Barcelona is a city famous for its architecture, it’s food, and it’s climate, but here are eight things that you probably don’t know about the Catalonian capital.
1. La Rambla is actually 5 Streets
The most famous street in the city – La Rambla – actually consists of 5 streets that join together to become one long promenade that reaches from Placa Catalunya at the top, to the Christopher Columbus statue at the bottom. This is the reason why you will often hear La Rambla referred to as Las Ramblas.
Las Ramblas is the major center of activities in the city and is undoubtedly the most famous promenade in Barcelona popular with people of all ages.
2. Best Beach City in the World
Despite the beaches in Barcelona only appearing as recently as 1992, Barcelona has been voted the best beach city in the world by the globally popular publication, National Geographic.
Barcelona boasts 4.5km of coastline, but up until 1992, this coast was considered a working/industrial area and no public beaches even existed.
3. Gaudi Designed Darth Vader
Well, almost. According to popular legend, the producer of Star Wars – George Lucas – was very much inspired by the quirky fixtures of Casa Mila when he was considering designs for the iconic Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers.
4. Eixample’s Grid System Followed a Utopian Masterplan
Ildefons Cerdà i Sunyer was the designer who proposed the characteristic grid system in the Eixample area of the city in the 19th century. His intention was to create the ideal living environment for the rapidly increasing population of the city and to provide sunlight, good visibility and ventilation throughout the network of broad streets.
Unfortunately, his plans were not entirely adhered to, but the Eixample area of the city is still a very beautiful and unique area and home to many a beautiful modernista building.
5. Barcelona Was Once Home to 1,800 Air Shelters
In the days of the Civil War, 1800 air raid shelters were built beneath the city of Barcelona to provide protection for its citizens during the frequent bombings that took place.
It is still possible to visit one of these bomb shelters – Refugi 307 – at Nou de la Rambla 169 in Poble Sec. Click here for more details: www.museuhistoria.bcn.cat.
6. World Book Day Started in Barcelona
World Book Day – La Dia de San Jordi – is one of the greatest traditions in Barcelona and involves presenting your lady with a flower or your gentleman with a book (which seems a bit unfair if you’re a lady).
The tradition takes place on 23 April each year and has been adopted elsewhere in the world as a wonderful way of celebrating not over love, but literacy.
7. The Sagrada Familia Contains a Magical Numerical Message
Visitors to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia may have noticed the strange number grid on one of the building’s facades. What’s interesting about the grid is that all the numbers in each line add up to 33 – the age at which Jesus Christ is purported to have died.
8. 13 Geese Live in the Cathedral
Ever since Santa Eulalia Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter was built, 13 geese have lived in the inner courtyard. Each of these geese is said to be representative of a year in the life of Eulalia – the patron saint of Barcelona, who was murdered by Romans in 303AD.