Barcelona is the city with a soul from which Columbus set out to conquer the world
In the Italian port of Genoa, you can board an ocean liner. After about 20 hours of travel across the Mediterranean, the ship arrives in Barcelona. According to legend, Barcelona was founded by the Carthaginians under the command of Hamilcar Barca (Hannibal’s father). The city has undergone many changes in the meantime. The city expanded a lot even to the Monjuic hill (once a distant province), especially after the Summer Olympics in 1992. There is not even a meter of empty space here because new palaces, arenas, stadiums, boulevards, parks and buildings have been built on all surfaces. There is no Columbus sailing ship on the coast, but the double-decker red-green “sight-seeing” buses welcome tourists there. The price of a 4-hour city tour is around 4 euros. The tour starts from the most important old city quarters to the ultra-modern ones. Tourists can leave the bus and with the same ticket later continue the tour with another bus of the same company.
Barcelona is a city with a soul, with what is from the distant past and what has been recently built
The city is distinctive, recognizable and unique primarily because of the Sagrada Familia cathedral (an unfinished work by the famous Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi). Therefore, Gaudi Park is an essential location in the city. The park is located on the former property of Gaudi’s patron and friend Eusebillo Guello – who was enthusiastic about the idea of building a small town in the middle of the park close to Barcelona. He divided the land property into 70 plots, although only 3 were sold. Beautiful family houses were built on them, surrounded by bushes of blooming purple wisteria and other vegetation. Gaudi lived in one of them. The project was called “The small town in the park”. In 1992, the city council took over the property of Eusebio Guello, turning the property into a city park. This is how Gaudi was able to create this wonderful park. The entrance is a unique combination of ceramics, wrought iron and stone. The spacious plateau of the Grand Plaza has a fence made of broken ceramic tiles. From that vantage point, one can see the entire city bordered by the blue of the sea. The return is planned along paths also made by Gaudi. A beautiful corridor leads to the foothills. In fact, people say that Gaudi had rheumatism and pain, so he designed this kind of footbridge under a gentle slope with a vault that holds caryatids made of rough stone.
We recommend a visit to the famous Exampla in the old part of the city and the Esanche settlement (designed in 1850 by the mayor of Barcelona, Idefonso Serda, on an empty space outside the city walls). He built buildings with internal courtyards (“patios” in Spanish), which were overlooked by all the main rooms of the apartments. This neighborhood is crossed by 2 main avenues Diagonal 8 which runs diagonally through the neighborhood) and Passeo de Grazia (where the most beautiful houses in Barcelona are).
Passeo de Grazia is an unusually beautiful neighborhood built of stepped blocks
The blocks descend towards the shore like stone waves. In the center of the neighborhood is the house “Visense” with a facade made of blue ceramic plates of recognizable architecture. On the outskirts of Grazia is the imposing Sagrada Familia cathedral – according to many, the most beautiful building in the city. Some claim that this cathedral is more like a ruin than a holy place. Even they do not dispute that the Sagrada Familia is the most striking building in the city, Eight slender towers tear the sky. The tops of the bell towers shine and sparkle thanks to countless 24-karat gold baubles. In 1905 Gaudi began construction of the cathedral. The portal was first designed and dedicated to the birth of Christ. The sculptures in the central part are surrounded by characters from the Apocalypse. A careful observer will not miss the cabalistic symbols that the architect transferred from the secret stories of the nearby city of Gerona. Gaudi died before completing the construction and was buried in the crypt of the cathedral. At the beginning of 2001, the cathedral began to be officially used. Gaudi was a sublime creator who forever marked a time, a country and a city.
Barcelona has 2 more temples of monumental appearance
These are the cathedral dedicated to Saint Eulalia (which dominates the Gothic Quarter) and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar built in the 15th century in the Catalan Gothic style. From the Church of the Holy Family, tourists can walk to Diagonal Avenue. At one of the intersections is a block of buildings called the “Apple of Discord”. The facades of the buildings are unusual in their variety. Not a single element is repeated on such a large surface. Each element is unique and exceptional. The houses were created and belong to the “Catalan Modern” style. Here, every building gives visitors a sigh of delight. For example, the third house “Batllo” is the work of the architect Gaudi. It is a palace made in the shape of the helmet of Saint Giorgio (the national saint of Catalonia). The ground floor and upper parterre resemble caves, while the unusual balcony is actually a rose grown from the body of a monster. There is also “La Pedrera” again the work of Gaudi. This building is both a masterpiece of architecture and the central decoration of Passeo de Garcia. The facade is made of stone blocks made by top stonemasons. Master iron-workers also implemented bold and unusual ideas of the architect Gaudi. Thus, the fences of the terraces were shaped according to Gaudi’s wishes. The clergy intervened in the whole matter, opposing the architect’s demands to place a monumental statue of the Virgin of Rosario on the roof. Gaudí was an exceptional believer and was deeply disappointed by the ban on the priesthood. The building needed to be completed, so instead of the Virgin Mary, the builder decorated the roof with chimneys in the shape of knights. Tourists who want to see the La Pedrera building (which is also a viewpoint) will be in the company of unique stone knights.
Monjuic Hill is an unmissable sight in Barcelona
Turtsi can reach the rounded top of the hill by bus or cable car. On a vast plateau covered with forest, parks and greenery is the “Spanish Village” (Pueblo Espanol) with houses typical of all the provinces. On the sloping plain across the street is the sumptuous palace of the royal summer residence. The special attraction of this place is the Olympic ring, which includes the Olympic village with the magnificent Olympic stadium. Passing on the other side of the hill are streets lined with luxurious palace facades.
An elegant palace with a dark marble facade is in Piazza Espana
This place is famous because it is where Freddy Mercury and Monserat Caballe sang the most beautiful songs about Barcelona. Across the street is the arena made of white rough stone. Old Catalans claim that Piazza Cataluna or Catalonia Square is the center of the city. Tourists here will be delighted by the playful waterfall and elegant baroque palaces. A tram used to pass here (in 1926 Antonio Gaudi was accidentally killed under the wheels of a tram). The tram was withdrawn from the streets of the city after some time. The famous La Rambla street starts from this square and goes all the way down to the sea. The street is decorated with centuries-old rows of trees with a wide promenade. There is also a market of rare and exotic fruits, a market of books, cacti, miniatures made of glass, lace, objects made of straw, etc. Artists of various profiles are always present in the Rambla (mimes, acrobats, magicians, animators, etc.). A tourist can rent a chair here (15 minutes is 4 euros) and calmly observe the events on the street. It is not difficult to determine who are foreigners and who are locals, even though millions of people walk past you. But all these people are equally charming, interesting and special. Down from the bottom of the ramble there is a view of one of the 3 harbors of the city, Barcelonetta (a small peninsula where various warehouses were located at the beginning of the 20th century). Today it is the liveliest part of the city for fun and relaxation. Nearby is the Aquarium, a huge shopping center and the Imah cinema. Barcelonetta has the largest selection of fish restaurants in the city.
Sarajevo and Barcelona are “city friends”.