1.Arco de Triunfo
The Arc de Triomf rises up majestically at the top of the Passeig Lluís Companys. The gateway to the 1888 Universal Exhibition, the arch stood at the end of the Saló de Sant Joan, the boulevard that led to the exhibition grounds in the Parc de la Ciutadella. The architect Josep Vilaseca designed a monument of classical style and proportions as an allegory of Barcelona’s respect for the nations and provinces taking part in the exhibition. As a counterpoint, Vilaseca chose to build the arch from brick and decorate it with sculptural motifs evocative of the neo-Mudejar style that was very much in vogue in Spain at the time. The combination of red brick with the series of friezes around the arch, make it a singularly beautiful landmark.
If you take a close look at the arch you’ll soon realise that the Arc de Triomf was the gateway to the modern Barcelona of the late 19th century. The frieze overlooking the Passeig de Sant Joan depicts Barcelona welcoming the nations and the frieze facing the park shows the city presenting medals to the exhibition participants. There are reliefs on one side symbolising agriculture and industry, and commerce and art on the other. At the top of the arch the shields of the 49 Spanish provinces are presided over by the coat of arms of the city of Barcelona.
2.Parc de la Ciutadella
Built towards the end of the 19th century, this was the first place to be specifically designed as a public park. It is a widely used space for all kinds of leisure and cultural activities. It contains over a hundred species of plants, with a large number of century-old trees and interesting sculptures.
Ciutadella Park has a large number of century-old trees and a wide range of elements: the monumental waterfall, 19th-century buildings now used as museums, a lake for rowing boats, pathways and numerous sculptures. It shares the site with the city zoo.
It occupies land where Philip V had a large military citadel built in 1715 to control the city, following its surrender on 11 September 1714. The walls on the city’s north-west side and 1,262 houses in the Rivera neighbourhood had to be pulled down to make way for it.
It is regarded as an outdoor museum owing to the quantity and quality of its sculptures.
Two sculptures should be noted here, given their popularity: Joan Roig Soler’s La dama del paraigua [Woman with Umbrella], one of Barcelona’s symbols for many years, which crowns the ornamental fountain designed by Josep Fontserè, and a stone mammoth, the first and only natural-sized reproduction of extinct animals which the Natural Sciences Board put up in the park in 1907.
3.Born Cultural Center
A unique archaeological site Contemplating the archaeological site of the El Born’s old market takes you back to the everyday life of Barcelona at the end of the 17th century and start of the 18th century, and allows your eyes to trace the streets of a city that resisted the Philip V’s troops up to its capitulation on 11 September 1714.This is a unique archaeological site, exceptional for its size, state of conservation and presented historical sequence and because historical documents have enabled us to put names to the families who lived there.
Starting from the archaeological remains excavated around and inside the old Born market, you can visit the history of Barcelona from the Roman period to the beginning of the 18th century, when life in this part of the city remained interrupted suddenly by the outcome of the War of Success
4.Santa Maria de Mar
Shortly after the arrival of Christianity to the Roman colony of Barcino, modern-day Barcelona, a small Christian community was started near the sea and just outside its walls. There was a Christian necropolis here where St Eulàlia, martyr, was probably buried in 303 A.D. This site might have been the place where a chapel was first built, known then as Santa Maria de Les Arenes, St. Mary of the Sea Sands. By the end of the seventh century, the existing structure was already known as “Santa Maria del Mar”.
The last circular keystone, the closest one to the main door, bears the city’s coat of arms and was put in place on 3 November 1383. The church was consecrated by Pere Planella, bishop of Barcelona, on 15 August 1384. Beren- guer de Montagut and Ramon Despuig were the architects in charge of the project.
Over the years, constant social and political turmoil also caused destruction to the basilica. But nothing can be compared with the destruction of the 19th July 1936 when Santa Maria del Mar was set on fire and burned for eleven days straight. The magnificent baroque altar and all the images and historical archive were all destroyed. Only the walls, columns and a few of the stained glass windows on the upper level were spared. The fire didn’t get up that high. Restoration in recent years has further emphasized its elegant and sober Gothic style.
The Museu Picasso “Picasso Museum”), located in Barcelona, houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. With 4,251 works exhibited by the painter, the museum has one of the most complete permanent collections of works. The museum is housed in five adjoining medieval palaces in Barcelona’s La Ribera neighborhood, in the Old City, and more specifically, it is located on Montcada Street, a formerly very prestigious street home to wealthy merchants and nobility from the Gothic to the Baroque periods. It opened to the public on 9 March 1963, becoming the first museum dedicated to Picasso’s work and the only one created during the artist’s lifetime. It has since been declared a museum of national interest by the Government of Catalonia.
Highlights of the collection include two of his first major works, The First Communion (1896), and Science and Charity (1897). In particular, the Museu Picasso reveals Picasso’s relationship with the city of Barcelona, a relationship that was shaped in his youth and adolescence and continued until his death.
Picasso spent his formative years in Barcelona and the city in some respects became his muse, which explains why he suggested that the museum be opened in Barcelona and not in Malaga, where the painter was born. The museum was founded in 1963 by Picasso’s good friend Jaume Sabartés who donated numerous paintings by the artist.
Said small female sculpture is called La Carassa and, unlike other streets in the Born district and the medieval city in general, it does not receive the name of a trade but is related to a professional activity that is also considered the oldest of all.
This “big face”, given that an important part of the Barcelona population in medieval times could not read, iconically indicated the location of an important brothel in the area.
Currently, we no longer have any remains or indications that show us their existence since the residents of the neighborhood asked for their demolition, but this small sign remains in one of the corners of the street.
At first glance, it does not seem to show its true meaning, thus leading us to think more about a show of power of some nobleman than a brothel, hence its most curious and charismatic part.
7.Santa Caterina Market
Santa Caterina, opened in 1848, was the first covered market in Barcelona. Since 2005, the roof has become its stand-out element. It is this last alteration which has made the market a benchmark for contemporary architecture and a point of interest for tourists. The undulating and colourful roof has already become a new symbol of Barcelona.
In 1997, the architects Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue reformed the market that was originally designed by Josep Mas i Vila. The project maintained 3 out of the 4 original facades and raises up a skeleton of iron, steel and concrete, to the interior of the building, standing between the structure of wooden arches that form the ceiling.
But certainly the starring role of the new market goes to the roof: a huge wavy structure covered by 200,000 ceramic hexagons in 67 different colours. The work of ceramicist Toni Cumella, it represents the fruit and vegetables sold from the market stalls and fills the area with light and colour.
The launch of the market has helped to re-energise the neighbourhood. Now, brought together under the same roof as the stalls of fresh produce, is a supermarket, restaurants and the display of the remains of the old Dominican convent.
8.Palau de la Musica Catalana
The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall in Barcelona Designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth). It was inaugurated February 9, 1908.
The project was financed primarily by the society, but important financial contributions also were made by Barcelona’s wealthy industrialists and bourgeoisie. The Palau won the architect an award from the Barcelona City Council in 1909, given to the best building built during the previous year. Between 1982 and 1989, the building underwent extensive restoration, remodeling, and extension under the direction of architects Oscar Tusquets and Carles Díaz. In 1997, the Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Hospital de Sant Pau. Today, more than half a million people a year attend musical performances in the Palau that range from symphonic and chamber music to jazz and Cançó.
9.The Hotel with a thousand eyes
hotel full of art that looks out with the one-thousand ceramic eyes on its façade, by Frederic Amat, in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter
A hotel steeped in history, located right where the Roman water channels passed through the city, where the palace of the first Earl of Barcelona was located and, more recently, where the city’s first department stores were located.
The lift on the left side will take you up to the eighth floor, where you’ll find one of the city’s hidden treasures: our rooftop terrace. This spot is much loved by locals and visitors alike, looking out at the Barcelona Cathedral and with an excellent 180º panoramic view of the lower part of the city.