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Leisure and Culture

Old Town Barcelona – A modernist architecture paradise

Boqueria Market Barcelona
Written by James

Around the world Barcelona is known as the Capital of Modernism. But why is this? It is quite simple really, as throughout the city you will come across buildings designed by modernist architects such as Gaudi, Puig and Domenech i Montaner.

Palau Guell BarcelonaDuring the latter part of the 19th Century architecture was seen as a symbol of class and of bourgeois. It is for this reason that the buildings designed during this period comprise a great deal of undulating forms, flora decorations, large amounts of iron work and ceramic details. All of these elements together help to make each building look completely unique, whilst ensure that no design could then be repeated. The most memorable of these buildings of course being Gaudi’s “Sagrada Familia” and Domenech i Montaner’s “Hospital de Sant Paul”.

Throughout the city you will find many different modernist symbols. But our tour begins in Barcelona’s Old Town (Ciutat Vella).

The first part of the tour takes you through the Passeig de Lluis Companys. Here you will discover the first modernist monument, the Arc de Triomphe. This beautiful arch leads you into the Ciutadella Park. In here you will find the next building the Museum of Zoology.

After leaving the park you then enter an area of the city known as the Born District. Along with its beautiful market also to be found here is the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. This is the church that was the inspiration behind Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s novel “The Cathedral of the Sea (La Catedral del Mar)”.

Next we move on to what many considered to be the city’s Gothic area. As you wander through the Plaza Real don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful modernist lampposts that provide illumination to the area once it gets dark. Then on the other side of the Plaza Real is Rambla del Raval. In this neighbourhood you have the opportunity to enjoy some of the first pieces of architecture designed by Antoni Gaudi. The Palau Guell has now been classified by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Arc de Triomphe BarcelonaFollowing on from here you go up the Rambla of Barcelona where you come to the popular Boqueria Market. This is the city’s municipal market and is decorated with a beautiful ceramic mosaic designed by Joan Miro. Then from here you will pass by the Barcelona Athenaeum. Located in Barcelona’s Old Town as well as its beautiful reading room, there is a beautiful garden for you to explore and which may inspire the romantic in you and an elevator that allows you to enjoy even more of the modernist elements of this place.

Finally we come to one more modernist building that during your tour of the city must not be missed. The Palau de la Musica Catalana designed by Domenech i Montaner. Commissioned by Orleo Catala this building was built in 1904. Not only is the exterior of the building a tribute to modernist architecture the interior is as well.

About the author


James is a passionate writer in love with the beautiful city of Barcelona.

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