Casa de les Punxes: Modernism by Puig i Cadafalch

Casa de les Punxes: Modernism by Puig i Cadafalch

Casa de les Punxes or also called Casa Terradas is a building design by the modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch. The house is located right in the Diagonal Avenue, one of the most important ones in the city.In 1905, Mr Terradas gave the job to Cadafalch to design a house for his three sisters. The result was Casa Terradas, a building that reminds you about the medieval castles, with six towers that are crowned with a cone-shaped needle each. This is the reason why it is called Casa de les Punxes, punxes in Catalan means needles, the House of the Needles.Mr Terradas was an important Catalan textile industrial businessmen. He had three sisters and a daughter and he took care of his family leaving a small fortune to them and Casa de les Punxes. As part of the decoration, there is an a…

Venetian towers Plaça Espanya

Venetian towers Plaça Espanya

Plaça Espanya is one of the main squares in the city, although is not a pedestrian is in the Sants city center, with Las Arenas shopping Centre, the MNAC and the Barcelona Fair all in the same square space.One of the things that take your attention are the Venetian Towers that guard the entrance of the Reina Maria Cristina Avenue, there is one tower on either side of the street. The towers are 47 metres high and they are built mainly with red brick and topped by a pyramidal roof. As a curiosity, the towers were modelled on the campanile od St Mark's Basilica in Venice.The towers were built for the Barcelona International Exhibition in 1929 along with the Greek Theatre, the Spanish Village (Poble Espanyol) on the hill of Montjuïc that is located nearby.The towers are ornamental, they ha…

Arc de triomf: a triumphal arch in Barcelona!

Arc de triomf: a triumphal arch in Barcelona!

The Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, is a triumphal arch in Barcelona that was built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas.The arch is built in reddish brickwork following the Neo-Mudéjar style, the friezes at the front and at the back has sculptures, one of them  from Josep Llimona, an important artist in Catalonia.You can find stone bats attached to the triumphal arch, it was the emblem for King Jaume I, the bat was his lucky charm, he liberated Valencia, Menorca and Mallorca from the Moors. Bats can be found in many structures of Modernism and Catalan Art Nouveau. Animal symbols are present and often used in Modernism and they symbolize the independence of Catalonia. The dragon, symbolizes Sant Jordi, the Sant Patron of Catalonia.I…

Canaletes fountain: celebrate Barça victories there!

Canaletes fountain: celebrate Barça victories there!

Canaletes fountain is a symbol in Barcelona city and famous to be the meeting place for locals and visitors to celebrate the victories of Barça, Football club Barcelona. The fountain has become one of the most visited landmarks, and when something is being celebrated for Barça you can see a huge gathering in front of it.The popular name Canaletes has direct associations with the sporting victories of the local team, in 1900 it was a place of gathering already because if where they put the scores of the football teams, so any fans went there to check them out.The scores were written in a blackboard right in front of the newspaper's office in la Rambla. The name Canaletes though comes from the 14th century, and it is referred to the water channels that brought water down from Collserola hil…

The golden fish by Frank Gehry

The golden fish by Frank Gehry

If you have been in Barcelona and walked around the seaside I am sure you have seen a giant golden fish but it could be that you didn't know it was from Frank Gehry. The fish has become one of the symbols of post-Olympic Barcelona, it is interesting how the sunlight gets reflected into the scales of the fish.In 1992, Barcelona started transforming the seafront, it is said that before the Olympics Barcelona was living giving the back to the sea. Frank Gehry places the giant fish right in front of the Hotel Arts and next to the Mapfre tower in the sea front.The giant fish is 56 metres long and 35 metres high and it is a good way to remind us about how lucky we are to have a wonderful city bathe by the Mediterranean sea.The materials used for the sculpture are stainless steel that is support…

Plaça Espanya: Fountain light show

Plaça Espanya: Fountain light show

Plaça Espanya is one of the most important and biggest squares in Barcelona, it was built due to the 1929 International Exhibition that was held at the foot of Montjuïc mountain. The square is the junction of several major thoroughfares: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Avinguda del Paral·lel, Carrer de la Creu Coberta and Carrer de Tarragona, and leads to the Palau Nacional through Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, which houses one of Catalonia's finest museums, the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.There is a fountain at the centre of the square that was designed by Josep Maria Jujol, a collaborated of Gaudí. Apart from the fountain, there are two venetian towers that take your attention the first time you see the square.They are two towers of 47m tall each and they act as an open …

Carrer Petritxol: famous chocolate street in Barcelona

Carrer Petritxol: famous chocolate street in Barcelona

If you are looking for streets with this special charm in Barcelona, you can't miss carrer Petritxol, it is a pedestrian street known to be the street of chocolate in Barcelona and I will explain to you why. Carrer Petritxol is documented since 1340, and the name petrítxol comes from the word "pedrítxol" that refers to those stones that didn't allow the carriages to come inside a certain street. Petrítxol was the first pedestrian street in Barcelona city in 1959.If you walk along the street you will notice that there are ceramic tiles that show information about parties, weddings or any other kind of social gathering that took place in the chocolateries in the street. The tiles also have information on the birth or death of famous people in the city such as Montserrat Caballé who used to …

Plaça del Pi, a hidden square

Plaça del Pi, a hidden square

Plaça del Pi is one of my favorite squares, I recommend you to pass by as it has a very nice vibe, with Santa Maria el Pi church on it and the charming square is one of the musts in the Gothic area. The square is surrounded by old decorated façades antique shops and old bars and restaurants. There is also a little artisan market of food products that I will explain you about, a nice catch for foodie souvenir products!Plaça del Pi is located right at the end of Petrítxol street, just off Las Ramblas. The Plaça del Pi is called literally the square of the pine, because when the square was opened there was a large pine tree in the middle of the square, with the time the pine had to be replaced so you won't see the original, of course.Santa Maria del PiSanta Maria del Pi Is the church locat…

Casa fuster: most expensive house in Barcelona

Casa fuster: most expensive house in Barcelona

Casa Fuster is a building by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner built in 1908 and one of the most sumptuous examples of modernism in Barcelona. Casa Fuster is located in Passeig de Gràcia street, the high-end street for shopping in Barcelona. It is considered to be the most costly building ever built in the city, but although it is the most costly, there is a combination of simplicity and the decoration of the building. On 1911, it was considered the most expensive house in the city because of the materials used in its construction.The façade, it was the first one done with whtie marble in Barcelona city.The original owner of the building was Mariano Fuster, a wealthy Mallorcan who gave the house as a gift to his wife, Consol Fabra. Mr Mariano Fuster i Fuster, was a gentleman from th…

Palau de la Música Catalana: a modernist jewel

Palau de la Música Catalana: a modernist jewel

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall in Barcelona with a close relationship with the Catalan culture of all times and especially through music. The building was designed by the famous Lluís Domènech i Montaner, built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català that is a choral society founded in the XIX century and it was leading the Catalan Cultural movement known as the Reinaxença. It is interesting to know that the project was possible due to the society who contributed to finance the Palau as well as industrialists and bourgeoisies who contributed too. The Palau de la Música was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1997 along with the Hospital de Sant Pau. The Palau offers a wide variety of performances during the year that go from the symphonic and chamber music to Jazz …

Torre Agbar: the colourful tower in Barcelona

Torre Agbar: the colourful tower in Barcelona

Torre Agbar is a colourful 38-story skyscraper located near Plaça les Glòries, right in front of les  Glòries shopping centre. The Torre Agbar is the entrance to the new technological district in Barcelona called 22@.The Agbar tower was designed by the famous architect Jean Novel and it was named Agbar due to its original owners who were Agbar group -water company in Barcelona-, in Catalan Aigües de Barcelona.The tower was inaugurated on 2005 and Jean Novel's idea about the shape of the tower is supposed to be a geyser rising into the air and they say it was inspired by Montserrat mountain in Barcelona too. The truth is that everybody sees the tower and relates it to a phallic shape, due to that the building is known by locals such as the suppository, the shell, the cock and many more…

Casa Amatller

Casa Amatller

The Casa Amatller by Puig i Cadafalch, an architect contemporary of Gaudí, that has a neo-Gothic style inspired by the houses in Netherlands. The Casa Amatller belongs to the block known as "illa de la discòrdia" in Barcelona. Together with Casa Batlló by Gaudí, and the Casa Lleó Morera, by Domènech i Montaner, is part of the "illa de la discòrdia" or block of discord of Barcelona, so-named because it features buildings in sharply contrasting styles.There was a personal competition between contemporary architects to see who was able to built the most incredible buildings . Curiously enough, none of the three houses in the Discord block were newly built houses but all were refurbishments of existing buildings.Casa Amatller was a originally built by Antoni Robert in 1875 and in 1898 the Ama…

Hospital de Sant Pau: World's largest Art Nouveau site

Hospital de Sant Pau: World's largest Art Nouveau site

The Hospital de Sant Pau is the world's largest Art Noveau site,  no wonder it is awarded by the UNESCO since 1997 as World Heritage site status, you can imagine how big the complex is and its importance. The hospital has gone through a restoration process and recently opened its doors to the public through guided visits on the inside.Is one of the oldest medical institutions in Europe, it was built between 1905 an 1930 by Domènech i Montaner as a garden city for nursing the sick. The building was not only serving the purpose but it has become one of the references in Art Nouveau in the city. It was used as a public hospital for more than a century and after that it was refurbished mainly the pavilions that needed some help to shine again as they did in the beginning.There is a network of…

Montjuic Castle: great views of Barcelona!

Montjuic Castle: great views of Barcelona!

Montjuïc Castle is one of the fortresses that still remains in the city, as we see it nowadays though is the result of many modifications that happened in the XVIII century and those changes were meant to strengthen the defence of the fortress. The perfect location of the hill with excellent views of the plain Barcelona and the coastal area was the ideal place for Iberians to settle, from the 6th century the hill has been occupied by Iberians and Romans among others. Of course, it was a strategic defense point at any moment in time from the Iberians to nowadays, and it certainly was during the Civil War and during the Franco regime. The Montjuïc Castle is certainly a live legend of Catalonia's history, possibly the most famous part of it is the recent history when on 1940 the president o…

The Columbus monument in Barcelona

The Columbus monument in Barcelona

The Columbus Monument is a 60 metres tall tower with a Columbus statue on top that is located at the lower end of Las Ramblas. The monument was built for the Universal Exhibition held in Barcelona in 1888 and the purpose was to honor the first voyage of Columbus to the American continent.The monument reminds us that Christopher Columbus reported directly to Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V in Barcelona actually it is said that he went to Plaça del  Rei to report on his first trip to the new continent.The funny thing about the statue, is that it is supposed to point to America -or at least it would make sense-, the new world he discovered but he actually points in the opposite direction, some say that points east as is where it was his home city: Genova but some others says it is n…

Plaça del Rei, a medieval square with history beneath

Plaça del Rei, a medieval square with history beneath

Plaça del Rei is my favorite square in Barcelona, you have the feeling of walking in the medieval Barcelona through the Monumental buildings that are in the square. You can find the Royal palace, the Palau Reial Major as we call it and the buildings surrounding the palace are the perfect painting to see how it was the city in Middle Ages.The Palau Reial Major is right at the back in Plaça del Rei and has a watchtower of King Martí on one side. The Palace was the residence of the counts of Catalonia from 13th to 15th century, the building has a gothic style and although the building can be traced back up to 11th century, the appearance is from the 13th century as there were so alterations made at the time.One of the famous rooms inside the Palace is the Great Hall or Saló del Tinell, a spe…

Plaça Reial, a beautiful porticoes square

Plaça Reial, a beautiful porticoes square

Plaça Reial is a beautiful square in the Gothic area, literally called the Royal square. There is a nice atmosphere in the square surrounded by bars and restaurants with a fountain in the middle and surrounded by palm trees.Is a place of gathering at night as there are many clubs and discotheques around such as Karma, Jamboree and Sidecar, it is a vibrant spot at night and normally the age trend is people around their 30s.In 1835 the square did not exist as it was occupied by a Capuchin convent but after many religious buildings disappeared in Barcelona it left a huge vacant spot. Few years later the square was built by Francesc Molina, it was supposed to have a statue of the king of the time, King Ferdinand VII but it never happened and in the end the fountain is what was placed in the m…

Plaça St Jaume

Plaça St Jaume

Plaça Sant Jaume is the heart of Barcelona administration, right in the same square fagin to each other we can find Catalonia's government and on the other side Barcelona city hall. Funny enough, in the same square is where the main roman streets of the old Barcino -the name of the city in Roman times-, the Cardo and the Decumanus meet. Nowadays the Cardo will belong to Llibreteria and el Call streets and the Decumanus belongs to Bisbe, Ciutat and Regomir streets.Right in this place where the two streets crossed is where it was the Roman Forum -totally destroyed- and the Temple of Augustus, that still remain 4 columns from the temple, located at the time in the Tàber hill at Paradis street.Plaça Sant Jaume is a bit of our protest place in the city, when there are demonstrations -always …

Sagrada familia will be finished in 2026

Sagrada familia will be finished in 2026

Sagrada Familia is one of the top star monuments in Barcelona and known around the world as this church has been under construction for more than 133 years due to its particular way of funding the cost of the building. The funding is done exclusively through donations and what the monument earns from selling the tickets, the original idea is that if it was a church for the population it had to be built for them and by them so that is why every grain counts to make it happen. When Gaudí was asked at his time why Sagrada Familia took that long and he said that his client was not in a hurry, referring to God.It is true though that not only the funding has caused the delay of building the church but also political issues and protests, financial problems as well as the Civil War in Spain among…

Las Ramblas: the most famous street in Barcelona

Las Ramblas: the most famous street in Barcelona

La Rambla is a must walk street, it is 1.2 kilometres long and it is one of the most famous streets in the city along with the high-end street Passeig de Gràcia. La Rambla, was the first and only space in the city after the medieval narrow streets, where the citizens could stroll and spend their leisure time. Barcelona broke her fortress on XIX century and la Rambla was the one and only space at the time that was wide enough to have a volume of people walking on it.Rambla means stream, a little torrent or flow of water that went through there when it rained, the original Catalan name for this stream was areny but with the influence of the arabs it the name that was established was Rambla.Because of its centric location it was not only a place for the nobles and bourgeois, but for everyo…

Gothic Quarter Barcelona: Columns of temple Augustus

Gothic Quarter Barcelona: Columns of temple Augustus

Barcelona's Gothic Quarter has plenty of hidden secrets, and today I will share with you one of those that has been best-kept, and it is inside a building on Carrer Paradís. Inside what it was a medieval courtyard, there are four columns from the temple of Augustus that have survived 2000 years and we can still see them all covered in this courtyard that preserves them.These columns are witnesses of the roman origins of the city that were in the gothic area. The columns are all that remains from the Temple of Augustus built in 1st century BC in Carrer Paradís, which means paradise as once there was a magnificent garden in this location around the temple. The temple was dedicated to the worship of Emperor Augustus, the columns are 9 metres tall and were part of Barcelona's Forum at that ti…

Barcelona cathedral

Barcelona cathedral

The cathedral is one of the most beautiful gothic buildings in town, no doubt about that. It is located in plaça de la Seu, where there is still part of the Roman fortress of the city that remains, there is also a big square where events are organized. If you visit the cathedral at the weekend normally on Saturdays at 18:30 and Sundays at 12:00 you will see people dancing sardanas -a traditional dance in a circle-.I would recommend you to see it on daylight but also at night as illuminated is magnificent. Let's do a bit of history tour, the construction of the building was in 11th century and then it was renovated with a neo-gothic façade in 1890. The church houses 29 chapels, and 10 of those are around the apse of the altar.The Cathedral is dedicated to Santa Eulàlia Martyr, the second p…

Magic Fountain in Barcelona

Magic Fountain in Barcelona

The magic fountain of Montjuïc is the biggest ornamental fountain in the city and it was built on 1929 for the International Exhibition. The magic fountain offers a show of music and color, water acrobatics, and lights that generate over 50 kinds of shades. The fountain has become one of the most popular attractions and is where the Piromusical from La Mercè festivity is held.But why is it called the Magic Fountain? During the show there is music playing and it seems that the water dances along with the rhythm with moving water jets, unfolds, rises and falls all synchronized with the light and music.The Magic Fountain, is a masterpiece designed by the engineer Carles Buigas, and was with no doubt one of the big successes of the International Exhibition. In 1992 for the Barcelona's Olym…

Civil War refuge 307 in Poble Sec in Barcelona

Civil War refuge 307 in Poble Sec in Barcelona

The Civil War in Barcelona between 1936 until 1939 left Barcelona devasted because of the bombs. Spain became a trial and error location for the Second World War and civilians and cities were bombarded indiscriminately. This is the beginning of the shelter construction in the city, nowadays some of them still remain untouched, such us the one in Poble Sec, called refuge 307. Civil War in Barcelona We need to start with a bit of history, Barcelona was the first city that was bombarded systematically against the population during the Spanish Civil War for the german and Italian army. Some experts say that it was a trial and error for the Second World War. What is certain is that the population moved so fast in this situation, they had to find a solution and communities gather in their neig…

Keith Haring in Barcelona, aids mural

Keith Haring in Barcelona, aids mural

Keit Haring was a famous American artist and activist who was known in the 80's New York street's culture. Haring had a publicity background and very visual style, his art was very controversial and political. Haring was very used to work on his art very quickly, he was famous for his work on the subway which meant that the had to create quickly in a few hours to not get caught. "The radiant baby" was on of the most famous art pieces of him. He created more than 50 public art pieces between 1982 and 1989 in different cities around the world. Keith Haring in Barcelona In a tour around Spain on 1989 to attend to the Arco fair in Madrid, he came to Barcelona. In Barcelona he met Montse Guillén the owner of the restaurant The International, a place he used to go in NYC. Montse suggested that …

Casa Lleó Morera, a modernist house by Domenech i Muntaner

Casa Lleó Morera, a modernist house by Domenech i Munt…

Casa Lleó Morera is one of the houses of the Block of Discord. The block of Discord it is famous to have in it 4 modernist buildings built by the most famous catalan architects: Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Enric Sagnier one very near the other. The houses are the Casa Lleó-Morera by Lluís Domènech i Montaner; Casa Mulleras by Enric Sagnier; Casa Bonet by Marcel·lí Coquillat i Llofriu; Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch; and Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí The block of discord is the name locals gave to this group of houses, there is a greek mythology called the apple of discord that tell the story of a wedding. All Gods are invited to the wedding, except Eris the goddess of discord, she got angry to not be invited and showed up giving as a gift…

Poble Espanyol, all Spain in the same place in Barcelona!

Poble Espanyol, all Spain in the same place in Barcelo…

What if you could visit all Spain in the same place? Well, this is possible in Barcelona in Poble Espanyol. Poble Espanyol gathers in the same place reproductions of buildings from places all over Spain in Barcelona. The story of Poble Espanyol starts in the International Exhibition in 1929, they decided to built this place a representation of architecture and artisans of all over the country. The first thought was to demolish the building after the event, but they decided to keep it. In Poble Espanyol, there are representations of buildings and culture from all Spain, real buildings reproduced in there. The authors went through the country to take pictures and paintings of the buildings so they could built reproductions in Barcelona, in Montjuic. In total, they visited more than 600 town…

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