A February 2001 trip
to Barcelona by Taylor252
Quote: Barcelona is very different from Madrid. In fact, this area of Spain was persecuted under the leadership of Franco. Now they are dancing again. We found several interesting things to do and see.
Attraction | "Aquarium"
The walk from our cruise ship was a bit longer than it looked because we had to go all the way to the land, over a block and then back out on the pier end of the Los Ramblus. It took us almost 30 minutes. But it was the highlight of Barcelona for me. I've enclosed a few pictures below to give you the sense of what the experience was like. We don't have any kids anymore, but I'm sure this would keep them happy, entertained and learning something for quite a while.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 10, 2003
Aquarium of Barcelona (L’Aquarium de Barcelona)
Moll d'Espanya del Port Vell
+34 93 2217474
Attraction | "Barcelona Cathedral & the Gothic Quarter"
Other buildings in the area include the Casa de la Pia Almoina built in the 15th century. Next to the Cathedral on one side is the Frederic Mares Museum and a little further on is the Clariana Padellas house with contains the City History Museum. This museum has Roman, Visigoth and Moorish remains in it. Also in this immediate area is the Placa del Rei, which is a medieval site and also contains the archives of the crown of Aragon. The Chapel of Santa Agueda, which is also a 14th-century Gothic church, is also here. On the other side of the Cathedral is the Casa de l’Ardiaca and a unique historic site called the Deacon’s house, which was built in the 12th century over one section of the old Roman walls.
All in all, many buildings, many old buildings and many famous parts of old buildings. I could not keep it all straight in my head till I saw a map of the places we were visiting. So, I took a picture of that map and included it here. In short, the Gothic Quarter and the Barcelona Cathedral specifically represent the medieval to renaissance sections of the historic district of Barcelona. There is also a fragment of a Roman temple to Apollo in the courtyard area in front of the main facade of the Cathedral. Four columns are all that’s left but it’s interesting that these are even here with all the Christian church building that went on in the area. Also, on the backside of the Cathedral is the remains of the old Roman wall of the old city. In the picture below, it is the lowest strata of rock and frankly looks old!
One last thing . . . I’m going to try and tell you WHERE the Gothic quarter is! Most maps will have the Plaza de Catalunya clearly marked. (It is at one end of the Ramblas) There is a street named Ave. Portal de l’Angel. Head towards the ocean or east on that and it will dead end into the Cathedral and the Gothic Quarter.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 24, 2003
Cathedral of Santa Eulalia (Barcelona Cathedral)
Barcelona, Spain 08002
+933 102 580
Attraction | "Maremagnum (Mall) and Souvenir Shopping"
On the other side of shopping -- looking for souvenirs, the Ramblas is a good place to start. I collect lapel pins from everywhere we go. (If anyone else collects, I’d love to hear from you.) Anyway, a found many wonderful pins on the Ramblas (near the harbor end.) Another place we found a good selection of wares was near the Unfinished Cathedral -- across the street from the Nativity side actually. This shop had wonderful metal plates that were brass, then covered with black paint and then etched with wonderfully complex patterns. There was also ceramic pottery done in traditional Catalonia styles. I’ve included pictures of both. Small items were inexpensive ($4-5 dollars American) and the larger you went the more they cost. Since Barcelona was the last stop on our trip I had a luggage problem to deal with. So I bought 3 very small black and gold etched plates which I love. So enjoy shopping in Barcelona and may you bring back as many treasures as I did!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 24, 2003
Moll d'Espanya, s/n
Barcelona, Spain 08003
+34 93 2258100
The cathedral is unfinished. Gaudi died in 1926 as a result of a streetcar accident and that began a controversy. Do we finish the building with what we think he wanted (Many of Gaudi’s plans were destroyed under Franco’s rule) or do we let another architect take a shot at completing the building in a similar style? The Cathedral was started in 1883, so that means Gaudi himself worked on the project for 43 years! Our tour guide seemed to think a compromise has been struck and they will try and be true to Gaudi’s dream while allowing modern architects some "wiggle room". I’m not completely sure what that means, but that's what was said!
The church actually has two front side rather than a back and front. One front represents the birth of Christ and the other front represents the passion and resurrection of Christ. I put a picture in below of both sides. Do you think they look like they go together? Originally it was intended that there be 18 tall spires: 12 for the Apostles, 4 for the Holy Family, and the tallest representing Christ. To date, 8 have been constructed that are 100m tall. Both facades have a great deal of detail. On the Nativity side, there are statues depicting the birth of Christ and other scenes from his life. You must look carefully to see them as the facade has a "find Waldo" kind of feel to it. The Passion facade was not put in place till 1952 and was done under the supervision of Gaudi’s colleagues Domenec Sugranes, Quintana and Isidre Puig i Boada.
There is much symbolism throughout the structure. The spire over the Charity Gate on the Nativity side was designed to look like a cypress tree. Attached to the "tree" is a flock of birds representing Christians flocking to the church. The interior columns are said to represent a forest, to put us in contact with God’s natural world. In 1992 work on the Unfinished Cathedral began again, and as work proceeds (there was scaffolding everywhere,) a third facade representing the Glory of Christ should emerge.
This is an awe-inspiring albeit unfinished cathedral and as a symbol of Catalonia Spain is a must see. For my eyes, which are used to seeing buildings go up in under a year, it’s hard to understand why it’s taking so long to get this done. However, this is no ordinary building. Supports and arches are being used in non-traditional ways and care must be taken. If you’re going to be in Barcelona, go see this place and see what you think.
Attraction | "Los Ramblas (Pedestrian Street)"
The Ramblas is quite a tourist district with many major sites along its length including several museums and a palace. I’ll list them out in a minute. In addition to major structures, there are many street vendors. They sell postcards and souvenirs as well as newspapers, flowers and food. There are also street artists willing to do a caricature or sell their more expensive pictures. It is also worth mentioning that in this large city as is the case in many of the Mediterranean cities, pickpockets thrive. Be sure your valuables are kept in difficult to reach spots. (no wallets in back pockets, etc.).
Starting at the Placa de Catalunya:
••The Canalettes Fountain -- a 19th-century wrought-iron drinking fountain with a legend that says take a drink from this fountain and you are sure to return to Barcelona.
••The Royal Academy of Science and Art -- which is now the Theater Poliorama
••The Church of Betlem -- One of the few examples of Baroque architecture.
••The Hospital of the Santa Creu -- a 15th-century site which now houses the Catalan Library and the Academy of Medicine among others.
••The Gran Teatre dei Liceu -- It suffered its third fire in 1994 and needed to be completely redone again.
•• Palau Güell -- This building is signed by Gaudi and now houses the Museum of Theatrical Art.
••Teatre Principal -- Barcelona’s first theater (which still has the original front).
••The Wax Museum
The other end of Los Ramblas is dominated by a huge statue to Christopher Columbus that was erected in 1888 on the occasion of the first Universal Exhibition. Also close by is the Barcelona Maritime Museum which is housed in the 14th century Drassanes or Royal Shipyards. Some of the greatest warships of Spain were constructed here. There is more that could be said, but I’ll leave it to the reader to fill in the rest of the details.
La Rambla (Las Ramblas) Pedestrian Mall
St. Louis, Missouri