fashionable harbor-tavern to moderately priced and more expensive restaurants and cafés.
Located in the medieval Reales Atarazanas (Royal Arsenals). Av. Drassanes. 93 318 3245.
Open daily except Mondays from 10-7.
Contains objects and documents relating to the history of navigation, as well as the Llibre del Consolat de Mar (the oldest legislative book on maritime law in existence). The Cartography and Scale Model sections are of particular interest.
Nao de Santa Maria del Mar
An accurate replica of Columbus’ ship Santa Maria, on which he was sailed to the Americas.
The mountain of Montjuic, rising to 699 feet above the port on the south side of the city is Barcelona’s largest recreation area. The Romans called it Mons Jovis and built a temple to Jupiter there. A Jewish cemetery on the hill probably inspired its name (Mount of the Jews). Until 1640 when the castle was built, there were few buildings due to the lack of water. This trend was reversed in preparation for the World’s Fair of 1929 when a building boom occurred. Huge exhibition halls lined the avenue and the Font Mágica (Magic Fountain) sprang up in the center. The fountain is now illuminated in color. Another building surge took place prior to the 1992 Olympic Games. This has left Barcelona with world class sports facilities. On top of the mountain, surrounded by beautiful parks, there is a 17th century fortress. As in other districts of Barcelona, the old and the new reside together.
Montjuic Park. Paseo de Sta. Madrona.
93 423 2149
9:30 – 1:30 and 3:30 – 7 (except Mondays). Sundays and Public Holidays from 10 -2.
Exhibits from Prehistoric times to the 7th century, with some rooms reserved for interesting artifacts from Balearic cultures. Magnificent collection of Roman mosaics.
Located in the Monumental Bullring
Open during the bullfighting season from 10:30 – 2 and 4 to 7.
On bullfighting days the museum is open in the morning from 10 – 1 only. It consists of two large rooms and exhibits the branding-irons and emblems of famous stock farms, the heads of famous bulls, a collection of posters from the past, old tickets, the suits of famous bullfighters and rejoneadores (mounted bullfighters), photographs, documents, documents, a library and other objects relating to bullfighting in general.
93 203 4058.
Open daily except Mondays from 9:30-1:30.
Contains a collection of sculptures by Calrá.
Avinguda Santa Madrona Montjuic Park
93 424 6807
Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (24 September to 24 June) Wednesday, Friday Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Contains objects from the American Civilization before Columbus; also artifacts from the Philippines, Asia and Africa.
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri.
93 301 4533.
Open daily except Mondays from 11-2.
Gallery of Famous Catalans
Calle Bisbe Caçador, 3. Requesens Palace
93 315 0010.
Visits by prior arrangement Monday to Friday from 9 – 2
(Telephone for reservation: Museum of the City of Barcelona 315 1111). Contains a collection of portraits of the great figures of Catalan history.
Gaudí House and Museum
Next to the Carretera del Carmel.
93 284 6446.
Open daily except Saturdays.
Located in the house where Gaudi lived. Guëll Park.
Jaume I, 1 (next to the Plaça de Sant Jaume)
93 310 2172.
Monday to Saturday from 10:30-1:30 and 5:30-8:30. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Contains holograms and demonstrates holographic techniques.
Centre of Studies of Contemporary Art.
Located on the hill of Montjuic. Montjuic Park.
93 329 1908.
Open daily except Mondays from 11- 7. Sundays and Public Holidays from 10:30 – 2:30.
This private, cultural foundation was set up by the painter Joan Miró and has exhibition rooms, an auditorium, a library, a prints archive and areas set aside for artistic and other exhibits. There are three courtyards, gardens and upper terraces for outdoor exhibitions, as well as a permanent exhibition of the works of Joan Miró. The white, luminous building was the work of the architect J.L. Sert.
Montjuic Castle Military Museum
Open daily except Mondays from 9:30 – 1:30 and 3:30 – 7:30.
Has a valuable collection of weapons and historical documents.
Museum of Catalan Art
93 423 7199
daily except Mondays 10 – to 7 Thursday 10-9 Sun. 10-2:30
Contains collections of Romanesque and Catalan-Gothic art:; 11th and 12th century murals (perhaps the best collection in the world), altar pieces and carvings. Spanish and European Baroque art are also well represented.
Museum of Funeral Carriages
Sancho de Avila, 2
93 484 1720.
Monday to Friday from 9 – 2. Saturdays and Sundays: Visits by arrangement.
Museum of the History of Medicine
Pasaje Mercader, 11
93 216 0500
Open Monday to Friday from 10-1.
Contains a collection of some 2,500 exhibits showing the evolution of medicine, as well as the personal effects of the great masters of Catalan medicine.
Textile and Costume Museum
93 310 4516
Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 5 Sundays and Holidays 10 – 2 Closed on Mondays. Palace of the Marquis of Llio. Rocora collection. Embroidery section.
93 204 7805.
Open daily except Mondays from 10 -2.
The home of the Catalan poet Jacint Verdaguer.
Buildings designed or enhanced by Gaudí
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
Carrer de les Carolines 18-24
Gaudí’s first architectural work, and a milestone in his career. The building resembles the palace of an Arabian prince, but was made for the owner of a tile factory – material of which Gaudí made ample use.
When he built this school, Gaudí evidently was inspired by gothic style and created a masterpiece of simple and clear lines.
(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 Finca Miralles
Passeig Manuel Girona
Only a small work for another friend of his, in an interesting contrast to Casa Calvet, which was made during the se period of time.
El Ensanche (Eixample) The Expansion
The modern center of Barcelona, built between 1870 and 1936, was planned by civil engineer Ildefons Cerdá I Sunyer (1815-1876), who wanted to create an luxurious district for the bourgeoisie and to enlarge the city to five times its original size. His goal was achieved. All the streets in the area cross rectangularly, an unusual thing in European town planning. The best known monuments in El Ensanche are the works of Antoní Gaudí, e.g. the great cathedral Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Palacio Güell, together with Casa de los Punxes and Casa atler de Puig i Cadalfach, all of them masterworks of modernistic style. The central square is Plaza de Catalunya, whose dimensions are comparable to those of the Vatican in Rome. Regularly this square is modified, most recently in 1986.
Passeig de Gràcia
Along this boulevard, between the streets Consell de Cent and Aragó on the southwestern side, stands the famous city block popularly known as l’illa de la discòrdia , due to the contrast in the architecture of its buildings, all from the first decade of the 20th century. The building at the seaward end of the block is the Lleó Morera mansion, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, built in modernist floral style. This is followed by two buildings of a modernized Louis XV type, by Enric Sagnier, and a neo-Gothic mansion decorated with polychrome tiles, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Next door is the Batlló house , with a mosaic façade and a tiled roof, by Antoni Gaudí. A little farther up the street, on the right-hand side on the corner of Carrer Provença, is the Milà mansion ‘La Pedrera’, designed by Gaudí shortly after the completion of the Batlló house . The uniqueness of La Pedrera is not limited to the sculptural forms of its façade, but also extends to the interior of the building.
The one hundred city blocks centering on the Paseig de Gràcia,are known as the Quadrat d’Or (Golden Square) as they contain so many of the buildings constructed in the best Modernista style. Stained glass, ceramics and ornamental ironwork abound. The area is a showcase of highly original buildings and smart shops.
Sagrada Familia (The Temple of the Holy Family)
Plaça de la Sagrada Filia
Situated to one side of the Plaça de la Sagrada Fília, between the streets Marina, Provença, Sardenya and Mallorca, stands the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, which was initially a neo-Gothic project designed by the architect Francesc de Paula del Villar. Gaudí was commissioned to continue the work in 1891, and replaced the existing project with a much more ambitious one which resulted in the enormous present-day structure.
Sagrada Familia was designed to convey religious symbolism. It has three monumental facades: the east front, dedicated to the Birth of Christ; the west front, dedicated to the Passion and Death; and the south front, the facade of the Glorification, which is the largest of all. The four towers of each of the three facades jointly symbolize the twelve apostles. The dome shaped tower which crowns the apse is the symbol of the Mother of God, and the four large towers dedicated to the evangelists encircle the central spire, which symbolizes the Savior.
This great cathedral, inspired by the Gothic style, yet a landmark of modern architecture, is in reality not much more than a facade. Gaudí died unexpectedly before he could finish his grandest and most beloved project. Gaudi had sold everything he owned to contribute to the cathedral’s construction and lived as a pauper in a shack on the site while he oversaw the building process. The plans for its completion were locked in his head when he was run over by a tram in 1926. There should be galleries with space for 1500 singers, 700 children and 5 organs and the magnificent structure should be filled with hymns of praise. Instead, the project lies dormant. The question is whether it will ever be finished.
Hospital de la Santa Creu I de Sant Pau
Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret 167
93 291 9000
Grounds open daily. Call to see interior.
Hospital of 15th and 16th century, together with a church of 15th century and an archive building. Luis Domenech Montaner believed that patients would recover more rapidly in a beautiful setting. Thus, he envisioned a hospital with 26 attractive pavilions set in large gardens. He hoped to get patients out of wards and into the out of doors where there were fresh air and trees. The pavilions were decorated lavishly in bright colors to cheer those who were ill. The turreted roofs were tiled with ceramics and the reception pavilion embellished with mosaic murals and sculptures. After his death, the project was completed by his son, Pere.
Passeig de Gracia, 39
93 216 0146.
Open Monday to Friday from 10:30 -1:30 and 4:30 to 8. Closed on Saturdays afternoon, Sundays and Public Holidays.
Contains a valuable collection of scent bottles and cosmetics jars dating from antiquity to the present day.
Museum of Music
Avinguda Diagonal 373
93 416 1157.
daily except Mondays from 9-2. Wednesday 5 – 8
Contains string and wind instruments, manuscripts and personal effects of the great musicians.
Attractions in the Area Just Outside the City Center
Note: Much of this area was developed in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Sants, the city’s main station was rebuilt and the neighboring Parc de l”Espanya Industrial and Parc Joan Miró were created containing futuristic sculpture and architecture. Close to the Poblenou the city has a national theter and concert hall. In the west the streets climb steeply toward the Royal Palace and Monastery of Pedralbes and Parc Güell. Tibidabo, the highest point in Barcelona has an amusement park and is reached by funicular.
Museum of Barcelona Football (Soccer) Club
Avinguda Aristides Maillol. (Stadium).
93 330 9411
Open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10-1 and 3-6. Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from 10-2 (closed on match days).
April to October: Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Holy days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed on Sundays.
Explains the club’s history and displays its trophies. Special video shown on five screens. Includes visit to the presidential box.
Museum of the Monastery of Pedralbes
At the end of the Paseo de Reina Elisenda
Baixda Monestir 9
93 203 9282
Open Tuesday – Friday and Sunday 10 – 2 Saturday 10 – 5 Closed on Mondays. This building, which is of great architectural value, contains personal property which shows the history of the monastery.
Museum of the Arts, Industry and Popular Traditions
93 423 6954. Call for times.
The streets and roads built for the 1929 World Exhibition give a glimpse of the country’s many architectural styles. Reproductions range from the gleaming white houses of Andalucia to the flat granite facades of Galicia, all blended to form one “village.” The buildings house restaurants, cafés, and workshops where crafts and artifacts from all over Spain are displayed. In the evenings dinner is served accompanied by live music and flamenco dancing.
The Palau de la Música Catalana
At the corner of Carrer adeu Vives stands this building, the work of the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a follower of Gaudí. The Palau de la Música dates from 1908, and its interior is the most important testimony of the modernist style. Here we find polychrome materials (tiled mosaics, stained glass); the floral themes and the figures with the body in mosaic and the bust in relief are by Eusebi Arnau. To the left of the stage there is a willow tree in stone, sculpted by Pau Gargallo, evoking Catalan folk song in the person of Anselm Clavé and the girls of the song Les Flors de Maig. The right-hand side evokes international music, with the bust of Beethoven and the ride of Wagner’s Valkyries. The Palau de la Música was created as the home and the concert hall of the Orfeó Català, a great choral society founded a few years earlier by the composer Lluís Millet. It should be noted here that the Orfeó Català has had great importance in the revaluation of Catalan popular music.
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. The Parc Güell.
The Parc Güell is situated on the Carmel hill, which, along with that of La Creueta and the Muntanya Pelada, separates the district of Gràcia from that of Horta. The financier Eusebi Güell decided to construct a garden city on the old estate of Can Montaner, and commissioned the project to Gaudí. Only two houses came to be built within the enclosure of the Park, which was conserved as such and which is now a municipal garden. The whole of the urban development part was realized between the years 1900 and 1914.
Teodor Roviralta, 55
93 212 6050.
10 – 8 (except Mondays).
Planetarium shows. Weekdays at 1 and 6. Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays every 30 minutes (Children under 4 not admitted to planetarium shows)). Scientific film shows. Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays in the morning and the afternoon.
Palace of Pedralbes.
93 280 1621
daily except Mondays from 10 – 5
Fine collection of Spanish and Foreign ceramics
Museum of Ceric
Palacio de Pedralbes
Tuesday to Sunday 10 to 2 , Monday closed.
Museum of Decorative Arts
Av. Diagonal, 686
Tuesday to Sunday 10 to 2 , Monday closed.
Outrageous collection of tapestry and other objects of art.
Visitors arrive at the top of this mountain by the only tramway that still exists in Barc
D- Family Fun Attractions:
Children’s attractions are concentrated around Montjuïc, Tibidabo and the Port Vell, and reaching them is part of the fun! Among the transportation choices are: funiculars, trams, cable cars and golondrines (swallow boats), as well as the open-top Bus Turístic.
The Poble Espanyol
The Poble Espanyol is popular with children, with a resident glass-blower, arts and crafts demonstrations and magic and circus shows most summer weekends. On a rainy day a good, though expensive, standby can be the IMAX giant-format cinema on premises.
L’Aquàrium de Barcelona
Open Sept-August. Admission charged. One of the most attractive of its kind, the aquarium reproduces Mediterranean habitats in 21 tanks. The highlight is the 80 meter glass tunnel through a shark tank, allowing the visitor to walk through with scary sharks’ teeth inches from the face. Little ones may prefer the upstairs area which features a touching pool.
This is on the order of a video arcade similar to those found in shopping Malls in the US. Floors of video games and high-tech simulation games all wait to receive the visitor’s coins!
Nits hípiques a Barcelona (Horse shows)
Performances late June-Sept. Tickets tourist offices & Tel-entrada Admission charged.
Every Friday during summer the city police’s ornately-uniformed display team presents an exhibition of dressage on their Andalusian horses, which strut their fancy footwork to music.
Make a day of it by catching the Trvia Blau up the hill to the Funicular, which takes you through the woods to the top of the mountain and the funfair. Few amusement parks can compete with this spectacular mountaintop view. The park has bumper cars, Ferris wheel, as well as the infamous house of horrors, Hotel Krueger.
Museu d’Automates, a collection of old fairground machines. If you still have some energy at the end of the afternoon, consider a walk through the beautiful woods to the tram stop on the well marked path.
Catalunya en Miniatura
Apparently the largest model village in Europe, with over 170 miniatures of Catalonian monuments and buildings, and a mini train to take you around.
Zoo de Barcelona
Parc de la Ciutadella
93 225 67 80
Admission charged. Children enjoy the green, shady picnic areas, meeting the animals, watching the regular shows at the Dolphinarium, petting the animals in the farm area, and the chance to meet Copito de Nieve (Snowflake), the only albino gorilla in captivity.
An all-in-one water and safari park between Barcelona and Tarragona, with tigers, birds of prey and parrots as well as giant water slides, fun pools and wave machines. Captive dolphins too.
Parc de Cervantes
On the very edge of the city, this is one of Barcelona’s most beautiful parks. The grass is always green, and it has a children’s play area, a picnic site and lovely shaded lawns for relief from the heat of the afternoon.
E- Events & Entertainment:
In January the main celebration is the arrival of the Three Kings from the Orient on the 5th accompanied by a parade, and on the 6th when both children and adults receive toys and gifts.
Santa Eulalia January 12. the feast of the patron saint of Barcelona is celebrated in the old town. There is dancing and many people dress up as giants.
The Carnivals, held in February, are becoming more and more popular ( after having been forbidden during the years of the Franco dictatorship), and St. Valentines Day (February 14th) is also increasing in its popularity.
1st Sunday in Lent is the date of the Internacional de Cotxes d’ Epocha, a veteran car rally that runs from Barcelona to Sitges.
On March 3rd the popular festival of Sant Medir is held in Grácia. There is a parade and singing by choirs. Holy Week begins with the palm fair which is held on Palm Sunday. It continues with the accompanying religious festivities and ends on Easter Monday ( the celebration of which is pagan in origin).
Throughout March there is the Terrassa Jazz Festival when musicians gather in Barcelona from all over the world. Free outdoor concerts are given on weekends.
The most spectacular festival is held on April 23rd. This is the celebration in honor of Sant Jordi (St. George), the patron saint of Catalonia. It coincides with the rose and book festivals.
In May a flower show is held, and on the 11th there is the festival of Sant Ponç held in El Hospital street by the city’s herbalists.
A book Fair is held in the Passeig de Gracia in June and during the same month there is a Trade Exhibition in Montjuic. The Corpus Christi celebrations with processions of giants and cabezudos, and the l´Ou com Balla (the dancing egg) take place in the fountain at the Cathedral cloister.
The most popular celebration during the month of June is the Eve of Sant Joan (St. John). This is celebrated both in private homes and in public places, and there is dancing bonfires in some streets and squares and fireworks.
The Eve of Sant Pere (St. Peter), on June 28th, brings with it festivities associated with the arrival of the summer solstice.
From the end of June onwards, the Festival of el Grec begins. This consists of a series of theatrical performances as well as dancing, concerts, and other cultural events. These take place either at the Greek Theatre in Montjuic, in the open air, as well as in other locations in the city. There are also many sports tournaments and competitions and several trade fairs at the Exhibition Center.
July 24th marks the Feast of Sant Jaume (St. James) and is celebrated in much the same way as the Eves of St. Joan and Sant Pere.
The Feast of the Assumption (August 15th), is another popular festival which is held in the district of Gracia.
The last great summer celebration is that of the Onze de Setembre (September 11th). This is a national holiday in Catalonia when various official and political ceremonies are held.
However, there are many more celebrations throughout the year in the city and in its different districts. Every district has a Saint’s Day which it celebrates with a festival.
The popular festival of La Mercé, the patron saint of Barcelona, take place around September 24th when there are folk dances such as the sardanas, parades through the streets, important sporting events (e.g. sailing, regattas, judo, swimming, walking races), religious celebrations, etc. Other events held in conjunction with the festival are fashion shows, food tasting and wine sampling.
In October a Second-Hand Book Fair is held in the Passeig de Gracia and there is also a Music Festival, the Autumn Fair in El Tinell and several other fairs at the Trade Exhibition Center.
In November All Hallows Day is celebrated on the 1st and All Souls Day on the 2nd. This is the time when special cakes, known locally as panellets are baked and eaten.
At the time of Santa Llucias Days (December 13th) the crib fair begins in the vicinity of the Cathedral, and continues until Christmas. The opera season opens at El Liceu and the the concert season at the Palace of Music (Palau de la Musica).
Christmas is traditionally celebrated at home with the family and with the newly revived custom of fer cagar el tio (this consists of putting an object similar to a tree trunk into the fire from which presents then burst out). Christmas dinner includes escudella turkey, and torrons (a kind of nougat dessert).
The start of the New Year is celebrated in bars, restaurants, and in the street where people wear the fancy dress usually seen at street carnivals. As the clock strikes twelve they eat twelve grapes in time with each chime, a custom which is said to bring good luck if done properly!