Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Barcelona -Spain-Three Days Itinerary Discovering the Shining,Majestic Jewel of Modernisme.

Barcelona is widely considered one of the European most trendy and more attractive destinations for its cosmopolitan aspect,history and several architectonic different styles give this city an unique charm. The Ciudad Condal as is nicknamed in Spain is the capital and the most populous city of Catalunya and the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid and it  is also Europe's largest metropolis on the Western Mediterranean coast. Divided in 10 official districts it sets between the Mediterranean seaboard and the hills of Montjuic,Barcelona’s location is strategically great.It can be considered the Spanish door to Europe,with a perfect connection by motorway and railway system ti the Southern France,its important port links Barcelona to Balearic Islands and it is also one of the best starting points about Mediterranean cruises.Actually this beautiful city is considered to be one of the most loved tourist destinations in Europe,the Catalan Capital is a true conglomeration of charming old history melted to a magnificent essence of modernity Today Barcelona is not only a tourist destination,it is also a very important economic and cultural centre,with strong continental influences in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion,science,art and events.

Founded by the Romans, Barcelona became the capital of the Counts of Barcelona,the name Barcelona comes from the Latin Barcino,there are some legends about Barcelona foundation.The first is mythological, and it attributes the founding to Hercules,the second is from Africa,from Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca,father of Hannibal.The first Roman centre was built in the 2nd century by Emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar,and a first wall fortification was built on the east side area.The Romans redrew the town as a Castrum on the Mont Taber, a hill near Plaza San Jaume.Under Roman Empire rule,the current city was named Faventia Julia Augusta Pia Barcino,After Roman Empire fall, Barcelona was conquered by Visigoths in the 5th century and it was proclaimed capital of Hispanum Territoris.In the 7th century Barcelona fall under Moorish domination and governed by Al-Hurr ibn Abd Al Rahman,coming from the Caliphate of Al Andalus after 200 years of Arab occupation in the Iberian Peninsula.

 Louis Pius King of Aquitaine conquered Barcelona and the town became a Carolingian province.The Muslims attacked several times Barcelona til 895 when Al-Mansur Billah General of Hissam II of Al Andalus penetrated in the city walls destroying the centre in its totality.The Count of Girona Borrell II rebuilt Barcelona some years later and there was a golden age period when it flourished under the rule of Aragon Kingdom become the 4th Mediterranean western port after Venice,Genoa and Marseille.Later Barcelona suffered a long period of decadence due to interior fights and political problems due mainly to the reunification of Aragon and Castilla Crowns,which sadly marked the beginning of Barcelona's decline.Madrid Kingdom power reduced Barcelona importance and the town suffered "The great plague" which had halved the city's population.From there the first Catalan separatist movements and revolts.

During this period of tense coexistence with Madrid Barcelona and Catalunya were victims of  Napoleonic invasions.Under French rule Barcelona rebuilt a new defencive structure,The Montjuich Fortress and had some changes in its metropolitan aspect.The Renaissance period gave Barcelona a very positive development in particular with regard t  a flourish trade about textile products in Europe and the first contacts with Latin America in particular with Cuba,from that  its harbour came back to have an important value.Another negative period of the history of Barcelona,was during the Civil War,under Franco Dictator,Barcelona suffered a massive troops occupation and the abolition of Catalan Institutions and language.Barcelona,after the dictator in Spain,flourished again.The city came back to host important events as some matches of the World Cup 1982,several International exhibitions but the most important was of course the Olympic Games of 1992.

Barcelona during the years of preparation of this prestigious event and later had an impressive change in urban aspect and general organisation.Barcelona hosted some years later another important International Exhibition the Universal Forum of Culture 2004..Barcelona has a great mixture of architecture and it is in reality, an attraction in itself.

The two most important styles of Barcelona architecture are the ancient Catalan Gothic and the Modernisme classified in the Art Nouveau group styles,although a real and local 100% Catalan architectonic movement born in 1900 and named "Renaixença" a Catalan Renaissance with desire to change something with local artists inspired by Italian Renaissance.The Modernisme in Catalunya and in particular in its capital came at the turn of the 20th century a local artisitic but laso cultural movement protagonized by the Master Antoni Gaudí.Barcelona won in 1999 the edition of RIBA Royal Gold Medal for its architecture,and the tradition started with Gaudi and all the other Catalan Masters continued with important architects famous today worldwide as Ricardo Bofill (many works in Spain but also in France,Morocco,Usa),Josep Lluís Sert,who designed the Harvard Science Center of Harvard-Boston with many other works in Barcelona and France,Enric Miralles,who built many buildings around the world in partnership with famous Italian Milan architect Benedetta Tagliabue.Barcelona is a rich mix of old and new.

When you think of Europe and culture, you think of the major cities such as Paris,Rome Venice, Berlin,London,but it might surprise you to know, that in 2005 UNESCO added more Barcelona sights to its ever- important list giving the Catalan Capital nine sites, so Barcelona is also a paradise for lovers of architecture: from modern,futurist to to charming historical Gothic churches,Modernism and Renaissance each building in Barcelona has always a story or something to tell.The Cosmopolitan Barcelona,in its history called famous artists, Antoni Gaudi from Reus,but also Pablo Picasso from Malaga,Salvador Dali from Figueres,Argentinian sculptor Marcel Marti,Josep Rovira painter from Cuba,Pedro Gargallo sculptor from Zaragoza and others left an incredible artistic patrimony to this town.From Barcelona and born in Barcelona were Joan Miró,famous sculptor and ceramist,Lluis Domenech Montaner(one of the most prominent architect about the Modernisme Catalá, Ramon Casas,Modernist painter, from Barcelona also Antoni Tapies the famous Surrealist painter.

As in the past Barcelona recently,called artists worldwide to increase his cultural and historic patrimony worked for a period in Barcelona other important artists as the  talented Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero (he left in Barcelona two modern sculptures, the Cat in Raval district and The Horse at Barcelona Airport) or Irish contemporary painter Sean Scully,who painted in a contemporary style, "El Raval Rojo" The Red Raval, dedicated to the Barcelona district.Barcelona is also Opera and music with its three theatres and its Concert Hall,Teatre del Liceu,Teatre Nacional de Catalunya,Teatre Lliure and the Palau de la Música Catalana concert hall.The Palau de la Música have been collectively designated as a UNESCO World Heritage and it hosts the OBC the Orquestra Sinfònica de Barcelona performing over 70 concerts per year.Opera tradition in Barcelona,has produced great talents,from Barcelona are Jose Carreras, tenor component of the famous "The three tenors" with Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo and star in many Operas exhibitions worldwide,Montserrat Caballet famous soprano,first soprano voice at Opera Theatre in Basel then performing in many important Opera Theatres in the world, famous besides the song "Barcelona"she performed with Freddie Mercury in occasion of the Olympic Games 1992 and hymn of that important event.From Barcelona was also Mercedes Llopart a great soprano lived major part of her life in Milan (where she died) with many important performances in Teatro La Scala Milano and Arena Verona

Barcelona hosts two important pop music festivals the "Sónar Festival" and the "Primavera Sound Festival".The symbol of Barcelona and Catalonia popular music "Nova cançó movement" is of course Joan Manuel Serrat,his song "Mediterráneo" was selected as the most important song of the 20th century in Spain.Cuba awarded him with a Honour CD "Cuba le canta a Serrat"(Cuba sings to Serrat) performed by many important singers from the Caribbean Island.Culture and different kind of talented artists generated several movements with prominent poets and writers as Joan Maragall, Eduardo Mendoza,Mercé Rodoreda,Joan Marsé,Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

Intriguing and fascinating town,with its streets,buildings and the famous "Ramblas"Barcelona inspired several writers.Carlos Ruiz Zafón wrote "La Sombra del Viento" (the Shadow of the wind) adapted in Barcelona,but also Eduardo Mendoza with "La ciudad de las maravillas(City of Marvels) or"Asesinato en el comité central"(Murder in the Central Committee) by Manuel Vásquez Montalbàn "La Plaza del Diamante"(Diamond square) by Mercè Rodoreda,"El cuaderno Gris"(The gray book)wrote by Joseph Pla had Barcelona as scenery.Also foreign artists wrote bestsellers about Catalan City,Irish writer Colm Tóibín wrote"Homage to Barcelona",Australian writer Robert Hughes dedicated two bestseller to Barcelona "the Great Enchantress" and "Barcelona 1992"and finally German Writer Patrick Süskind wrote "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer".Although The cinematic image of Barcelona, in the international imagination is weak,no filmmaker or director has taken the city so lucky and have been able to universalise through his work how,Allen, Lynch Fellini,Renoir, Guédiguian have managed to take possession of New York,Rome,Paris,Los Angeles, Angeles,Marseille but anyway Barcelona has been adapted as scenario in many Spanish and foreign movies.

The first foreign Film where Barcelona appears abroad is "Professione Fotoreporter"(known in Usa with the name "The Passenger") in 1975 by Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni,it was an Italian-American coo production starring in that film were Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider.The movie was adapted in North Africa,France and Barcelona),very famous also "Auberge Espagnole"by French director Cédric Klapisch (one of the most popular French movies of recent years) and Usa Cinema produced some movies too. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" by Woody Allen with stars like Scarlett Johansson, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem,"The Machinist" by Brad Anderson and "Uncovered" from Director Jim McBride.Also Spanish cinema naturally has adapted movies in Barcelona "Todo sobre mi madre"(All about my mother) by director Pedro Almodovar received many awards in Spain and nominations worldwide,some years later Director Jaume Balagueró created "Fragile", a thriller movie filmed in the city.

Two famous Cinema directors Bigas Luna and Isabel Coixet are from here.Barcelona is the 4th most visited city in Europe(after Paris, Rome and London) and 12th most visited city in the world,1st city in Spain receiving over 5 millions of tourists per year.Barceloneta beach was listed among the Top 10 Beach Cities in the world by National Geographic in 2005.Catalan capital is today the first European town about cruises tourism market and it has the largest Acuarium in Europe.Today is a cosmopolitan town.If you visit El Raval district you can find Chinese and Pakistani shops people from North Africa and immigrants from Romania and East Europe.Poble Sec has a very Latin-American identity with a strong presence if people from Ecuador and Peru..Barcelona is a town rich of contrasts,you can walk in the modern Plaza Catalunya with its Cafes,Theatres and in a short distance in Raval and you can see old and decadent buildings populated by Asiatic and African immigrants,or walking in the charming Paseo de Gracia with its luxury brand shops and Modernist Buildings, and in some minutes by tube or bus you change you are in areas where you can see modest and caothic oriental or North African bazars shops.Barcelona is also different than the rest of Spain for culture, history, gastronomy,national sentiments rhytms, lifestyle,architecture.It is a bilingual city,official languages are Catalan and Spanish

In the Catalan city you can enjoy a great cuisine,based on fish and seafood,but also on local gastronomy like stews "Escudella i carn d'olla",(a stew made of vegetables, rice, noodles and potatoes),Zarzuela (a fish stew made of cuttlefish, mussels and prawn),Cocido con judias blancas amb Butifarra(a typical regional sausage stewed with white beans),"Pa amb tomaca"(it is an appetizer,of toasted bread with tomato rubbed over with olive oil and salt, similar to Bruschetta from Tuscany),Butifarra con mongetes(sausages with beans,garlic and parsley)Very typical a "tapa" an appetiser"Patatas Bravas"(boiled potatoes with olive oil,red pepper, paprika, and vinegar) the dessert "Crema Catalana"( elaborated with egg, milk burned sugar,grated rind of lemon and cornflour), excellent wines such as Peralda,Priorat, and Cava (sparkling wine) .Although in Barcelona you can find excellent"Flamenco shows "Barcelona keeps strongly and proudly the local folk and identity with its folk dances Sardana and Ball de Bastons..From age old historical sites to interesting museums, from the serenity of the Mediterranean Sea to reverberating clubs, discos, pubs and an invigorating night life, Barcelona is just the place to be if you want to visit of course ! you can walk down in its myriad streets,each offering something new to explore and experience.A sizzling melting pot of flavors and culture gave you energy and enthusiasm to visit this beautiful town..So Plan your next trip to Barcelona,an experience unique in an unique city.


Start your visit from Plaza Catalunya,situated at the top of the Ramblas It is the city’s biggest square and also home of a very busy commercial and shopping district,here you can find a big Tourism Information Center facing the square,several souvenirs shops,cafes,theatres,a very busy square,meeting point for locals and tourists.Plaza Catalunya is located between the old city called "Ciutat Vella" and the 19th century Eixample district, the modern district.There are nine streets emanating from the square and an important tube station,which is the main subway junction; 3 metro lines and a city railway line meet here.Until the middle of the 19th century Plaça Catalunya was a rural area just outside the city walls.In 1858 the central government in Madrid finally allowed the defencive walls to be demolished and there was an important project for a new area design The square was fully completed in 1927.In modern time Plaza Catalunya can be considered the Barcelona heart with majestic buildings as the Central Bank or the building where supermarket like El Corte Ingles is located. Take a look to the square.It is full of fountains,sculptures, there is a memorial to Francesc Macià,president of the Regional Government of Catalunya,the sculpture was created in 1991 by Josep Subirachs but you can see many others.Taking now the Rambla it is in front of Plaza Catalunya This long stretch is an enthralling boulevard of people and sounds,colours,smells and aromas connecting Plaza Catalunya to the port,Puerto Colon.La Rambla,to give yuo an idea  is a series of shorter streets each with different name (Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis,Rambla de Sant Josep, Rambla dels Caputxins,and Rambla de Santa Monica.Every Rambla name has a mean .Rambla de Canaletes.Named so because of the location of Canaletes La Fuente also famous about celebrating the FC Barcelona victories.

Rambla dels Estudis takes its name from the ancient university subsequently converted into barracks.Rambla de Sant Josep is also named Rambla de les Flors known worldwide for the charm of flower stalls.Rambla Caputxins.In this area was located the convent of the Capuchin monks.Rambla Santa Monica .At this point we find the port and the parish of Santa Monica which is named.The name "Rambla" anyway is from Arab"'Ramla" which means sandy riverbed.Rambla is an amazing boulevard with a wide pedestrian area in the centre,with cafes, restaurants, hotels, theatres and shops on the sides,several street artists along the boulevard,three tube station Catalunya, Liceu, and Drassanes.It is a symbol of Barcelona, and a meeting point for many people.A very special meeting point is "Font de Canaletes"It is an ornate fountain,crowned by a lamp post and lies at the beginning of  the Rambla very close to Plaza Catalunya.Catalan tradition has that the one who drinks from the Font de Canaletes will come back to Barcelona.So if you want drink a little bit here.Continue your visit walking on Rambla.On the right side before to reach  Liceu Tube Station, visit the Marcat de La Boqueria (Boqueria Market) a colourful and traditional market. Dated 1217, in 1835 the authorities decided to build an official structure but the construction started only in 1840.It is also knows as market town of San José or Sant Josep in Catalan, the official name.It is publicly owned, it has today more than 300 stalls distributed in about 6000 square meters, and is the largest in Catalunya,.Among the traders there are all kinds,such as fishmongers, butchers,groceries, cheese makers,artisans,sellers of animals especially birds and flowers.

Not far from La Boqueria, you can admire The Gran Teatre del Liceu,it is the Opera House,
opened in 1847.Originally the Theatre was created in the convent of Montsió,the first Operas were performed by Italian composers such as Bellini's "Norma", and later by other artists like Donizetti and Rossini.It is curious its foundation,in contrast with other European cities,where the monarchy generally took on the responsibility of the building,happened also during the Austrian-Hungarian Empire with Vienna and Budapest but generally in many other monarchies. TheTeatre del Liceu was built as initiative of the Liceu Barcelona-Dramatic Barcelonès Philharmonic Joaquim Gispert,partner and director of the company, managed the transfer of land in the former convent of the Trinitarians of the Rambla, where they began to build the theatre in 1844 and opened 3 years later.The building was largely destroyed by a fire in 1861, rebuilt later a new fire dated 1994 created several bad damages and the Theatre was  reopened five years later in 1999.You can observe another curious thing,this time about architectonic aspect.The Theatre has not four facades in contrast with the most important Operas Theatres in the world.Inside the Theatre you can admire Saló de Miralls (Mirrors Hall),providing a series of romantic decorations with round paintings of musicians,depicting Bellini,Gluck,Donizetti among others.The general  structure has elements in Neoclassical style,as the columns while the walls have a classic Baroque touch.

Have a coffee or a drink now in Café de l´Opera. it is a beautiful 19th century Café situated in Rambla,74 (on the other side of the Rambla almost in front the Theatre) in typical "Parisienne" style with iron columns,wall mirrors evoking the elegant ages and a perfect atmosphere for a lovely break in Barcelona.Walking down from the Rambla towards the harbour on the left side,walk til Carrer de Ferran,turn on the left when you come on Passatge De Madoz turn on the left and you will find Placa Reial, which is still one of the spots of main interest in Barcelona.Built on the site of an ancient Capuchine Monastery,it was designed in 1848, by architect Francesc Daniel Molina.In the central part of the square there is the fountain of Three Graces and two street lanterns designed by the young Antoni Gaudí when he started to create his first urban works in Barcelona.
Currently,the square is a favourite meeting point for young people who come to have a drink in one of the numerous cafes,or to just socialise in the open air in front of the fountain.Take now Passatge Bacardi and turn on the left and you are in Rambla again.Walking on the left side you can see Plaça del Teatre,it is a square full of bars and little restaurant,peaceful during the day but very vibrant at night so if you have idea to come back here to enjoy Barcelona nightlife and having a drink ..remember this place.Walking on Rambla always on the left if you want to do something different turn on the left in Passatges Banca and visit Museo de Cera Wax Museum.This museum is housed in a palace dated 19th century and opened in 1973.Inside you can meet wax figures of history like Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Lady Diana Princess of Wales or Don Quixote but also the Spanish Royal Family and Tennis star Rafael Nadal.It is very interesting the visit because you are walking in a Wax Museum but at the same time you can appreciate the palace architectural elements like decorated vaults,a Gothic hall,the Patio Glass,a stylish staircase and finally the Recital Hall.It is not huge as Madame Tussaud but if you want to spend 20 minutes in a different way, it is really nice.

After this short visit at the lower end of La Rambla,you can see Puerto Colon,Columbus Harbour and "Mirador Colon"where a 60 meters tall monument for Christopher Columbus lies.Columbus figure is a bronze statue,7,00 meters approximately high on the top of a corinthian column, while the pedestal consists in an octagonal block with 4 bronzes winged victories,against the pedestal bear portrait medallions that depict people related to Columbus like Queen Isabel I of Castille,King Ferdinand II of Aragon and others. This monument was constructed to celebrate the "Exposición Universal de Barcelona" in 1888 and located in the same place where Columbus returned from his navigation from America.After 10am you can get to the top by elevator and enjoy marvellous views of the old harbour and the Ciutat Vella,the old town.A curiosity or a mistake about Columbus statue.He's pointing out east across the Mediterranean instead of west toward the Atlantic..

Take now Passeig de Colon (Columbus Boulevard) on the left of the monument walk til Passatge del Dormitori de San Francesc come in the passage on the left and turn on the right in Carrer Ample, in front of you Plaza de la Merced a little square where you can admire Basilica de la Mercè ( Our Lady of Mercy) Barcelona´s people call this church simply " La Mercè".It is a 18th century church,built by architect Josep Mas.The facade is in Baroque style but originally in the13th century the building was totally in Gothic style.One side of the square looking on the sea side a marble door, what was the former Convento de la Mercé the Convent of Mercy and now the Maritime Captain Marine General Quarter.

On the opposite side of the Basilica there is a fountain dedicated to the God Neptune, the God's statue was created by sculptor Ferran Adrià.Mercè is one the city's Patron saint of Barcelona,people hold this Virgin a very deep reverence and every September there is a festival that is dedicated to her.There is a legend that the Lady of Mercy freed the city from a plague of locusts in 1637,so that is when the City Council named her as the Patron Saint of the city.Behind the church you can see a building with a red facade it is Pompeu Fabra University the UPF a public University considered it is one of the most prestigious Universities in Spain for its high level of studies.

Come back now to Passeig Colon and walk  until the cross of Via Layetana. an important historical street about the ancient Roman Decumanus,during Roman period Turn on the right and cross Plaza Antonio Lopez,here you are facing Maremagnum-Port Vell.Along the harbour in this pedestrian street you will be entering in a whole different world: one of futuristic,Avant Gard beachfront  with glass-walled buildings scattered along the stylish new port area,packed by restaurants and bars.Before the Barcelona Olympics,Port Vell, was only a run down area with empty warehouses,industrial buildings,refuse dumps and railroad yards.Here you can find many attractions as the Maremàgnum,a brand new wooden pedestrian bridge a complex with shops,cinemas,bars and the Imax Theatre.Further more you can visit the Barcelona's Aquarium one of the largest in Europe.The Imax is a large cinema -theatre features three projection systems: the Omnimax screen, the flat Imax and the 3D Imax for which spectators use 3D glasses.Imax Barcelona was the first Imax integral movie theatre in the world.

The most important attraction in Maremagnum is anyway the Aquarium,have a visit, you can see over 8000 fish including 11 sharks, there is also a tunnel 80 m long where you can observe deep sea fish.Thanking Port Vell, Barcelona also gained the status and the award as the best urban beach in the World and 3rd best beach in the World, according the documentary film "Worlds Best Beaches" produced by Discovery Channel in 2005.Next to Port Vell-Maremagnum you are in " Barceloneta",this popular district so very famous for its beach bars,restaurants and clubs.Some years ago this area was the district of fismongers, .Have your lunch here.You can find many restaurants..some suggested.. Merendero de la Mari in Plaza Pau Villa,1 (the big square, entrance of the maritime area) you can taste a great Zarzuela”( A fine variety of seafood baked in fresh tomato sauce) o,excellent prawns and scampi, but also soups of tomato with basil and olive oil, rice with vegetables or rice with lobster or El Rey de la Gamba in Moll de Mestral, 23-24,this restaurant offers a wide range of specialities, grilled fish,swordfish, mussels,shrimps and lobsters,but you can also enjoy the typical Paella or black rice or fideuá.Have a great lunch.

Before to leave Barceloneta take a look in Paseo Maritimo de la Barceloneta and The Water Towers.It is a curious structure created as market on the river Besos.This building is the prelude to admire two of the most important and representative buildings of the present and modern Barcelona:the famous Hotel Arts and Mapfre Tower,of 136 m height and the Olympic Village,an area built for Olympic Games 92.Walking towards to Plaza del Palau now take a look to Palau del Mar.It is a building constructed in1889 designed by Maurici Garrán.It is a very lively area,the major part of this surface is occupied by many local restaurants and terraces overlooking the yachts in the marina and the Imax at the bottom.Part of the palace is occupied by the Museum of History of Catalonia, which explains the political, social, economic and cultural life of Catalunya from its beginnings to the present.On the left,in Passeig d'Isabel II take a look to the Llotja de Mar.This building was once a meeting place for the merchants of the city.The current Neoclassical building dated 18th century is the successor of the older medieval structure.

In Plaza del Palau take Passeig de Isabel II on the right, walk toward Estació de Francia (France Station) this railway station was opened by King Alfonso XIII in 1929.It is a building with an iron structure,in Art Nouveau style dated 1929. It was one of the last stations in Europe built in this kind of style.At the end of Passeig Isabel II come in the Parc de la Ciutadella,inspired by the design of the Luxembourg Gardens, the name of the park because,,King Felipe V built a military fortress in 1715 after taking the city.It was General Prim, in 1869, who gave the citadel to the city of Barcelona with the slogan that there be built a public park.

The Park homes a Zoo too.At the Zoo entrance you can see "La Dama del Paragua" (Lady of umbrellas).This ornamental fountain was for many years one of the most beloved symbols of Barcelona.It is a classic 19th century sculpture depicting a middle class lady with a parasol cover (not an umbrella). Its location many times it is not so easy to visit by tourists because they do not know the importance of this monument or because they take another entrance.In the zoo garden there are over 7000 animals representing 400 different species.Another beautiful attraction is the "Cascada" a triumphal arch with waterfall and fountain built to celebrate 1888 Universal Exhibition.The construction in Baroque Style designed by architect Josep Fontsère,the influence and inspiration about this monument are based on beautiful Trevi Fountain in Rome with two enormous pincers of gigantic crabs serve as stairs to access a small podium located in the centre of the monument.In front of it a sculpture of Venus,from the podium on a path the Feminine Sculpture.Curiosity.The Architect Fontsère during the construnction of this monument had an assistant.That assistant was Antoni Gaudí in that period young student The most notable building in the park anyway is Castel dels Tres Dragons(The Castle of three Dragons) it rensembles a medioeval castle and it was built by architect Lluís Doménech Montaner to celebrate Exposición Universal de Barcelona in1888 as restaurant.The castle is constructed with red bricks is currently houses the zoological collections of the Museu de Ciències Naturals (Natural Science Museum).The park also hosts The Parliament of Catalonia and other attractions,

The Institut Verdaguer, The Umbracle and the Hivernacle (where concerts are performed mostly classical music) a small lake which is very common to hire boats for navigation also several statues,among which the large stone mammoth,a metallic cat,a statue dedicated to Walt Disney and finally a statue a bit more conventional that commemorates General Prim, who managed the demolition of the Citadel would be carried out.Take the way out of the Park in Passeig de Pujades and when you leave the park take Carrer de Comerc turning on the left,then turn on the right in Carrer de la Princesa and turn on the left in Carrer Montcada, and you can visit Museo Picasso, in Carrer de Montcada,15. You are walikng in the Ribera district, in the past, it was one of the medieval Barcelona districts,while could now be considered the Soho of Barcelona ,but anyway the most visited attraction in La Ribera anyway is absolutely Picasso.The Museum is situated in Montcada Street in a beautiful medieval mansion. Pablo Picasso born in Malaga (Andalucia-Southern Spain) moved to Barcelona with his family in 1894 and Barcelona was very important to his formative years.Picasso thereafter divided his time between Barcelona and Paris.Barcelona was the city that shaped his youth and adolescence, and his mark remains on the city.As the co-founder of cubism,he was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century decided to open a museum with a lifelong friend, Jaume Sabartés.The Museum, opened in 1963, contains an important collection of his early works, including "Las Meninas" ( painted in1957), a suite of 58 works analysing Velázquez's painting "Las Meninas" and the Blue Period but also other two important major works,"The First Communion" and "Science and Charity".Picasso Museum's collection shows a clear transition from Cubism to Picasso's return to classicism.More than 3500 of Picasso's paintings are held here in the permanent collection..Walk on Carrer Montcada,it is filled with magnificent Gothic palaces, back to the time of expansion of the city in the 13th century. Its buildings were modified over the years, especially in the 17th century, and most have added Renaissance and Baroque elements in their original structure.

Turn then on the right in Carrer dels Sombrers and take a look to Santa Maria del Mar,(the Basilica of St Mary of the Sea),it is one of Barcelona's emblematic churches,completed in 1329 and designed by architect Berenguer de Montagut,this church is a typical beautiful example of Catalan Gothic architecture,the façade is decorated with several sculptures from various periods,the interior is topped with an octagonal tower, another important architectural element is a rose stained glass window dated 15th century,the architectural structure consists in three wide naves separated by pillars.Turn on the right in Placeta de Montcada and then turn on the left in Passeig del Bornes.Barcelona people calls this street "El Born" it is one of the most fashionable spots in the city,a boulevard surrounded by cocktail bars, tapas bars, boutique stores,shops,in the past this street was a meeting point of artists,bohemian and musicians,take a break in El Bornes Café Bar at n 26, you can have a coffee or a snack it is a historical tavern of the district.Enjoy ! And about tonight..Well nightlife can offer you a multitude of things to do here.You can come back to Plaça del Teatre, in Rambla,you can come back to have a great dinner in Barceloneta....other suggests ..Restaurant Cinc Sentits, in Carrer D´Aribau,58,very good restaurant,contemporary and creative Catalan cuisine.You can taste an excellent Pyrenees beef filet,or sepia meatballs,near it this another one,Restaurant Arigó,in Carrer d´Aribau, 47,also this restaurant offers you a creative cuisine.Iberian sobrasada with crispy zucchini, shoulder of lamb glazed with papaya, cod confit with apple etc.These restaurants are located in the area of Exaimple.So take the tube to Universitat,the street is in front of the Tube, walk about 500 meters and enjoy.Have a great dinner.Buenas noches,Bona nit  en Barcelona .

Start an new day in Barcelona,and after your breakfast take the tube to Jaume or Plaza Catalunya and visit Barri Gotic.(Gothic District) It is an UNESCO world heritage site .You are in the centre of the Roman city today’s Gothic Quarter.This district was marked by the point where the two main streets, the Cardo and Decumanus, converged. Today the Carrer del Bisbe and Carrer Llibreteria stand on this site.Actually The "Barri Gotic" forms mainly pedestrian walkways between Ramblas and Via Laietana..It is the cultural hub of the city and great for any type of traveller.Start your visit from Plaza Nova,this square can be considerated the wall of the old Roman fortification and it is the place where the old Roman city was born with the name Barcino.These letters are sculptured in the square.Plaza Nova is situated between the Cathedral and Plaça de la Seu (Cathedral Square) Actually used for festivals and folk events like Sardana a typical dance from Catalonia.In front of Plaza Nova you can see Portal del Bisbe(Bishop´s Gate),during Roman Empire the name was Porta Praetoria.

It is one of the main gate of Gothic quarter,flanked by two round towers,they have been renovated several times since their construction. In one of the towers, there is a remain of an arch of the roman acueduct.Take Carrer del Bispe(Bishop´s Street) it is a 15th century medioeval charming street, immediatly on the right you can admire Palacio Episcopal (Bishop's Palace).Built at the end of the 12th Century,It is a jewel of Catalonian Gothic architectur, a mix of styles,built over the ruins of an old Roman port,in the central courtyard lie Romanesque arches and Gothic windows from the 14th Century while in the ground floor,the area is surrounded by rooms that keep their medieval structure.Next to Palace Episcopal,turning on the right Plaça Sant Felipe Neri (St Philip Neri Square) a charming and peaceful small square, located on a narrow Roman alleyway by the same name with a church dated 18th century in Baroque style.This church has an unfortunate history. During Spanish Civil War a bomb fell on it and killed 20 children seeking shelter inside.In Carrer de Santa Llùcia (St.Lucy Street) on the left of Palacio Episcopal,you can admire Casa del Ardiaca (House of the Archdeacon), a mansion built on the Roman walls during the 15th Century as residence for the Archdeacon of the Cathedral.Notable the cloister,a patio with a gothic fountain and with a renaissance gate.Carrer de Santa Llùcia leads to Pla de la Seu (Cathedral Square) where you can visit the Gothic Catedral (Catedral de la Santa Creu) a Christian Catholic Church with a long story,built on the rests of a Roman temple, later it became a Moorish Mosque during the Muslim occupation,the Cathedral was built between 1046 and 1058.It is dedicated to Santa Eulàlia (one of the St patron of Barcelona) who was killed by the Romans for her Catholic faith.Considerated among the most beautiful Cathedrals in Spain, it is a celebrated example of Catalan Gothic architecture.Its large bell towers are of Medieval and Renaissance styles,the nave and the arches have splendid Gothic details.

The interior consists of one wide nave with 28 side chapels.The most interesting chapel is the Cappella de Sant Benet,(St.Benet Chapel) behind the altar, with its magnificent 15th century interpretation of the crucifixion by Bernat Martorell.The crypt contains the sarcophagus of Santa Eulalia.Adjacent to the cathedral there is a 14th century cloister with a beautiful central garden with palm-trees and magnolias.There are always 13 geese in its central courtyard. Each geese represent one year in the life of the martyr Santa Eulalia.Continue your visit in "Barri Gotic"and take a look to Casa dels Canonges or the House of Canons,in Carrer del Bispe,built during the late 13th,it was previously the home of the Canons of the Cathedral,it is a building with a mixture of architectonic elements influenced from the Renaissance,Gothic and Baroque styles.In the 20th century the first president of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) decided to transform Casa dels Canonges in an official residence.The building is connected with Palau de la Generalitat through a charming bridge over Carrer del Bispe.Turn on the left in Carrer Paradis,at n 10, you can see on the pavement, a wheel that marks the center of the ancient Roman city.Here you can visit The Centre Excursionista de Catalunya,actually this building is an Institute for cultural,prevention and promotion of the local historical patrimony.In this medioeval building there are the vestiges of Roman Barcelona (or Barcino in that period) the rests of the ancient fortified walls and palaces built during the Roman Empire on the Taber Hill "Mons Taber".Coming into the building you can admire the columns of the temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus.

Continue your visit walking on Carrer del Bispe and coming to Plaza San Jaume. (St.James Square) This large square is the administrative centre of Barcelona and Catalonia,but it was also very important under Roman rule,where two important Roman streets Cardo and Decumanus crossed,besides it was the Augustus Forum leading to the Temple located in the Centre Excursionista where you saw the columns.In this beautiful and large square you can see two important buildings, the Palacio de la Generalitat (the Government of the Autonomous Community of Catalunya) on the right side of Carrer del Bispe and in front of the street in the square the Ajuntament (City Hall).Palace de la Generalitat was originally designed by architect Marc Safon.It was originally an integral gothic building,although the actual façade is in renaissance style.It highlights the medallion, the gargoyles and pinnacles that the young sculptor Pere Joan made when she was 20 years. The medallion is a Saint George slaying the dragon, the gargoyles that flank, rescued the princess appears and a monster caught by two children who seem to want to tame. It is said that Members who commissioned the sculptures were so pleased with the result that Pere Joan paid twice what was stipulated in the contract.We stop to contemplate the Renaissance facade of the Generalitat Palace facing the square. Its author, Pere Blai, was inspired by the Farnese palace, built by Michelangelo in Rome. The three story distribution appears accentuated by the use of stones of different color tones.The sculpture of Sant Jordi,(St.George) much later, is by Andreu Aleu.

Sant Jaume has been witness about some of the most important events in recent Catalan history,like the proclamation of the Catalan State in 1931 or the return of Josep Tarradelles from exile in 1977.The Town Hall or Casa de la Ciutat, was completed in 1847 by architect Josep Mas Vila.The main façade is in Neoclassical style conceals Gothic gems like the façade dated 1399 in Calle de la Ciutat. (Town Street) At the interior the Great Hall or Saló de Cent,designed by Pere Llobet and built in the 14th century.There is another interesting contemporary hall, the Hall of Chronicles, decorated with murals by Josep Maria Sert in 1928.The City Hall’s lobby and Gothic staircase are a veritable art gallery with sculptures by artists including Gargallo,Marès,Miró and others.Take on the left Calle de la Libreteria,you are on on the route of the ancient cardo maximus. Suddenly we planted in Plaza del Rey (King's Square), the center of royal power in medieval Barcelona.On the left, the Palau of Lloctinent, a large 16th century mansion was home to the Viceroy at the time of the Habsburgs, and the Inquisition,the tribunal charged with prosecuting heresy.In front of the palace "the Mirador del Rei Martí", a 16th century tower that almost deserves to be called skyscrapers,and the windows of the Salo del Tinell dated 1370, the great Gothic hall for official acts of the Palau Reial Major

.In the corner, the stairs where in 1492 the peasant Joan of Canyamàs wounded with a knife to Ferdinand, a fact that nearly cost him his life the king.Turn on the right and you can admire the tower of the royal chapel of Santa Àgata, built on Roman walls by King James II in the 16th century.Finally,the house Padellàs Clariana, a XIV century palace that was moved stone by stone in 1930 from the street to its present location Mercaders. Today it houses the Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat. Visiting the museum is highly recommended, as it allows down to the Roman Barcino.This museum preserves the ruins of Roman era and Medieval Barcelona.The ruins are from a time between 1st century BC and 7th century AD,You can discover the history of the ancient Barcino under the rule of Roman Empire.From the ground floor of the museum you take an elevator down to the excavation and you walk comfortably on ramps above the excavation and every now and then there are exhibitions describing life in the roman times.

The excavation features as a factory, a wine factory and different workshops as well as parts of the church built on top of it.After exploring the Roman substructure, you move back up into the medieval foundations of the Gothic building. Finally you return to ground level, where you learn more about the development of the modern city.You can admire in this museum many historical objects, paintings, mosaics,remains of ancient structures and walls..Coming back to Plaza San Jaume walking once again in Carrer Libreteria take Carrer del Call,continue in Carrer de la Boqueria and turn on the left in Plaça del Pi.In this charming square take a look to the church of Santa Maria del Pi. This pure Gothic building is a compendium of all the characteristic elements of this style It is said that, centuries ago, there was a pine wood in the Plaça del Pi where the church now stands.A pine tree still stands today in front of the church, providing its name pi is the Catalan word for pine as well as shade. The church of Santa Maria del Pi was built between 1319 and 1391 the masterpiece of this church is absolutely the large rose window, measuring 10 metres in diameter, which competes in size with one of the biggest in Europe: Nôtre Dame de Paris.From here take Carrer Cardenal and you are in Rambla in front of Marcat de la Boqueria.A visit in Barri Gotic is very intense but it is all really clos..

If you want you can have an appetiser and a drink in Barri Gotic at Restaurant "Els 4Gats"(4 cats) it is situated in Carrer de Montsió,3 toward Plaza Urquinaona and on the right walking toward Plaza Catalunya if you are walking in Rambla in that way.It is.a legend in Barcelona since 1897. Els Quatre Gats was opened in Barcelona on June 1897, inspired the restaurant Le Chat Noir in Paris. Stood out as an unusual place, halfway between the bars, the traditional inn and refinement of modern brewery. For its novelty, soon became the meeting point of group of artists, bohemians and intellectuals who presided over the modernist movement in the city.Santiago Rusiñol, Pablo Picasso, among others, his early paintings hung here without suspecting the value that would someday.Isaac Albéniz and Antoni Gaudí also frequented the place .Suggest..Generally this restaurant is always busy and often you have to wait long time.So.have a drink visit the restaurant and take some photos.Here you are next to Palau de la Musica in located in Carrer del Palau de la Musica,3 only 5 minutes walking, and one of the masterpieces of architecture in Barcelona.It was designed by Lluis Domenech Montaner and built between 1904 and 1908 as the headquarters of the Orfeo Catala and is funded with contributions from private entities and individuals of the Catalan society of the time.I.

The UNESCO declared it World Heritage building in 1997..The Palau de la Musica helps to understand Catalan culture in the context of its time,reflected in every decorative detail.You can have your lunch at Restaurant Bar Lobo,a wide variety of tapas,salads,fish and meat,it is near Plaza de la Boqueria and very close to Plaza Catalunya.It is situated in Carrer Pintor Fortuny,3 Enjoy ! After your lunch from Plaza Catalunya take the tube to Plaça d´Espanya only 3 intermediate stops from Plaza Catalunya, you have not to change line.Plaça Espanya is one of the most important squares in Barcelona and sits at the foot of Montjuic hill.It was built for the 1929 International Exhibition. What calls attention are two Venetian towers that are 47 meters tall. These towers were the gateway to the grounds of the International Exhibition.They were inspired by the Campanile of San Marco in Venice and the architect about this project was Ramon Reventos y Farrarons.The urbanisation of the area began in1908 and lasted until 1929, to be opened with the Universal Exposition of Barcelona..In the middle of the square is the Magic Fountain designed by architect Josep Maria Jujol, a disciple of Gaudí, three large columns,representing Religion, the Arts and Heroism and there are several sculptural groups built by sculptor Miquel Blay.The monument is a homage to water, and each sculptural group represents seas and oceans that wash the coasts of Spain.The Mediterranean sea and Ebro river is represented with a young man surrounded by youths.The Atlantic Ocean and the Tajo and Guadalquivir Rivers are represented with two old men surrounded by youths.The Cantabria Sea shows a group of youths, which represent the rivers that flow into this sea.

In Plaça d´Espanya you can see The Hotel Barcelona Plaza, on the same side of the Hotel you can see the Mall of Las Arenas the Old Plaza de Toros (formerly the bullring) Cross the square walking in Avinguda de la reina Maria Cristina, next to the monument,you can see Fira building it hosted many important fairs and expositions,it is one of the most important in Europe.Here you are in Plaça de l´Univers (Univers Square) in front of the Magic Fountains of Montjuich.Take Avinguda Riu i Taulet on the right and then you can visit Poble Espanyol. This Barcelona attraction is a small Spanish village with different quarters that replicate the style of houses and architecture from different parts of Spain.Poble Espanyol is also home to a comprehensive range of shops and workshops in crafts, where are some traditional items of Spain and also the place where there is the famous flamenco show Tablao del Carmen.The Poble Espanyol is an open-air museum in the mountain of Montjuic, which plays at 117 buildings in Spain, with its streets and squares.The Poble Espanyol was built for the International Exhibition of 1929, with the aim of showing an ideal town, Spanish style, of course. The choice of buildings to play was not random but is based on aesthetic criteria, and sought to harmonise the whole.The idea corresponded to the architect Puig Cadafalch and was carried out by architects Francesc Reventós Folger and art critic Miquel Utrillo Xavier Nogués.Although it was assumed that would be used only for exhibition, such was the success of the idea that today is one of the main attractions of Barcelona. Live there art galleries,museums,restaurants and bars,shops and two schools of art.One of the most interesting walks is the Sculpture Garden, part of the 3000 mq of green spaces that are part of the Poble Espanyol.

Do not miss an important vist to The MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) allows you to walk ten centuries of Catalan art from the year 1000 to the 20th century.Located in the National Palace in Montjuic,was built on the occasion of the International Exposition in Barcelona in1929 too.It consists of four permanent collections devoted to different periods of art history.Not to mention the impressive collections about the world of photography, drawings, engravings, posters, coins, and even a room dedicated to Picasso monograph.Rooms concerning Romanesque and Gothic art: paintings shown, sculptures, religious objects and silverware. If we talk about Roman art, the MNAC has a worldwide unique collection of Romanesque murals in terms of quantity and quality.Equally important is the collection of Gothic art,mainly painting altarpieces of the great Catalan Masters Catalana of 14th and 15th century as James Huget or Borrassà Lluí and you can visit .rooms dedicated to art of the Renaissance and Baroque.You can admire works of great European painters as Titian, Rembrandt, Zurbarán,Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens and many others.A Modern Art collection,with out-standing pieces of modernist artists like Isidre Novell, Rusiñol, Ramón Casas and Avant-Gard of the 20th century, represented by works of Antoni Tapies,Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali among others.And when you finish your visit,outside the Palace,enjoy a beautiful view from Mirador del Palau, you can admire Plaza d´Espanya from the hill.

Take now Passeig de Santa Matrona next to the palace, 10 minutes walking and visit Museo Fundació Miró.You can discover the history and the works of this other Catalan artist.Joan Miró Foundation is a beautiful Mediterranean style building designed by the architect Josep Lluis Sert. The collection consists of over 14000 pieces and covers the career of Miró.The different techniques used allow us to appreciate the versatility of one of the greatest representatives of Surrealism in the 20th century: there are paintings, ceramics, prints,sculptures and murals.The official inauguration took place in 1976, featuring works donated by Miró himself. .The museum its also as cronological o Miró artistic life..After your visit relax yourself with a coffee in the bar of Hotel Barcelona Plaza and think about tonight..You are in Plaça d´Espanya....suggest in Plaza D´Espanya you can assist to the show of Magic Fountain.. The Magic Fountain of Montjuic is a giant fountain with a circular shape. It is approximately 12 meters in diameter and can expel water at 4 feet high,it is  the main element of a set of light and water games that are developed around the axis from the Palau Nacional to the Plaza of Spain. Includes waterfalls and ponds, and in the bottom rows of light columns on either side of the avenue along with ambient music created a spectacle known around the world.It was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1929 by Carles Buïgas in the place where they were located the Four Pillars of Josep Puig demolished in 1928.THe Construction work lasted less than a year.The steps that go from the source to the Palau Nacional seem to be the perfect place to admire one of the 3 shows, although not alone, you can also find the tables of a bar located opposite the source. If you wish to be in one of these tables,you'd better arrive early as year-round attraction is the highly visited.

The show begins with great songs from the 70s and 80s moving to the beat of Queen and Freddy Mercury, as well as create visual effects that accompany the famous Eagles song: Hotel California and the pace of many other songs and artists .So if you want to have dinner here..In Poble Español there is a very good restaurant,Le Font de Prades,it is in Avenida Francesc Ferrer I Guardia,13, Catalan and Spanish cuisine, you can eat, mushrooms pie or solomillo al whisky ( pork fillet with salad and potatoes),or revuelto de chorizo (it is a scrambled of eggs with chorizo, a spicy sausage) and taste an excellent spanish ham .Or Restaurante Martí here you can taste a Biscay and rice pudding, shrimps and leeks, and morcilla with egg (morcilla is another kind of pork sausage) The Restaurant is in Carrer Consell de Cent 38,very close to Plaça D´Espanya..Walk next to the Parc de Joan Miró,on the side of Plaza d´Espanya and it is the second street on the left.Have a great night and enjoy Barcelona 


After your breakfast take the tube to Passeig de Gracia,( Paseo De Gracia).It is one of the main avenues of Barcelona and one of the most famous in Spain,due to its importance for tourism, shopping, business and modernist architecture,it is an amazing elegant boulevard where you can find all the most important fashion and lux brands, Versace, Prada,Dior, Bvlgari, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana,Rolex, Cartier etc.Paseo De Gracia is declared an UNESCO Patrimony of Humanity site. The avenue is located in the central part of the city, the Eixample district, and connects Plaza de Cataluña in the south to Gracia District situated at the north.May be similar in popularity to the Champs Elysées in Paris,it is the most expensive street in Spain after Calle Preciados of Madrid.Immediatly going out from the tube the first impressive building you can see it is Banco Vitalicio a building designed by architect Louis Garí Bonet,dated 1950.

It was one of the first skyscrapers of the city and it is a combination of monumental Classicism and strong influence of the Chicago school.Behind the Banco Vitalicio you can admire Cases Rocamora,it is a building by German architect brothers Bassegoda dated1917. It is a complex of several buildings with a uniformity to the exterior aesthetics that makes the effect of a single building. Its size,large bay windows and domes, give the appearance of a medieval palace using besides gothic curves.It is a Modernist style but we can classified it in Historicism style.In front of the Bank Vitalicio another building the Palau Marcet Comedy is one of the few urban mansions preserved in the Eixample. It was designed in 1887 by architect Tiberi Sabater in an eclectic style of Baroque and Classical in the facade, Gothic and Oriental inside..In 50 meters of space we have 3 different buildings and 3 different architectonic style.

This is Paseo de Gracia,a boulevard built for architecture,as "showroom" for artists to show their talent.Take Paseo de Gracia, on the right side next to Maria Callas gardens two other buildings in different style. On the left a complex of 9 Modernist buildings the most important among them Casa Lleó Morera Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló. At n 35 is one of the most emblematic buildings of Catalan Modernism and probably the most representative work of Domenech Montaner : Casa Lleó Morera.Completed in 1906,combines elements of several influential, Classical,Gothic and Islamic in a balanced harmony using elements of very different style..Casa Amattler at n 41 It is the result of the reform undertaken by Puig Cadafalch between 1898 and 1890 and it is an expression of a talentuous Modernist architect with a repertoire of Catalan Gothic, Mitteleuropean and Flemish styles,also here 3 styles very different and the building is very different than Casa Lleó Morera...At n 43 a masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi, Casa Battlo,dated 1906.Antoni Gaudí's masterpiece.The facade forms are sinuous,organic,it is one of its most beautiful creations, not only by the mosaic facade of undulating roof bluish or ceramic, but for everything inside the set the balcony railings and the use of ceramic polychrome.But this building is Modernist with creativity in colours and details. (This architectural complex of 3 buildings known as the "manzana de la discordia "bone of contention" for the contrast of three buildings towards accession by the most famous architects of Catalan Modernism.)Walk on Passeig de Gracia admiring many buildings til the n 92.

Here you can admire,Casa Milá La Pedrera,the most important building in Paseo de Gracia,Designed by Gaudi for the businessman Pedro Milà Camps. It is one of the masterpieces of Gaudí's architecture and Catalan,together with the Casa Batlló, the most popular and visited in Passeig de Gracia.It was built between 1905 and 1910. The characteristic stone facade of undulating forms, and chimneys that evoke medieval warrior busts, are the most representative features.It is also the spectacular design of lobbies and courtyards.It is a block of apartments,the most original in the entire city.La Pedrera often hypnotizes all people and art lovers looking at the Gaudi design lines and the use of its colours and different detailed elements in the architectonic and decorative aspect.Simply wonderful.After a great view and admiration of this building at the end of Paseo de Gracia just past Avinguda Diagonal visit the Gracia District.During Barcelona's Industrial Revolution, it became a working-class zone.the quarter before Gracia was a village on the outskirts of Barcelona, and now that is fully part of the city still retaining its small town touch of folk.It is an artistic district, famous for its Fair in August. The people decorate their homes and streets, each street has a theme.It is worth mentioning the significant and historically gypsy presence, and has helped to give it character of the neighborhood. Of it have been a number of artists, including El Pescaílla, born in the Gracia Street, he is considered the founder of the Catalan Rumba, later other artists as Los Manolos or Sabor de Gracia, or Moncho, considered the king's interpreter of bolero.

Today Gracia with its narrow streets and small squares is a Bohemian place for a drink in the Plaça del Sol, Plaça de Joanic or in Carrer Verdi Park.The character of Gracia and of the gracienses it reflects the number of many of its streets: Liberty, Fraternity, Equality, John Lennon Square, Plaza de la Revolucion..Gracia is also modernism,next to Fontana Tube station,you can admire another masterpiece by Gaudi Casa Vicens in Carrer Carolines,24,in 2005,this house was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the house built in Barcelona between 1883 and 1888 for the broker Manuel Vicens i Montaner.It is an early work by Gaudí, the building is inspired by oriental art,rooted in Moorish architecture,relevant for the mosaics of multicolored ceramic fragments.Of note is the magnificent palm leaves gate wrought iron.This construction and reveals the explosion of imagination and bright ideas that Gaudí then stopped growing. Gracia also means Parc Guell,you can reach Parc Guell walking for 20 minutes from Joanic ar Tube Station or take the bus N6 from Joanic Square and stop in Camelies-Ca l´Alegre de Dalt, cross the Travessera de Dalt Avenue,and then walk aprox 600 meters til Carrer Olot where there is Parc Guell entrance) The Parc is an UNESCO World Heritage site the story is curious and fascinating.Eusebi Güell, businessman, politician and member of a prestigious family of gentry Catalan wanted to create an English garden, in a conversation with Gaudi the idea to develop a park with elegant mansions,and this magnificent garden city was planned for 60 houses..Then the artistic talent of Gaudi did the rest.

This magnificent garden city was planned for 60 houses.Although Gaudí turned in this work, once again, his prodigious imagination, the project was a resounding commercial failure. Only two plots were sold. Due to this lack of acceptance, years later, this area became a public park in Barcelona.When you start the visit In the centre of a double staircase, a large dragon welcomes you. One can see that the decoration of the entire area is made of the coating used so often in his works Irregularly shaped broken tiles,which fit perfectly curved surfaces that created the brilliant architect.After climbing the ladder, you reach a large area covered, supported by 86 Doric columns, which was scheduled to dedicate to the market stalls where people could be provided for future city-garden.The beautiful ceiling roses are made of coloured pieces of tile and glass.Create a residential estate in an area almost free of vegetation, for that reason is called Bald Mountain,with steep slopes,stony and devoid of natural sources, like a work impossible at that time. Gaudí resolved, one by one, all the problems that were presented, from the collection of rainwater to use the slopes to build winding roads.Gaudí flatly refused to clear the forest to trace the paths.By contrast, drawing on uneven terrain,created trails covered porches supported by columns with inclined. Despite the apparent thinness of these, reminiscent of palm trunks have been of outstanding weather resistance to attack. By using the very stones of the place, got even more, that architecture was an integral part of the natural landscape.UNESCO appointed to the Park Güell, in 1984, artistic monument of international protection.The pavilion located at the entrance of the park, and intended to lodge, built with stones from the same place, covered on top with mosaics. The colour of this cover was chosen taking into account the colouring of the environment.

The irregular shapes of the roof seem to remember the scales and roughness of a strange monster. This small building looks out of a fairy tale.If you want you can enjoy your lunch in Parc Guell, there is a restaurant cafeteria there.And after an art full immersion like this.Come back later to Joanic Square and take the tube til Verdaguer Station (it is only one stop) and change line in Verdaguer and take the tube to Sagrada Familia,(only 1 stop)Here you can visit the symbol, the attraction number one in this beautiful city La Sagrada Familia.The Sagrada Familia is probably the most amazing church in Spain.Incomplete before the designer Antonio Gaudi died in an accident,remains as another triumphant addition to the portfolio of this talented architect.The same is buried in the crypt beneath the temple. A leader in the Modernist tradition,Gaudí chose the church as an expressionist design (much like the Eiffel Tower in Paris) Construction began in 1882 with Francisco de Paula Villar as an architect designing a Gothic building. But with only part of the crypt and Gaudí built this resignation took control of the work at the age of 31 years. As usual in Catalan, from original sketches was improvising as construction work progressed, changing the project entirely with a more ambitious and original. Left almost finished the Nativity façade, to serve as an example for their followers, and a tower, one of the most innovative idea for its design and taper high rise.Today, the Sagrada Familia is still under construction and are finished facades of the Nativity and the Passion with their towers, and has begun the Glory façade and interior vaults.When the project is complete will have a total of 18 towers.The 8 built and part of the 12 lower, 4 in each of the three facades, dedicated to the apostles The next group consists of 4 high towers dedicated to the evangelists. And to finish a column of larger diameter on the apse, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and a central, dedicated to Jesus Christ. The latter topped the temple and is the largest of all the towers with 170 meters of the temple high.This masterpiece by Gaudí was appointed in 2005 by UNESCO as World Heritage.In addition you can climb the building by a lift and visiting later the Casa Museo Gaudí with a combined ticket.

Relax yourself now,you can come back to Ramblas for some shopping or in Paseo de Gracia, or Gran Via de les Corts Catalants, and about tonight ..Well one option ..Flamenco show in Tablao El Cordobes with dinner. In this Tablao performed stars of Flamenco, as Belen Maya,La Farruca,Alejandro Granados,Juan Amaya and Carmen Ledesma.(recommended to book the day before) the Tablao is in La Rambla,35 not far from Mirador Colon..You can enjoy after the dinner and show a walk near the Barcelona Port and the sea ..Another option romantic and charming if you are in sweet company ..you are in the Gaudi City, a dinner in Restaurante Casa Calvet, it is a modernist building designed by this great architect, it is in Carrer Casp, 48, very close to Plaça Urquinaona and not far from Plaça Catalunya and then a bottle of champagne in the classic Café Zurich in Plaza Catalunya and walk in Rambla at night.. ..Barcelona has a vibrant nightlife as third option, you can have dinner and then night in Barcelona..you can go to the area next to Via Augusta,have dinner there and starting your club tour you can find Sutton Music Club, Luz De Gas, Costa Breve and Otto Zutz, so you can have a great night and then breakfast near Ramblas in Café Pastis in Carrer de Santa Monica,enjoy Barcelona tonight !

After your breakfast and depending your time,free time to enjoy shopping or other activities and  departure to El Prat Barcelona Airport (30 minutes aprox from the centre town) Barcelona is an amazing city with every time the desire to come back,Adeu Barcelona, or better .See you,.Hasta luego Barcelona.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Hotels in Barcelona

Hotel Casa Fuster
Hotel Neri Relais and Chateaux
Hotel Claris
Hotel Bagues
Hotel El Palace
Hotel Majestic & Spa
Hotel Arts
Hotel Villa Emilia
Hotel roger de Lluria
Hotel Duquesa de Cardona 
Hotel España
Hotel Mercer Barcelona
Hotel SixtyTwo
Hotel H10 Casanova
Hotel Pulitzer


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