A large plaza hugged by huge buildings, Plaça de Catalunya is the largest and busiest square in the city. It’s the absolute centre of gravity for shoppers, transportation and pigeons.
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Where is Plaça de Catalunya?
Located between the old town and the middle-classed Eixample district it is also the point at which the city’s most famous streets collide. Las Rambla starts at Plaça de Catalunya and heads towards the port; whilst Passeig de Gràcia – a huge and impressive avenue that contains two of Gaudi’s most beautiful designs, along with a plethora of breathtaking modernist architecture – joins at Plaça de Catalunya and then heads up towards trendy Gracia.
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A little bit of history
Surprisingly, up until the middle of the nineteenth century, Plaça de Catalunya was a rural area beyond the city’s walls. After Spain’s central government agreed that the city’s defensive walls could be demolished, in 1858, it then became part of the city and construction outside of the old city began.
Nowadays, the benches in the square are ideal for people watching. The square contains fountains and during the winter, an ice-skating rink. The square also contains a number of interesting sculptures. The most prominent of these is the Monument a Francesc Macià, which was built to honor the former president of the Catalan government. Commissioned in 1991, the sculptor involved in its creation was Josep Subirachs, a local man who has also worked on the Passion Facade of the Sagrada Família.
Elsewhere in the square you will find the sculpture of a female figure, which was created by Josep Clara. This statue is set within a pool and is called La Deessa o l’Enigma (which translates to The Goddess or the Enigma).
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These days Plaça de Catalunya functions mainly as the industrious hub for the city’s public transportation system. Hidden below the square is a metro station with links all over the city; a train station with links to various destinations beyond the city itself; and above ground there are many bus stops and a taxi rank.
To the east of Plaça de Catalunya you will see a large and imposing white building – the El Corte Ingles. The massive department store is part of a chain that has branches all over the country. To see amazing views of the city, take the elevator to the cafeteria on the top floor. It’s a great place to have a pit stop and enjoy the enchanting view.
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