Barcelona: A European cultural powerhouse

Barcelona: A European cultural powerhouse

Submitted by Rashmi on Tue, 2017-01-17 11:46 Sagrada Familia Barcelona has something for every tourist. It has lovely beaches, mountains, architectural marvels, art museums, sports, food and wine, and entertainment. Ranked as one of the major global cities, Barcelona has seven buildings of architect Antoni Gaudi, all of whom are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. On checking into my hotel, I visited one of the seven beaches of the city near the Olympic Stadium. The long sea coast was full of revellers.  The beach is quite close to the Barcelona port, and we could see huge cruise ships docked there. Author at the beach  Later, we walked to the Gothic Quarter in the city. This locality has a number of old buildings, built in the third century. The most notable building among them is the Church of La Merce. Originally built in the 13th century in the Gothic style, it was renovated in the 18th century in the Baroque style. The presiding deity is Virgin of La Merce, who is considered as the patron saint of Barcelona. The statue of La Merce is made of gold. In front of the church is a huge square which is used to hold musical concerts. Square infront of La Merce After seeing many other buildings in the vicinity, we came to the city centre. The centre has a huge square called Placa De Catalunya, which divides the old city from the new. Occupying an area of 50,000 sq. meters, this square is full of fountains, statues, trees and pools and a large number of pigeons.  Built in the late 19th century and modified in 1929, this place is always brimming with people, as all important roads of Barcelona pass through this square. In one part of the square is a huge sculpture called Francis Messia. As it was getting dark, we started walking on the most famous street of Barcelona, La-Rambla. This two-kilometre-long street is lined with trees on either side and has many important buildings. This street is most popular with the tourists as it has a number of eateries and roadside bars. The footpaths were full of tables and chairs put by the eateries where tourists and locals were having their tapas and drinking wine. Tapas are an appetiser like our bonda/samosa/vada and people hop from one place to another eating them.  We also tasted some vegetarian varieties. With our tummy filled, we returned to our hotel. The next morning we began our tour visiting the monument of Christopher Columbus. This monument is a 60-metre high column erected in 1888 in memory of Columbus. From here, we went to the most famous building in Barcelona, Basilica Sagrada Familia. Columbus Monument Known as the symbol of Barcelona, this church is the most famous work of architect Gaudi. Gaudi started work on this project in 1883, but till date the building is not fully complete. The church has eight huge pillars looking like Qutub Minar. It is very difficult to describe this building but it is very spectacular. La Merce Church As we wanted to see other buildings by the same architect, we went to Casa Calvet.  Built as a residence and office for a textile baron Calvet, it is a multi-storeyed structure with balconies of iron railings and was somewhat like Sagrada familia. Later, we went to see Casa Mila, another work by Gaudi which was unusual in shape. Covering more than 100 square metres, this building is designed entirely out of natural stones. It has a two large circular patios and its roof top looks like a hat. The roof has differently shaped chimneys looking like human beings. Placa De Cataluna Author in front of Sagrada Familia The third building of Gaudi is called Guell Palace. Built in 1898, the main entrance of this building, which has two arches shaped like alphabet ‘M’, is quite famous. Gaudi also built another residential building named Casa Vicens. Built entirely of brick and tiles, the flooring of this building is like a chess board and is quite attractive. Casa Batllo is another building restored by Gaudi and is remarkable for its irregular oval windows and sculpted stone work.  Gaudi has built a nice park in Barcelona called Park Guell. Barcelona is also the home of Pablo Picasso and a museum in his memory is a big tourist attraction. This museum has over 3500 works of Picasso. Casa Batllo La Rambla Our next day was devoted to visiting the football club, Barcelona, founded more than a century ago. The stadium is a big tourist attraction and has nurtured iconic football players. We also visited the Olympic Stadium. With this visit, we concluded our trip to the vibrant city. About Author: Dr. D V Guruprasad (Former DGP) is presently the Chief Executive of the Gokula Education Foundation (Medical) which works in the field of education and health care.