Barcelona

After a while, dawn tinged the sky with amber, and Barcelona woke up. We heard the distant bells from the basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, just emerging from the mist on the other side of the harbour.’

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

DESCRIPTION

Capital of Spain from 1937 to 1939, Barcelona is the second most populous city on Spain. It is still up to this day capital of Catalonia. Barcelona is home of 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Parc Güell, Palau Güell, Casa Milà (aka La Pedrera), Casa Vicens , La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, the Cryst of the Church at Colonia Güell -these 7 were Gaudi’s makings, the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Hospital de Sant Pau – designed by architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner.

ACCESS

Main airport: Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport

Main railway stations: 

  • Barcelona-Sants railway station
  • França railway station

Public transportation is extremely recommended in Barcelona. This is due to most areas of the city being Low Emission zones and driving and parking being restricted. The public transportation system has a travel card (Hola Barcelona), that can be used for unlimited trips on the metro, bus, tram, and train for 2 to 5 days and ranges from 16,40 € to 38,20 €.

Train and metro usually run from 5:00 to 24:00 and Fridays until 2:00.

HISTORY

The city of Barcelona owes its name to the family of the Carthaginian leader Hamilcar Barca. It is said to be traditioned and founded by either the Phoenicians or the Carthaginians who used to trade posts along the Catalonian coast in the III Century BC. Later in AD 715, was captured by the Moors, but taken by the Franks in 801. From 1808-to 1813, Napoleon and the French troops took over Barcelona, and ironically during this period, the textile industry saw a numeric growth. In the following years, the city saw a growth in population, industries, and semi-autonomy. Nowadays Barcelona is mostly known for its architectural style and its sports teams.

WALKING LECTURES

Casa Batllo (43 Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona, 08007, Spain)

Well-known for its dragon back design, Casa Batllo is one of Antoni Gaudi’s most classic buildings. Also known by the locals as the “House of Bones”, this house was originally built in 1877 and purchased by the Batllo family in 1900. In 1904, Gaudi was selected to redesign the facade and interior of this structure. Some people confess that walking the halls is like “walking through the soft organs of some immense creature”. This place is still open as a museum dedicated to architecture.

Sagrada Familia (401 Carrer de la Marina, Barcelona, 08013, Spain)

On 07 June 1926, Gaudi was hit by a tram as he crossed the Gran Via. The Sagrada Familia is scheduled to be completed in 2016, on the centenary of his death. 

The façade is divided into three portals. They represent the three theological virtues. Hope on the left, Charity in the center, and Faith on the right. They are separated by three large columns in the shape of palm trees. The trees are supported by a turtle (sea) and a tortoise (land)- symbols of the inalterable nature of time.

The sculptures are all portraits of people from the neighborhood. Even the animals. The mule is based on one Gaudi bought himself. The donkey’s name was Margarita.

The sculptors were Carlos Mani and Llorenc and Joan Matamala (father and son).

The choir of angels and angels playing instruments are replacements made by Japanese artist Etsuro Sotoo.

Only the lower level was intended to have light. In the upper portion, Gaudi said that the sun would take care of things.

18 spires. 12 for the apostles. and 4 for the Evangelists. Then one for Jesus. One for Mary. The four spires over each doorway represent the Catalan flag. Although it resembles ceramic, it is made out of Murano glass.

Gaudi aims to make the church a type of natural paradise on Earth. He is inspired by the engineering of eggshells and bird bones. The columns distribute weight like a tree. They are known as double helix columns.

The Bronze doors from the Great Portal are by Josep Maria Subirachs. “Give us this day our daily bread.”

St Jordi (George) is the patron saint of Barcelona. This version is also by Subirachs. It is inspired by Donatello’s St. George.

The choir is the elevated walkway that surrounds the interior. The arches above are designed to amplify sound.

Park Guell (s/n Carrer d’Olot Barcelona, 08024, Spain)

Built between 1900 and 1914, this project by Gaudi was initially designed to be part of Count Eusebi Guell’s private city. Years later, the housing development failed and remained a municipal park.

It is designed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and it continues to amaze people of all ages up to this day.

Palau de la Musica

Built between 1905 and 1908, Palau de la Musica was designed to be the home of Barcelona’s choir. Its most known space is the Concert Hall, featuring a 2,146 seat venue and an ornate glass roof

Monserrat

40 minutes far from Barcelona, a peculiar mountain range emerges from the land. Its outline, shaped by big rocks resembling huge needles eroded and smoothed by the winds along millenniums has become a symbol of Catalan geography. But not only is this mountain a patrimony of the nature of Catalonia, but it is also a cultural landmark of the country carved out through history and legend.

Tibidabo (Tibidabo, 08035 Barcelona, Spain)

“The Barcelona Website: Barcelona City Council.” Barcelona Website, 28 Mar. 2022, https://www.barcelona.cat/en/.

“Hola Barcelona Travel Card.” Abono Hola Barcelona | Transports Metropolitans De Barcelona, https://www.tmb.cat/es/tarifas-metro-bus-barcelona/billetes-visita-barcelona/abono-por-dias-hola-bcn.

EDITOR AND LAST UPDATE
John William Bailly 25 April 2022
COPYRIGHT © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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