Monuments in Barcelona
Monuments in Barcelona
The Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, known only as the Sagrada Familia, has featured as the symbol of Barcelona. It is an unfinished catholic church which was designed by Antonio Gaudí in 1891 after construction had already began. Nowadays it is one of the most visited monuments in Spain and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you think about things to do in Barcelona, visiting the Sagrada Familia is indispensable because this church will take your breath away.
Although the church was designed as neo-gothic in its initial first drawings, Gaudí, who was commissioned to complete the building, changed its design considerably. Today Sagrada Familia is a modern construction and its completion is planned for 2026 - the year marking the centenary of the death of Gaudí, who is buried in the crypt of the church.
The Sagrada Familia is designed around three façades that symbolize the nativity of Christ (east), his passion (west) and his glory (south). Furthermore, the eighteen towers complete this unique structure: twelve represent the Apostles, four are dedicated to the Four Evangelists, one represents the Virgin Mary and one (the largest) that is dedicated to Christ. Although the church is unfinished, you can still go up some of the towers to discover the most spectacular views of Barcelona.
Casa Milà and Casa Batló
“Works of Antonio Gaudí” is the category that UNESCO has used to classify seven buildings of the architect in Barcelona as World Heritage Sites. Apart from the Sagrada Familia, many other interesting constructions are a part of this list such as Casa Milà and Casa Batló. Both are located in Paseo de Gracia, one of the main commercial avenues in the city.
Casa Milà, popularly known in Barcelona as La Pedrera, is a five-storied house which received much criticism when it was designed by Gaudí because the building didn’t respect the conventional rules. In fact, the local government ordered the demolition of part of the building because its height exceeded the regulation. A very interesting curiosity is that Casa Milà is dedicated to the Madonna of the Rosary because the architect was a strong devotee of the Virgin Mary. With its combination of bright and light colours, feelings of excitement will be evoked during your visit inside of Casa Milà, which is structured in four different parts: the roof-terrace, Espai Gaudí, the Pedrera Apartment & courtyards, and the exhibition hall.
Casa Batló is the second building designed by Gaudí in Paseo de Gracia. This house has a ceramic roof and is another example of Gaudí’s imaginative work. Casa Batló is part of the Block of Discord, a very beautiful area of this commercial avenue where you can find other modern architecture from other different architects: Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Enric Sagnier. The façade of Casa Batló resembles maritime life, but its interior is much more incredible. You must visit the noble floor and the museum, where the interplay of shadows and lights is absolutely amazing.
One of the most beautiful areas of Barcelona is the Gothic Quarter, located in the old town of the city. There are many tourist attractions in this quarter, such as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, the City Hall, the Palace of the Generalitat and many lovely squares.
Cathedral of Saint Eulalia. Barcelona’s Cathedral is dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Saint Eulalia. The beginning of the church dates back to the 5th Century. However, the impressive view of the cathedral was built in the 19th Century when the façade and other parts of the temple were redecorated in neo-gothic style by the architects J. Oriol Mestres and August Font. You must visit the crypt under the main altar - one of the most outstanding parts of the cathedral.
Plaça Sant Jaume. This square is the political centre of Catalonia and Barcelona because it is the location of the City Hall and the Palace of the Generalitat, which is the house of the presidency of Catalonia.
Plaça del Rei. Another indispensable square of the Gothic Quarter is Plaça del Rei or “King’s square”. Situated here is the Grand Royal Palace which was the official residence of the Counts of Barcelona and the Kings of Aragon. It is a must for history lovers, not only because of the important building but also because it is the square where the murder attempt of King Ferdinand “The Catholic” in December 1492 occurred. You can also contemplate many renaissance and gothic constructions around this square.
From Catalonia Square to the Christopher Columbus Monument you can discover La Rambla - the most famous street in Barcelona. La Rambla is 1.3 km in length with a line of trees that are planted along the street. There are many tourist attractions in this avenue which is divided in different parts:
Rambla de Canaletes. Located at the beginning of the street, Rambla de Canaletes is well-known because here is Font de Canaletes, the fountain where FC Barcelona celebrates its titles.
Rambla dels Estudis. It is also known as Bird’s street because and old birds market was located in this area.
Rambla de les Flors. The most singular and colourful area of La Rambla is Rambla de les Flors. This part is also known as Rambla de Sant Josep and it is famous because you will find many florists. However, many tourist and citizens love this Rambla because you will also find the Boquería Market, a very special market where you can buy fresh products.
Rambla dels Caputxins. This area is the centre point of La Rambla. In this Rambla you can visit Palau Güell –a mansion designed by Antonio Gaudí– and Gran Teatre del Liceu –the most important theatre of Barcelona where opera performances occur during winter and ballet during the spring.
Rambla de Santa Mònica. Located at the end of the avenue, Rambla de Santa Mònica is the most vibrant and animated area of the street with several bars and restaurants. You can also visit the Christopher Columbus Monument, a lookout which offers a fantastic view of La Rambla.
If you are interested by art and monuments and you plan to visit Madrid, we recommend you visit our section with Madrid's top monuments.