Things to see and do - Barcelona
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Modernist BarcelonaPedestrian, Public Transport, 15 km, 2 days
Explore a Barcelona in which odd, undulating forms of vegetation creep across building façades, invade terraces and seemingly enter the buildings themselves to create a surprising and unique environment.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
Although it used to link the old town to the village of Gràcia, it is now, along with Eixample the residential area of the upper class. It links beautiful buildings epitomising early 20C architecture, such as those by Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch, in particular. The oil lamps adorning this main street are one of the symbols of the city's modern identity. Designed by Pere Faqués in 1900, they indeed demonstrate the modernist trend for materials such as iron and ceramics.
This beautiful house by Domènech i Montaner dates from 1905 and is part of the famous «Manzana de la Discordia». This famous architect introduced a certain sobriety in the modernist form.
This building by Puig i Cadafalch (1900) is part of the famous «Manzana de la Discordia». It has a beautiful façade with floral motifs and large Gothic stained glass windows. Notoce the exsquisite finesse of the balcony and door work. The building is the home of the Amattler Institute, which is home to a small collection of glass works, paintings and sculptures from various epochs, a library and a sound archives room specialising in art from the 10C to the 20C.]
This work by Gaudí dates from 1905 and is part of the famous «Manzana de la Discordia». The house has a multicoloured and undulating facade with an allegory of saint George killing the dragon. whist the extreior is stunning and dynamic with a meddley of wild imagery and colour, the inside is far more subtle. Exerything about it, including the letter boxes, the steps leading to the entrance demonstrates the genius of the architect.
Commonly called «La Pedrera», this is one Gaudí's finest achievements. This building, now classed by UNESCO as a «world heritage property», was built with the help of the sponsorship by the noble Milà family. The project was initially to build the undulating façade as tribute to the Virgin Mary, but Pere Milà rejected the idea because of the unstable political climate in the early 20C. Consequently, Gaudí abandoned the project leaving some chimneys unfinished. The building is a dramatic explosion of extravagance The façade demonstrates a style of architecture full of subtleties and which evokes the movement of the sea. . Admire the extremely refined window grilles. It has a commanding presence on the Passeig de Gràcia and is more beautiful than the surrounding buildings. The guided roof tour is great, and gives you an unrestricted view of he whole Eixample area, as well as the chimneys and air vents with their curious phantasmagorical shapes. The parabolic arches in the emptied attic have recently been restored to their former glory, and the attic now accommodates the Espai Gaudí, where studies, models, photos and films retrace the life and work of the architect. Some of the upper halls are used for temporary exhibits.
This building is best known as the «Casa de les Punxes» because of its pointed roof, and is yet another testiment to the ingenuity of Puig i Cadafalch's architecture. It is in this work that the Neo-gothic style is the most noticeable
This is Antoni Gaudí's most popular work. Dedicated to Sainte Famille and Saint Joseph, his creator claimed that the work was an expiation of the materialism of the modern world and an expression of human solidarity and fraternity. Inspired by the Sacré-Coeur church in Paris, Josep M. Bocabella came up with the idea of building a Neo-Gothic temple for his association. Work started in 1882. Then in 1883, Gaudí joined in the project and everyday, for forty years set about making the symbolic aspect of the building ever more profound. When he died only the crypt (which shuts off the tomb), the apse and the Nativity façade had been finished. Inspite of huge political wranglings, a decision to complete this revolutionary project was taken and and work resumed. Josep Maria Subirachs (1927), produced very controversial sculptures for the façade of the Passion, the current entrance to the sanctuary. Four 115m high towers surmount the three portals of the la façade of the Nativité. To the left: the Doorway of Hope, endowed with the symbol of Mary and scenes from the Sainte Famille. In the centre: A profusion of floral motifs decorates the Doorway of Charity and Jesus' family tree appears with its monogram above the doorway. On the right, you will see the Doorway of Faith, with the symbol of saint Joseph and sculptures relating to Jesse's childhood and the Visitation. The crypt, which contains Gaudí's tomb, accommodates a museum explaining the different complete or incomplete stages of production. Tours of the building offer an exceptional panoramic view.
The most famous order given to Gaudí by Güell was to create a garden city, which actually materialised as such. The park now classed as a «World heritage property» by UNESCO, looks onto two unique mushroom-shaped buildings straight out of the fairy tale book. A stairway headed by a dragon made up of ingenious mosaics leads to the Hall of a hundred columns The hall, which is planned to be turned into a market is an amazing sight, despite it actually containing only 86 slanted Doric columns. Embedded into the uneven roof mosaic you will see some of the most bizarre objects, such as bits of smashed plates and porcelain dolls. On top of the hall is the large circular square which offers an extraordinary view over the town, surrounded by the famous and never-ending undulating bank where Gaudí's fantasy for colour knows no bounds. The crowning end to the visit of this magic place is a look round the Casa-Museu Gaudí. The house of the architect allows you to size the importance of his contribution to the world of architecture.
This extraordinary building is undoubtedly the most striking symbol of the Catalan middle classes of the 1900s and one of the masterpieces of Modernism. Built by Domènech i Montaner between 1905 and 1908, it combines the strong nationalist sentiment of the time with a clearly international cultural will. Headquarters of the Orfeó Català (Catalan Choir), an organisation created in 1891 by Lluís Millet to spread and encourage Catalan popular music, it is the largest concert hall in Barcelona. The exterior is spectacular. The coloured mosaics and a sculpted group representing the popular song are by Miquel Blay. Inside the concert hall, you can admire the picture windows and impressive reversed cupola, in many-coloured glass, a real ornamental marvel which lends a certain delicacy to the rather grandiose whole. To the left of the stage, a bust of Josep Anselm Clavé (1824-1874), the musician who founded many popular choral societies, symbolises Catalan music. To the right, recalling the strong impact of Wagner's music on musical circles in Barcelona, stands the extraordinary Ride of the Valkyries beside a bust of Beethoven. These dynamic sculptures by Gargallo complement the strange mosaic silhouettes and the bust in relief, showing the creative imagination that Eusebi Arnau has brought to the back of the stage. A wealth of unusual detail is scattered throughout this surprising space, the pretentious atmosphere softened by the intricate seats, barely visible mosaics and the play of colours in the stained glass windows.
This unique building built in 1889 is a beautiful example of Gaudí's architectural work. Undertaken to increase the size of the Güell family home, which housed ten children, the end result is a spectacular home, which is now classed as a «World heritage property» by UNESCO. On the white stone façade there are Catalan symbols such as the dragon and the «four lines », decorated with imaginary motifs and the initials of Eusebi Güell. The great innovation is in the parabolic arches in the entrance which are completed by extravagant grilles that are typical of Modernism.. A monumental stairway runs to the upper hall, with takes up the whole width of the building, lit by a high cupola. Do not miss the admirable apartments with their superbly decorated floors, endowed with stone and ceramic mosaics.