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Introduction A city for the 21st century History Important dates and events Living Culture Contemporary Barcelona

Literature Theatre Music Design Cultural Festivals City Beats Modernism La Rambla The Markets Terraces and Squares Barcelona Festivals

Routes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

and Walking Tours From the Anilla Olmpica to Plaa Espanya The Heart of the Eixample A Tour through the Squares of Grcia to Avinguda Diagonal A Stroll down La Rambla Barceloneta and Vila Olmpica La Ribera, El Born and the Raval The Gothic Quarter and the Old Jewish District Beyond the Eixample Dret A Walk from Plaa Catalunya to the Plaa de la Merc Off the Route (but not to be missed)

Surrounding Areas Sitges Costa Brava Montserrat Practical Guide Book How to get here, How to get around, Useful advice, Where to sleep, Where to eat, Nightlife, Shopping, Activities for children

Textos: Merche Gallego Fotos: Lluis Trillo Traduccin: Aisha Prigann

Barcelona a city for the 21ST Century


Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is not only one of Spain's most prosperous cities; it is also one of Europe's prime tourist destinations. The city has a certain indescribable something: an allure that attracts thousands of tourists every year, a character that inspires pride in its citizens. Barcelona's climate, way of life and cultural heritage make it a wonderful place to visit and live. The 1992 Olympic Games marked a turning point in the city's history, both in terms of urban development and international recognition. However, the secret of its success doesn't lie in the Olympic Games alone. After all, that important event took place thirteen years ago, and the city is still growing and developing on many different levels. Catalonia as a whole and Barcelona in particular take pride in having a unique identity. This is manifested in many ways but most obviously in the Catalan language, which differentiates the region and its inhabitants from the rest of Spain. Barcelona has always seen itself as a European city. Long before Spain joined the E.U. and other Spanish cities discovered their European character, Barcelona already celebrated its connection to its continental neighbours. Barcelona's European identity is largely due to its proximity to France - a fact that allowed European influences and cultural movements to reach the Catalan capital much earlier than the rest of Spain. And Barcelona never hesitated to take advantage of this privilege and weave the incoming influences into its cultural fabric. The modernist movement and the worldrenowned work of architect Antoni Gaud also contributed to the city's international reputation. Architecture, however, isn't the only art to flourish in Barcelona. The city has always had a rich cultural, artistic and intellectual life, which found expression in music, theatre and literature. Furthermore, this wealth of creative out-put is not a thing of the past. Barcelona is still a place of innovation and new, artistic tendencies. Nowadays, Barcelona is home to cutting-edge design, hip fashion and avant-garde architecture, which all help to keep the world fixated on this Mediterranean city. Barcelona no longer needs an advertising campaign; its solid, hard-earned and well-deserved reputation brings thousands of visitors to the city throughout the year. A truly great city is defined by being something special to many different kinds of people. Children, young adults, older adults, locals, tourists, visitors in the city on business or for pleasure - Barcelona gives something to each and every one of them, which is what makes it such a popular destination. In addition to being an attractive cultural centre, Barcelona's location between the sea and the mountains makes it an ideal place for a wide variety of activities. Barcelona, like many other European cities, has become a cosmopolitan and multicultural city over the years. Immigrants from many, different countries have made Barcelona their new home, settling primarily in the Raval and the Gothic Quarter. They have given Barcelona a plural character that it didn't have in the past. Perhaps it was the last challenge Barcelona had to face to prove its commitment as a tolerant, welcoming and cosmopolitan city. The best way in which to approach this city is with an open mind and a lack of preconceived notions. If you come here with the sole mission of spending your days on the beach, you will definitely find what you are looking for. However, by limiting your options, you will miss out on everything else this unique and multifaceted city has to offer. Barcelona is one city with many different faces: traditional and historical, modern and avant-garde, trendy and cutting-edge, multicultural and diverse, ancient and yet completely new. If you meet this city with curiosity, you will be rewarded. Take this guide book along as your travel companion, use it as a resource and reference, but above all else, let this unforgettable city surprise you. In the end, the best photo album you can take home with you is a head full of vivid memories.

History

The Founding of Barcelona Barcelona is an open, cosmopolitan and tolerant city, character traits owed to more than 4,000 years of history. Although officially Barcelona was founded by the Romans, evidence exists of settlements in this area as early as Neolithic times. However, this period was not to last very long. The Moorish army invaded the city, which brought about two, decisive consequences for the city. On the one hand, Barcelona was almost completely destroyed and, on the other, these events led to their independence from Frankish rule. The then-governing count, Borrell II, considered that Barcelona had been betrayed and that the ties of vassalage had been broken by the Franks' decision to not come to the city's aid. Borrell II changed the political face of Barcelona by naming himself Marquis and Duke of Iberia in God's name. This was the dawn of an era that, although complicated, brought about a quick recovery for the city. At the beginning of the 11th century, Barcelona invaded Crdoba, which ended with an important victory for the former as well as significant wealth and economic gain. This "compensation" allowed the city to develop at a rapid rate. In addition to this, the other Catalan counties began to unite with Barcelona as their capital, which yielded an important expansion, both in terms of territory and influence. Barcelona remained the capital of the new, united government and began a period of active expansion, helped largely by the open commerce across the Mediterranean and the tariffs collected from the Moorish Taifa Kingdoms. Barcelona's conquests between the 13th and 15th centuries vastly increased its territories to include the kingdom of Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Sicily and Sardinia. This period saw the construction of two new sections of the city wall. One section served to protect the annexed towns that had previously lain outside the old Roman wall, and the other section enclosed the agricultural fields covering the area now known as the Raval. The city experienced incredible, economic growth throughout this period and became a sought after destination within the Mediterranean sphere. Many different kinds of merchants, artisans and seafarers flocked to the city in search of personal prosperity. They formed guilds, the majority of which were concentrated around the city's political centre, the Plaa Sant Jaume. Even today, as you walk through the maze of little streets in this area, you can see the old guilds reflected in the street names, long-gone professions recalled in names such as Flassaders (blanket-maker) or Sombrerers (hatter). This flourishing era came to an end in the 15th century. The bubonic plague and civil wars devastated the population, and the military campaigns being fought abroad did little to ameliorate the situation. Maritime commerce was increasingly attacked and ransacked by pirates, and the discovery of America in 1492 wasn't equally favourable to all Spanish territories. Aragn suffered rather severe setbacks during this period as it was denied the right to trade with the American colonies until 1778, almost three centuries after the discovery of the New World. The Middle Ages and the War of Succession During the early 12th century, at the height of the middle ages, Barcelona experienced a flourishing era of prosperity that affected all aspects of city life. The marriage between the then-count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer IV, and the daughter of the king of Aragn united the two territories, bringing with it a vast increase in economic prosperity and political power. Castile did not look favourably upon Catalonia's independence and in 1640 began what has come to be known as the Segadors War. This war was an attempt by Castile to suppress the city's surging nationalism. Barcelona resisted for twelve years but couldn't win the war; in 1652 the Castilian troops defeated the city. Barcelona managed to hold on to its autonomy but had to witness the dismem-

Towards the end of the 1st century B.C., the Romans established a city called Barcino around what was then the Tber Mountain. Nowadays, the slight incline of this hill can still be noticed when heading up to the Plaa Sant Jaume, the square that now covers what was once the Tber. What is interesting is that the Romans also used this exact spot as their political and administrative centre - just like Barcelona does now. The Plaa Sant Jaume is where both the Barcelona City Hall and the seat of the Generalitat de Catalunya are located. The Romans encircled their city with imposing city walls, which were maintained and even expanded for centuries thereafter. This severely limited the growth of the city and many areas that are now integrated neighbourhoods, Grcia for example, were then separate villages lying outside the city limits. Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Visigoths lost control of the city, and Barcelona came under Moorish rule. In the year 801, Charlemagne's troops conquered the city. The north of Catalonia and the old Visigoth Gaul became Frankish territories, and in the year 878 Guifr El Pils was named count of Barcelona, Girona and Besal.

berment of its territories. It was during this era that the northern section of Catalonia came under French rule. The Catalan national anthem still recalls this war by bearing its name. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to be the only difficult blow Catalonia would suffer during this time. Between 1705 and 1714, Barcelona fought the War of Succession, which ended with the French and Castilian troops conquering the city. The ensuing repression was severe. Not only did Barcelona lose all autonomy, but Castile also claimed much of its territory, such as Sicily, Sardinia, Naples and Mallorca. Barcelona became subject to Castilian law, the only one recognised throughout the land, and the speaking of Catalan was strictly forbidden, not only in public but in private settings as well.

Following this period wrought with conflict, Barcelona began a gradual recovery. The city remained militarised for a long time to come; the occupying forces even constructed an enormous fortress to keep invaders at bay (today the remnants of this fortress form part of the Ciutadela Park). The areas now known as the Raval and La Rambla had been rather insignificant until this point in time - the former had been little more than agricultural land and the latter an unimportant piece of road. During this period they were developed, and the city was seemingly getting back on its feet again. However, despite the city's growth, the progress was only skin-deep; beneath it an incendiary mix of social tensions was gaining momentum.

event hosted by the city: the 1888 World Fair. This event marked a turning point in the city's history. All of Europe turned its eyes on the Catalan capital and saw for the first time that it

shared many of their concerns. Another important element that would affect the make-up of the city was the arrival of Spanish immigration. Starting towards the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century, Barcelona began to turn into the epicentre of a new cultural avantgarde. These movements made the new scientific, technical and artistic advances that had been achieved the focus of their work and thinking. Whereas a new generation of industrialists and politicians, stemming from the bourgeoisie, concentrated on the urban advancements that would turn Barcelona into a modern city, the intellectual circles started to move into a new direction. In 1897 a new restaurant, inspired by the Le Chat Noir in Paris, opened its doors in Barcelona. Its name was Els Quatre Gats, and it stood out for being a very unusual place. It fell somewhere between a traditional guesthouse, a tavern and the kind of refined, modernist bar that was popular throughout the rest of Europe at the time. Els Quatre Gats soon became a popular hang-out for artists such as Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusiol, Isaac Albniz and Antoni Gaud. In 1899, a very young Picasso displayed his very first exhibition on the walls of this restaurant. Needless to say, the reigning atmosphere was bohemian, artistic and thoroughly unique. Some of that flavour still lingers in the air at Carrer Montsi 3, just around the corner from the Portal de l'Angel, where you can enjoy a coffee or a meal while soaking in all of the place's by now legendary history. The spirit of the Modernist movement colours every artistic aspect of the city, especially noticeable in much of the architecture. A whole generation of artists were captivated by this movement and allowed their imagination free

The 19th Century: The Arrival of New Movements If you find yourself near the Santa Maria del Mar church in the Born neighbourhood, you will probably notice an enormous, coppercoloured torch: this is the Fosar de les Moreres. The flame burning at the very top commemorates all the Catalans who lost their life during the War of Succession. This isn't the only historical curiosity in the Born. In February 2002, the project to restructure the old Born Market was set into motion. The market was to be reinvented as a space to house the Barcelona Provincial Library, but no one was quite prepared for what they were to find beneath the market. The ground had been guarding a fascinating secret for centuries - the archaeological remains of the old, medieval city circa 1714. The importance of this archaeological gem cannot be overstated; it is probably the largest archaeological park of its kind to be found in the urban centre of any European city. As you stroll along the Born promenade, another peculiar artefact might catch your eye: a chest and four, numbered cannon balls, all of which date back to the medieval era. The first half of the 19th century was marked by uprisings and revolts. In 1814, amidst bombings, riots, convent fires and general conflict, the city's workers organised the first general strike the city had ever known. The tension that characterised this time as well as the obvious clamouring for change brought about a series of important reforms. In 1848 Barcelona inaugurated its first railway route, and the city's commitment to the industrial age earned it the nickname "little Manchester". In 1854, the city walls finally came down, an event that allowed a sudden, unprecedented surge in urban development. Furthermore, 1859 saw the approval of the Ildefons Cerd Plan, which gave birth to the area now known as the Eixample and laid out the by now classic, grid-like pattern, interspersed with open, public spaces and gardens. It was to be a more humane form of urban architecture, bringing light and space to a city still marked by its medieval past. The fortress overlooking the city also fell victim to change and was torn down to make room for a very special

reign, the only apparent taboo being the straight line. Colourful ceramics, glasswork, wrought-iron and an entire imaginary animal kingdom made their way into the city's architecture. The unquestionable frontrunner of this style was without a doubt Antoni Gaud who is immortalised by the timeless, universal creations he set into the city: the Sagrada Familia, buildings like Casa Mil (also known as La Pedrera) and Casa Batll and the Park Gell. Contemporary Barcelona The 20th century also brought dark moments to the city. In 1906 Barcelona lived through its infamous Tragic Week, marked by numerous altercations, general upheaval and the burning of convents. The Mancomunitat de Catalunya was set up in 1914, a product of the rise in Catalan, nationalist tendencies that were a direct response to the repressive, military rule. However, a few years later, General Primo de Rivera organised a coup which brought him to power. He ruled the city as a dictator with an iron fist. However, despite the repressive conditions rampant in the city, Barcelona managed to overcome many obstacles to organise, amidst all of this conflict, the 1929 International Fair. The Republican era that began in 1931 reawakened the city's hope and spirit, but more difficult times were on the horizon. The Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, a war during which Barcelona would live through some of its darkest and most difficult moments.

Thousands of people fled into exile while relentless bombardments devastated the city. When the civil war came to an end in 1939 and the Franco Dictatorship rose to power, Barcelona lost many of its previous freedoms, including the loss of its autonomy, which it had managed to regain in the past. The city also watched as the Catalan language was yet again declared illegal. The post-war period unfolded in this environment until the 1960s. That decade witnessed the beginnings of an economic and industrial expansion, which brought another wave of immigration from other Spanish regions to the city. The rise in the population brought with it an immense demand for more housing and urban infrastructure - two areas in which the city grew dramatically, often without defined criteria, resulting in the birth of sleeper cities in the outskirts. Democracy came to Spain in 1975 after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco. Barcelona reinstated the Generalitat as its autonomous government and was once again recognised as the capital of an autonomous Catalonia. Along with its newly regained freedoms, Barcelona also continued to grow on an industrial as well as cultural level. In 1981 came another turning point for the city - the International Olympics Committee announced that Barcelona would host the 1992 Olympic Games. The selection as Olympic host set off a profound architectural and urban

transformation that would change the city forever. As part of the city's renovation process, the coastline was won back from its industrial grave and converted into sandy beaches and internationally renowned architects built landmark structures. The effort culminated in one of the best Games in Olympic history and presented the world with a whole new Barcelona: modern, open and welcoming. The 2004 Forum of Cultures was the most recent international event celebrated in Barcelona. Despite lacking the popular response garnered by the Olympic Games, the Forum did put Barcelona back into the world's spotlight and spurred the construction of new spaces, such as a new convention centre and an auditorium. Although the final function of the Forum grounds is still to be determined, one thing is already certain. The development of the Forum infrastructure resulted in recovering and rehabilitating one of Barcelona's most forgotten and neglected urban zones. Nowadays, Barcelona is one of Europe's main tourist destinations. The reasons for the city's immense popularity are many. Barcelona has managed to maintain its identity without rejecting change; championing modern design without losing sight of tradition and becoming a cosmopolitan city without forgetting its roots and ancient customs. You have chosen to visit a truly special and unique city, a place that embraces change and yet somehow always manages to stay true to its character.

CONTEMPORARY BARCELONA - LIVING CULTURE


THEATRE: A NEW CONTEMPORARY TWIST Theatre has had a long-lasting and reputable tradition in Barcelona. Several theatrical companies renowned throughout Spain and the rest of the world have their roots in Barcelona. Many of these groups share a common career path: starting small, often as a hobby, and performing locally in Catalan on the many, alternative stages located throughout the city. The majority of groups don't break out of this mould, but those that do have contributed enormously to new theatrical movements which have garnered an important following and a solid reputation worldwide. Barcelona has always managed to maintain its traditions and simultaneously give birth to new and important voices in the avant-garde. One of these voices is definitely the internationally renowned group La Fura dels Baus. They have created an unusual theatrical style unlike any other, which brings together live performance, theatrical techniques, visual art and music. The result is a completely innovative and new type of performance - it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but its originality and importance cannot be overstated. stage their pieces. The group creates their own stage by placing traditionally non-theatrical spaces into a different context. They "invaded" the Olympic Stadium with an enormous boat during the 1992 Olympic Games' inaugural celebration. In another performance they gathered 20,000 people in Plaa Catalunya for a spectacular farewell to the 20th century, accompanied by a character of their creation, the Millennium Man. La Fura were long considered rather shocking (and still are by some audience members) for dealing with taboo subjects such as sexuality, deviant behaviour and mental illness. Whether their work is to your liking or not, one thing is unquestionably true: they have created their own style and a completely new type of performance. They have always been daring, recently experimenting with digital media as an element in their shows and making forays into opera and film. Their shows always open with much hype and polemic, which generally assures a hit at the box-office. More than a million people have attended their shows over the years, which have received every kind of review from rave to condemnation. However, reviews seem to have little bearing on La Fura dels Baus' drawing power - tickets to their shows usually sell out within a few days of going on sale. Somewhat less "aggressive" but equally noteworthy is the group Els Comediants. The group was born more than three decades ago during a time when intellectual content dominated official theatres. The members of Els Comediants were inspired by other European groups active at that time, but they wove a lot of traditional, local elements into their work. Their name refers to an ancient custom in which travelling comedians went from village to village performing their routine. However, since they often performed in the same villages over and over again, they had to invent myriad tricks to tell the same story differently each and every time. The group isn't too concerned with texts, direction and sets. Theirs is a truly live performance, and any square, street or building - including the underground station and historical monuments - can serve as their stage. Props are equally unnecessary - any quotidian object, be it a glass, a coffee cup or a chair, can offer up a world of possibility. Creating theatrical pieces about love, heartbreak, family drama and profound emotion is easy, but theatre based on the simple facets of daily life, that is a challenge. Their approach lies entirely in experimentation and playing with different theatrical languages, including clown, puppet theatre and commedia del arte. Their goal is not to please everyone but rather to find a different and amusing way to tell stories that communicate with people of all ages. Dagoll Dagom, another important Catalan group, works in a similar vein but with a perhaps more conventional approach. The group was also founded in the 1970s and currently consists of one of the most enduring and important

casts in Spain. They have experimented with a variety of different shows, including stage productions of some of the most important Catalan works of literature. Most recently they have changed course and opted for a greater emphasis on musical theatre, a genre in which they have excelled with productions like Mikado, Glups!, Els Pirates and Mar i Cel. The latter was first produced in 1988 and received a revival this year. LITERATURE: A LONG AND ENDURING STORY October 18th, 2003 was the day Manuel Vzquez Montalbn died of a heart at the airport in Bangkok and a sad day for all those who love Catalan literature. However, it was also a

The group has always worked towards creating a complete work, meaning a theatrical performance that isn't just something to be seen and heard, but something that can be experienced by every sense. To this end, La Fura dels Baus usually selects rather unconventional venues to

day that stirred other emotions, the feeling that not every good writer has to be a prophet in their country. Vzquez Montalbn was born in Barcelona's Raval district in 1939, right after the end of the Spanish Civil War. Both during his lifetime and after his death, the writer was recognised and celebrated for his literary achievements. He wrote about many things, and he wrote a lot about Barcelona. Few authors can come close to the vivid portraits with which he immortalised the Barcelona of his youth. And yet, his literature isn't just for his fellow Barcelona citizens, his literature is grander than that, more far-reaching, and can appeal to anyone who loves a great story, no matter where they are from. Manuel Vzquez Montalbn was an out-spoken leftist, a political conviction that cost him a year and a half in a Lleida prison. He began writing poems in prison as well as his first book: Informe sobre la Informacin (A Report on Information), a manual on proper conduct in journalism. He wrote prolifically, sometimes three or four books in one year, and about

Route. This homage to Vzquez Montalbn takes you into the world of the intrepid detective and allows you to discover the many corners of the city immortalised by the novels.

books in Spain. The book also seemed to bestow on him a seemingly endless literary glory. Every book the-

Another great Catalan, literary voice died in 2003: Terenci Moix. Moix was also born in the Raval, specifically in the Granja Gav, now a caf and restaurant on Carrer Joaqun Costa, in 1942. He became a celebrated icon to all provocateurs, mythomaniacs and members of the emerging gay scene. Being gay in post-war Spain wasn't accepted or even openly admitted and going against this cultural bigotry took more than a little courage. Terenci Moix never made excuses for his lifestyle and always defended his right to freedom. He was an eternal Peter Pan figure, charming, brazen and unpredictable, who charmed his way into every single literary circle, from the most refined to the most populist. He was one of the most visible and outspoken members of the gauche divine, the intellectual movement that emerged in Catalonia during the late 1960s and included many artists, writers, architects and musicians. The group defended their ideas in a time when the central government still oppressed and censored much of the social sphere. But more than freedom-fighter, intellectual and icon of the gay movement, Terenci Moix was a writer. And a great one. Moix was a passionate traveller and had a special love affair with Egypt, a country that he visited a total of 22 times and which inspired some of his best novels. In his novel El Da que muri Marilyn (The Day Marilyn Died), Moix introduced pop, cinema, comic book, erotic and sexual references into his writing, elements heretofore unknown and unheard of in Catalan literature. Moix fell into a long literary silence between 1971 and 1983, provoked in part by the dissolution of his decade-long relationship. He finally broke the silence with his novel No Digas que fue un Sueo (Don't tell me it was a Dream). This novel was one of Moix's greatest achievements, and one of the best-selling

reafter, always published simultaneously in Catalan and Castilian as well as several other languages, landed him another best-seller. Books such as El sexo de los ngeles, El Amargo Don de la Belleza, El Sueo de Alejandra, La Herida de la Esfinge, Terenci del Nilo and El Arpista Ciego earned Moix a place amongst the most popular of Catalan, literary voices. Two elements were perennially present in his work: the land of the pharaohs and the world of cinema. These were his two, greatest passions (he had a collection of more than 2,000 films). His third passion was smoking, a habit that accompanied him throughout his life and eventually caused his death. He was 61 years old when he died and despite the many wonderful stories he had written, there were many left untold. If Vzquez Montalbn and Terenci Moix were the two great voices of Catalan narrative literature, then Miquel Mart i Pol is their equal in the world of poetry. He was born on March 19th, 1929, and his life changed completely when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1970s. Rather than bringing an end to his writing career, it seemed to endow him with more strength, motivation and fervour. He created an astounding poetic language in Catalan that spoke of love, desire and death, exemplified by works such as La Pell del Viol, Quadern de Vacances, Llibre dels Sis Sentits and Estimada Marta, one of his most popular volumes. Catalan singer-songwriters like Llus Llach and Rafael Subirachs have put his words to music, and his poems have been translated into many different languages including Portuguese, German, English, Italian, Flemish, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Russian and Japanese. During his last years, despite the difficulties caused by his debilitating illness, he never retreated from public life. He still attended

many, different subjects: politics, gastronomy, current events and the Bara team he so fervently supported. However, his greatest fame came thanks to a detective named Pepe Carvalho. He was the protagonist of a series of novels which Vzquez Montalbn never managed to complete (one book was still unfinished at the time of his death). Carvalho roamed through the many moods of Barcelona, sometimes dark and threatening, sometimes friendly and embracing, and in doing so brought the city a degree of international fame that no advertising campaign could have ever achieved. As a token of gratitude, Barcelona created a Pepe Carvalho

public events, regardless whether they were organised by important institutions or neighbourhood organisations. Many city streets bear his name, and a spontaneous, popular demand pushed the Institute of Catalan Letters to nominate Miquel Mart i Pol as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in 1999. MUSIC: FROM THE RUMBA TO THE CAN CATALANA Ask any tourist or even many who live in Barcelona where the rumba comes from, and they will probably reply: "from Andalusia, of course". Well, no. The rumba doesn't come from the hot, southern lands of Andalusia. In fact, the cheerful, flamenco sound that tells stories of the Roma way of life was born right here in Barcelona, specifically on the Carrer de la Cera in the Raval. Legend has it that the original creators of the Rumba were El Orelles, who sang at neighbourhood parties, and El Toqui, who "invented" a guitar-playing style that combined melody and percussion. At least this is the most authentic and popular version of the tale. The person who brought the rumba to the stage and consequently earned it its fame was Antonio Gonzlez, El Pescalla. The brilliant Roma performer, who later married Lola Flores, another mythical, flamenco star, took Frank Sinatra songs and gave them a twist. He accompanied his impressive vocal rendition with rhythmic clapping, and his dancing style was marked by a "rumbero" touch. However, the rumba was immortalised by Peret, who gave it the sound we recognise today and earned it international recognition and fame. Catalan singer-songwriters also have a loyal following in Barcelona, the most famous of which are Joan Manuel Serrat and Llus Llach. Ask around - almost any local can sing a few bars of Serrat's famous song "Mediterrneo" which, despite being sung in Castilian, has become somewhat of an unofficial anthem. DESIGNERS: BREAKING THE MOULD Barcelona is a small Mecca for design lovers who flock here year after year. The city has a long and exciting history in this field and has experienced an important evolution over the years, not just in fashion but also in graphic and industrial design. It is difficult to select a few names from the many talented, local designers, but one name that definitely deserves a mention is Javier Mariscal. Although Mariscal was born in Valencia, he moved to Barcelona at a young age and has built up his design studio at the Palo Alto complex in Poble Nou. Although this multifaceted artist, who works in sculpture, graphic and industrial design and illustration, had been working in the city for years, his first, big moment came during the 1992 Olympic Games. Mariscal was put in charge of designing the event's mascot, a friendly, little dog named Cobi who changed not only Mariscal's career but also the country's approach to illustration.

The ground-breaking star of Barcelona's fashion world is without a doubt Custo Dalmau. His brand Custo Barcelona produces worldfamous, printed t-shirts (given an additional boost by having Julia Roberts as a fan), which have become one of the most widely copied fashion items in recent history. And when your work becomes the subject of mimicry you know it can only be due to two reasons: either you are exceptionally gifted or the others lack original imagination. Whatever the reason may be, the fact is that Custo Barcelona remains one of the most successful and immediately recognisable brands. His dissenters claim that he has gained an undeserved fame merely for printing some amusing images on a bunch of t-shirts. However, this is precisely the secret of his success. The millions of Custo fans adore the fact that a simple t-shirt can give their outfit a sporty look or an elegant twist. And this loyal following has given Custo free reign over his brand, charging exclusive designer prices for his creations and selling them at the city's highend stores, including his own on Carrer Ferran, close to Plaa Sant Jaume. Another designer who is considered an icon of cool at the moment is Jordi Labanda, His illustrations, usually depicting ultra-chic men and women, have been displayed on just about every product on the market including folders, notebooks, wedding invitations, bags, t-shirts, water bottles, etc. As with Custo, opinions split into two camps when it comes to Labanda. Many people think he is an over-hyped illustrator. Others find his work to be pleasing and inoffensive - the kind of imagery that attracts most people and can be used to promote just about anything. As far as design stores are concerned, the city is full of them. However, the top-of-the-line, high temple of design is without question the illustrious Vinon. Furniture, accessories and an infinite array of items are perfectly arranged throughout the three floors that make up the store, located on Passeig de Grcia. An added touch of class is provided by the fact that the space was once home to modernist painter Ramon Casas. Everything sold at Vinon has passed a rigorous selection process. So, if you want to know what is in or out and make sure that you are in the loop in terms of what is fashionable, take a good look at the Vinon window displays. For those who consider design the epitome of everything important in life, anything not sold at Vinon quite simply doesn't exist. FESTIVALS: SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY The festivals celebrated in a city tell you a lot about its way of life. Barcelona is a city that loves to celebrate, a fact made obvious by the almost infinite variety of cultural events organised throughout the year. The festival programming is diverse, including theatre, dance, music, cinema and video, but one thing is certain - Barcelona gives everyone something to

celebrate. Cutting-edge music and multimedia art are celebrated at Snar and the Contemporary Music Festival. Other musical styles are not neglected either - the city organises yearly festivals focused entirely on guitar music, flamenco, opera, jazz and world music. Other art forms get their day in the spotlight during the International Festival of Visual Theatre and Puppetry or the local film festivals, L'Alternativa 2000, the International Independent Film Festival and MECAL, the city's tribute to the short film. Most of the festivals are privately organised and funded but receive a varying amount of public financing and support. However, the city, via the Barcelona Institute for Culture, also stages a number of events such as the BAM (a music festival that coincides with the Merc holiday) and the Barcelona Grec Summer Festival. The latter festival is probably the most important, cultural event taking place in the city during the summer and emphasizes the creative efforts of both local and international productions. Every corner of the city participates in the festival to give audiences a glimpse into the newest movements and most innovative trends taking place in contemporary theatre, dance and music.

Modernism in Barcelona Modernism in Barcelona

Modernism wasn't just an artistic movement; it was also a way of thinking, a social approach and a political attitude. It spread into all facets of city life and therefore exercised an enormous influence on the second half of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century. At that time, Barcelona was already a city open to new ideas and the cultural movements taking place throughout Europe. In carving its European identity, Barcelona was also attempting to differentiate itself from the rest of Spain, which had stripped the region of most of its national and institutional rights after the war in 1714.

Modernism wasn't just an artistic movement; it was also a way of thinking, a social approach and a political attitude. It spread into all facets of city life and therefore exercised an enormous influence on the second half of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century. At that time, Barcelona was already a city open to new ideas and the cultural movements taking place throughout Europe. In carving its European identity, Barcelona was also attempting to differentiate itself from the rest of Spain, which had stripped the region of most of its national and institutional rights after the war in 1714. Modernism was a fruit of this time, a period marked by intellectual, artistic and social upheaval, and the innovative and radically new movement inspired a generation of groundbreaking artists. This new movement found expression in all artistic areas, including sculpture, painting, literature, music, ornamentation and design. However, it was in the field of architecture that modernism reached its most complete and highest form of expression. Amongst the many followers and exponents of this movement, there are three names that have come to symbolise modernist Barcelona. Antoni Gaud Antoni Gaud was one of the driving forces behind the modernist fervour that took hold of the city's architectural world. Gaud was born in Reus (Tarragona) but created most of his work in Barcelona, where he moved at age twenty to pursue a career in architecture. He made a name for himself with his unique and seemingly unlimited imagination and his peculiar and radical approach to architecture. However, he also had his fair share of critics in

his time. One of his most acclaimed buildings, the Casa Mil, was the subject of much criticism and mockery. Its massive stone facade earned it the nickname La Pedrera (piedra means stone in Spanish). Gaud was often ahead of his time, and the only element banned from his work was the straight line. Instead, he opted for curved lines, vibrant colours, mythical creatures and an unbridled imagination that touched every corner of his work. Despite his radical architectural style, Gaud could always rely on the ecclesiastical sector, which provided him with significant commissions like the Sagrada Familia, and the city's bourgeoisie, which always supported his whimsical and fantastical architecture. The Casa Batll, the Casa Calvet and the Casa Mil are examples of residences that Gaud designed for some of the city's wealthiest families. But the greatest influence on Gaud's work was the industrialist Eusebi Gell, a personal friend and patron of the artist. He commissioned Gaud to

build the Palau Gell and the Park Gell. The latter is a vast, open-air space that allows you to appreciate Gaud's incredible talent and visit his home, which is now a museum. As it is often the case with creative geniuses, Gaud's death was as unusual as his life. Gaud died on the morning of June 10th, 1926. He was on his way to Sunday mass at the Sant Felip Neri Church when he was hit and killed by a tram. Llus Domnech i Montaner Domnech i Montaner was one of the most prolific architects in his day, dedicated to the creation of a modern and different architectural style. His buildings display Moorish influences in addition to the sinuous lines that came to characterise modernist architecture. One of the best examples of this stylistic fusion is the restaurant he built in the Ciutadela Park in 1888. The building, known as the Castle of the Three Dragons, now houses the Zoology Museum.

Did you know that The zero kilometre mark of the Modernist Route is located on Passeig de Grcia. This route makes its way through many different European cities, identifying key buildings and monuments belonging to this artistic movement.

Josep Puig i Cadafalch Considered the last representative of modernism and the first exponent of noucentismo, the artistic movement that followed the former, Puig i Cadafalch was known for more than his architectural innovation. He played an equally important role in Catalan politics during that time. His career can be divided into three different phases. In the first phase, he was inspired by Nordic styles, which is reflected in buildings such as the Casa Amatller. This enormous residence, located on Passeig de Grcia, recalls the typical, 18th century houses that lined the canals in Amsterdam. The second phase resulted in many of the residences the architect built for members of the bourgeoisie. Finally, the third phase reached its pinnacle with the 1929 International Exposition for which Puig i Cadafalch served as the head architect. The Casa de les Punxes, located in the Eixample, is one of the city's most spectacular buildings, built in a style that fuses Nordic influences with motifs from medieval castles.

He received first prize in the architectural competition organised by the city in 1906 for the Casa Lle Morera, located on Passeig de Grcia's Manzana de la Discordia. This city block is famous for the many modernist landmarks located along its length. However, his crowning achievements are without a doubt the Palau de la Msica Catalana and the Hospital de Sant Pau. The latter is considered one of the city's most impressive modernist complexes, and its detailed design and immense dimensions explain why it took the architect thirty years to complete the project. During those thirty years, Domnech i Montaner collaborated with sculptors like Eusebi Arnau and Pau Gargallo and painters like Francesc Labarta to achieve the hospital's intricate, ornate design.

The house was built in 1905; shortly thereafter, Puig i Cadafalch completed his work on the Casaramona Factory. The factory was renovated with great care and accuracy and now houses the cultural centre CaixaForum. In its time, the factory received awards and was celebrated as one of the era's best, modernist structures, largely due to its seamless combination of monumental design and industrial function.

A nota This symbol indicates that you are on the Modernist Route. You can safely assume that there is a landmark building worth visiting nearby.

Els Quatre Gats Pere Romeo inaugurated his restaurant Els Quatre Gats on June 12th, 1897. He had been inspired by the Le Chat Noir in Paris, and the restaurant immediately stood out for being highly unusual. Its peculiar character bore a resemblance to traditional guesthouses and taverns as well as the elegant bars that had become wildly popular throughout Europe at the time. The restaurant quickly turned into a watering hole for the local, bohemian scene. Modernist circles and artists gathered here to exchange ideas and socialise. Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusiol, Isaac Albniz and Antoni Gaud were all frequent guests at Els Quatre Gats. In addition to socialising, the groups also organised literary circles, gatherings and conferences and, in 1899, a very young Picasso held his first-ever exhibition at the restaurant. Els Quatre Gats is still here, serving both a spirited atmosphere as well as good Catalan cuisine at its location on Carrer Montsi.

1 Casa Batll 2 Manzana de la Discordia 3Casa Lle Morera 4 Parc Gell 5 Casa de les Punxes 6 La Pedrera 7 Farolas Paseo de Gracia 8 Casa Amatller 9 Parc Gell 10 Palau de la Msica 11 La Pedrera

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The Rambla, an unforgettable promenade The Rambla, an unfogettable promenade

In every city there is a street that is more than a mere thoroughfare, a street that has turned into a symbol. In Barcelona that street is the Rambla, a landmark depicted in countless photographs that many consider to be the "world's prettiest street". No visit to Barcelona is complete without at least one stroll down the Rambla, because this is the centre of city life.

This tree-lined promenade, bustling with tourists as well as locals, flanked by both old shops and modern businesses, stage to open air art and unique buildings, tells the story of day to day life in a modern city. And, of course, there is no shortage of pickpockets either, much like on any other important, busy avenue in any other large, urban city. Therefore, be alert as you stroll along the promenade and enjoy its many facets - facets that have changed significantly over the centuries. In comparison to much of the city centre, the Rambla is actually quite modern. It is difficult to imagine that until the 18th century the Rambla was little more than a torrent surrounded by convents, buildings and city walls. In 1704 houses sprung up and replaced the rocks, trees were planted and the area was given a proverbial "face-lift". Towards the end of the 18th century, the idea that this torrent could be turned into a promenade was considered for the first time. This was when the stretch between Plaa Catalunya and the Columbus monument was first developed, drawing a straight line from the

city centre down to the sea. The promenade became a popular spot with locals almost immediately. In the 19th century many wealthy families decided that the area had become sufficiently posh, and they began to build their houses and palaces along the length of the promenade. The Rambla's popularity grew over time, and nowadays both locals and foreigners alike consider it to be the city's most famous street. The buildings that line the promenade are equally well-known, such as, for example, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, one of the world's premiere opera houses. The underground station at Liceu, located on the Rambla itself, still bears the old anagram for the Gran Metropolitano de Barcelona (GMB), the city's previous underground transport authority. The first underground line was inaugurated in 1924, and its route ran from Lesseps to Catalunya. The Rambla is actually divided into five sections, Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, Rambla de les Flors, Rambla dels Caputxins and Rambla de Santa Mnica, which

helps visitors get a better understanding of this famed promenade. As part of the urban restructuring brought about by the 1992 Olympic Games, the city redesigned the port area around the Columbus monument. The Rambla was extended, and the new, modern section, known as the Rambla de Mar, arches over the sea and leads to the Maremagnum shopping centre. (See Route 4: A Stroll down the Rambla).

1 Casa Bruno Quadros 2 Casa Bruno Quadros 3 Casa Bruno Quadros 4 Coln 5 Metro Liceu en Navidad 6 Mercat de la Boqueria 7 Font de Canaletes 8 www.takeoffguides.com 9 Rambla de les Flors 10 Huellas prostitutas 11 Rambla de Canaletes

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The markets: a mediterranean tradition

The markets: a mediterranean tradition


Most visitors will not want to leave Barcelona without a typical souvenir. Making a decision isn't an easy task, considering the ample selection at hand. However, choose carefully since more than one shop will try to convince you that a Mexican hat or a doll in a flamenco dress is a representative souvenir, and Barcelona has much more to offer than that. In fact, shopping is one of the city's strongest points. Barcelona is home to a wide variety of trendy shops as well as designer stores selling the most exclusive brands. But before heading out on a shopping spree, you shouldn't forget about another very typical style of shopping, a style that defines Barcelona as a Mediterranean city and can only be found at the traditional markets.

Over the course of thousands of years, markets have been a centrepiece of the Mediterranean way of life. In a region where commerce was the predominant economic activity, life took place outside, and its social centre was always the marketplace. Barcelona was no exception to this, and even nowadays, locals still embrace the tradition of shopping at the market. The city is home to more than forty markets, some of which are located inside buildings of great cultural and architectural value. Each one of these places is a piece of the city's collective history. Mercat de la Boqueria This market must have something special about it since it is amongst the most frequently photographed places in the city. Although it isn't considered an official monument, it is treated as such. A visit to this magnificent market is an absolute must, both for its location right on the Rambla (see Route 4) as well as for the vibrant atmosphere inside. The first thing to grab your attention when stepping into the Boqueria is the mixture of smells and colours that fill the entrance. The stalls are bursting with arrangements of the freshest vegetables and a vast variety of fruit, both locally grown as well as imported from exotic, faraway countries. Everything is thought out down to the tiniest detail because at this market the aesthetics of presentation count as much as how much produce is sold. The market is made up of more than 300 shops, set up in stalls along eleven aisles. This is the largest market in all of Spain, and it offers the most extensive variety of goods. Therefore, if you come here with something specific in mind, you will definitely find it. And if you have just come to browse and enjoy the atmosphere then you will probably end up splurging

on one little impulsive purchase or another. But that isn't all. The Boqueria isn't just a blend of different cultures brought together under one roof. It is also one of the city's most interesting pieces of architecture. Imagine shopping within an enormous and yet infinitely delicate iron structure, held up by Ionic columns and illuminated by light streaming in through giant panes of glass in the ceiling. Locals love to show off this charming market, where many of the vendors have grown into almost legendary characters. Ask any of the vendors to tell you about Moos ... it is definitely an experience worth having! Mercat del Born This is another one of Barcelona's great markets, located at the end of the Passeig del Born, in one of the city's currently hippest and most fashionable areas. This market, one of the best examples of Barcelona's famed iron architecture, was built by Joseph Fontser i Mestre in 1876. There is a rather peculiar and fascinating story behind this market. After years of lying unused and largely forgotten, the structure was considered as the future home of the Regional Library of Barcelona. Construction began in 2002, which was when the terrain revealed a rather unexpected finding. Beneath the old foundations, the crew discovered remnants of the old medieval city circa 1714, the time period following the siege Felipe V and his troops waged against Barcelona. This is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in all of Europe; no one has ever found such an enormous archaeological park before. Therefore, after a period of intense and inevitable debate, a decision was made to preserve the ruins and move the library to a different, still undecided location. The excavations have yielded an invaluable look at ancient stables, fishermen's houses and other dwellings as well as the old marketplace.

Mercat del Ninot Ninot means doll in Catalan, a rather peculiar name for a market located in the heart of the Eixample district (on Carrer Mallorca, 131). The name is owed to the doll that crowns the facade, which, so the legend goes, was forgotten there by a sailor who was shipwrecked along the city's coast. The market was originally an open-air venue. In 1933, the market was renovated, a process in which the original structure was preserved but the interior was completely redesigned. Mercat de Sant Antoni Many people associate markets with the outskirts of a city, but in Barcelona that is not the case. The Sant Antoni Market, for example, takes up an entire city block in the Eixample Esquerre (the left side of the district) between the Comte d'Urgell, Comte Borell, Manso and Tamarit streets. Its beginnings resemble those of many other markets: a simple jumble of moveable stalls gathered on a square. This changed when the area began its process of urban development, and the neighbours requested an enclosed market area. The building that houses the market was designed in the tradition of modernist, iron architecture, a style marked by uncovered and visible building materials. The produce section of the market is open from Monday through Saturday, but on four days of the week the market also turns into a very busy shopping area, filled with shops selling clothing and household goods. The market undergoes another transformation on Sunday mornings when it houses a market where people buy, sell and exchange used books. It is definitely the most interesting of its kind in all of Barcelona.

1 Mercat de St. Antoni 2 Mercat del Ninot 3 Bala en el Paseo del Borne 4 Plaza St. Josep Oriol en domingo 5 La Boquera 6 Mercat del Born 7 Mural Joan Salvat Papasseit (Borne) 8 Casa Amatller 9 Graffiti (Borne) 10 www..takeoffguides.com 11 Mercat del Ninot

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Open air Barcelona: Squares and Terraces Open air Barcelona: Squares and Terraces
Barcelona is full of surprises and strolling through its many streets is the best recipe for running into them. The rhythms of a city aren't necessarily contained within the walls of museums or cultural centres. In fact, the streets and squares within every neighbourhood are far better places to catch a glimpse of what real life is like in the city. However, it would be almost impossible to compile a list that included all of these different squares and places. Therefore, we will focus on just a few that, due to their historical significance or unique atmosphere, somehow stand out from the rest.

Of all the neighbourhoods in Barcelona, Graci definitely has the most squares, and each one has a story to tell. The Plaa del Diamant is famous because it gave its name to one of the most internationally acclaimed novels in Catalonia's literary history. Plaa del Sol is the site of the neighbourhood's yearly festival as well as the epicentre of the area's nightlife. Plaa Rius i Taulet is home to the district's city hall and a very symbolic clock tower. When the weather turns warm and sunny, people flock to the squares at all hours of the day ... including late at night, much to the chagrin of the people who live alongside the squares. However, Graci simply wouldn't be the same without this popular atmosphere, a trait that has always characterised this area. The Gothic Quarter also contains many interesting little squares amidst its maze of narrow, winding streets. For example, the Plaa Sant Just, close to Dagueria street, is the last remnant of what was once an ancient cemetery and even today it still has a romantic if slightly gloomy air about it. The Plaa del Pi, located right next to the street and church bearing the same name, is one of the area's busiest. Just around the corner is the Plaa de Josep Oriol, which often turns into a crafts fair at the weekends.

Somewhat further away but well worth the visit is the Plaa de la Sagrada Familia, a unique square in a class all of its own. It is usually full of people no matter the time of day. When deciding on a time to visit the square, sunset is definitely the best choice. This is when the lights on the square flicker to life and the cathedral's mirror image is reflected in the lake below. Certainly there are larger squares of perhaps greater urban importance within the city (such as Plaa Espanya, Plaa Catalunya, Plaa Francesc Maci ...). All of these places have played an important role in the city's history, but due to their strategic locations, they have somehow lost much of their charm. Nowadays, they seem to recall the stress associated with our busy, daily routines rather than conjuring up any kind of romance. The local custom of going out for a coffee, snack or drink has brought with it the tradition of the open air terrace. Many bars and restaurants have tables and seating set up outside, which can even be enjoyed throughout the winter months thanks to Barcelona's mild climate. Some of these cafs have already earned themselves an almost mythical reputation, such as the Caf Zurich. Located on Plaa Catalunya, it is one of those places where everyone is gua-

ranteed to drop in at one time or another. One of the absolute top-notch, luxury terraces is located at the Hotel Casa Fuster (Passeig de Grcia, 132), the only five-star, deluxe hotel in the city to also be classified as a monument. From its highest point, visitors can admire the city below as well as a truly spectacular panoramic view across Barcelona, from the city centre all the way to the sea. A visit wouldn't be complete without a peek at the magnificent hotel caf, but if you decide to take a break and order something, don't be surprised when you are charged five-star, deluxe prices! The upper sections of the city, especially along the Avenida Tibidabo, also contain some of the city's best kept secrets as well as some of the most stunning views. Amongst all of the terraces that line the mountainside, the one at Mirablau is the most famous. Although Mirablau is a cocktail bar and dance club, it is open during the afternoon and is an ideal spot for some good conversation whilst contemplating the city from above. Barcelona's character is marked by change, which ensures that there is always a new place to discover. Therefore, it is best to wander through the city with open eyes and allow yourself to be surprised; in that way you will discover your very own Barcelona.

1 Pl. Espaa 2 Pl. del Diamant 3 Avda. Gaud 4 Terraza Museo Textil 5 Antiguo anuncio en Pl. Rius i Taulet 6 Pl. Francesc Maci 7 Pl. Rovira 8 www..takeoffguides.com 9 Pl. Rius i Taulet 10 Pl. Catalunya 11 Tibidabo

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Barcelona Festivals Barcelona Festivals

Barcelona has a rich tradition when it comes to festivals. Whether traditional, romantic, outrageous, religious or for children - there is definitely something for everyone. Certain festivals take place in other Spanish cities at the same time (or even coincide with festivities around the world, such as the Carnival), whereas others are unique and special to Barcelona. When the time comes to celebrate these latter events, the citizens of Barcelona pull out all the stops.

Sant Medir This is a festival particular to the Graci neighbourhood, which takes place during the first weekend in March. Legend has it that Saint Medir was a simple, Christian peasant living in the outskirts of Barcelona around 303 A.D. He owed his fame to a highly unusual variety of beans, which simply sprung up from the ground in his garden immediately after being planted. One day, as Medir was harvesting his magical crop, he was taken prisoner and tortured by the Romans. He came to be seen as a martyr, and the grounds where his house had stood were turned into a hermitage in his name. Nowadays, the legend is remembered with a pilgrimage from the city to the hermitage, an event which attracts people of all ages. The high point of the day, however, comes in the afternoon. A parade, complete with horses and carriages, meanders down the Gran de Graci Street and showers spectators with endless streams of candy. Sant Jordi The most cherished holiday for the majority of Barcelona citizens is probably April 23rd. The

legend of Sant Jordi tells the story of a brave knight who saved a village's maidens from a fearsome dragon that lived off their blood. When the dragon died a rose bush is said to have blossomed in its place. Sant Jordi plucked the loveliest of the roses and gave it to the village's princess. The legend has given birth to the Sant Jordi holiday, during which custom dictates that men give women a rose, and women give men a book. The city comes alive, and streets like the Passeig de Graci and the Ramblas fill up with stalls selling roses and books. It all adds up to a truly spectacular and lively day that is unlike any other. Sant Joan The night of June 23rd, the shortest of the year, is ruled by the king of fire, who invites everyone to join the summer solstice celebration. The holiday of Sant Joan is actually not until the following day, but the night prior explodes in a celebration that cannot be missed out on. Many welcome Sant Joan with sleepless eyes, still awake from a night of seemingly endless partying.

Traditionally, the night was characterised by neighbourhood parties that spilled out onto the streets and dinners accompanied by "coca" (a type of pastry) and a glass of "cava" (Catalonian sparkling wine). The festivities have changed much over the years. In the past, everyone participated in building bonfires on the streets, but the risk of uncontrolled fires has put an end to this tradition. Nowadays, bonfires can only be built with a special permit. However, firecrackers, an equally classic Sant Joan artefact, have not suffered such a fate, and they are still set off with as much glee as in the past. Some consider this an annoyance, but others see them as an absolutely essential ingredient of the nocturnal Sant Joan festivities. The younger generations (as well as some energetic members of older ones) usually gather at one of the mega-parties that the city organises. More often than not, these parties take place along the city beaches since Sant Joan also celebrates the arrival of summer. Fiestas de Graci August is the month in which Barcelona, as well as the rest of Catalonia, celebrates its

"fiestas mayores". These are essentially city or neighbourhood festivals, days set aside during which people cast off daily routines and head out onto the streets to celebrate and enjoy themselves. The most famous "fiesta mayor" within Barcelona is doubtlessly celebrated in the Graci neighbourhood. Graci gives the party an extra special touch, something more than the typical concerts, orchestras, children's games, traditional culinary treats, etc. For many centuries, Graci has celebrated another, very unique tradition. Almost all of the streets enter a contest to see which has the best decorations during the week-long festivities. The neighbours of each street take all year to come up with a theme and design details, usually even creating them by hand. Finally, they all get together and decorate their street with great imaginative flair. The neighbourhood undergoes a fantastical transformation during this week and takes on an appearance that truly celebrates originality and creativity. Although the competitive edge is in high gear, participating is still what counts the most. Fiestas de la Merc September 24th is the day dedicated to the Virgin of the Merc, the city's patron saint since 1687 (before that it was Santa Eullia). However, as this is the city's most important holiday, it deserves more than one day of festivities. Therefore, the entire week is packed with different events and concerts, and the city is literally buzzing with excitement and life. One of the most traditional things to do is to watch the "castellers", who usually gather on the Plaa Sant Jaume. The "castellers" are one of Catalonia's most deeply-rooted traditions; it consists of building human towers: a delicate, acrobatic structure consisting of several people. The smallest person in the group, known as the "anxeneta", has to use the already positioned bodies of the other members to climb to the very top and crown the tower. Another popular tradition is the "correfoc". Groups of "devils", also known as "colles", run through the streets shooting balls of fire and gigantic sparklers into the air ... as well as water to ensure that no serious injuries or damages occur. In addition to these classic

events, other exhibitions and cultural festivals such as BAM, which stages a number of different concerts, take place throughout the week. Another successful, parallel event is the Barcelona Arts Carrer, a festival that turns the city into a stage and involves everyone passing by in the performances taking place. The closing day of the Merc festival is celebrated with the by now famous "Pyromusical", a spectacular display of fireworks coordinated to the beat of a variety of musical styles. Normally, the show takes place over the Magic Fountains at the foot of Montjuic. Last year, however, as part of the Forum of Cultures programme, the magnificent show enjoyed a special edition over the sea.

Parks and Gardens Parks and Gardens

Barcelona has always placed high value on balancing its urban areas with green spaces. Although the city experienced growth spurts during which it expanded quite significantly, the growth always went hand in hand with the preservation or creation of parks and gardens. Every neighbourhood has areas set aside for enjoying some peace and quiet amidst the green. The parks and gardens come in many shapes and sizes, some large and full of leisure activities, others marked by history and some that are secret hideaways, tucked into the centre of city blocks. In addition to all the parks and gardens within the city, Barcelona is also surrounded by vast expanses of natural terrain that are the perfect getaway for escaping the city's traffic and pollution. The options are so varied that it would be almost impossible to list all of the parks and gardens in this section; therefore, we have decided to focus on those that stand out due to their historical significance, their popularity amongst the local population or the type of activities that can be found within their perimeter. Parc de la Ciutadella This isn't merely the largest park in the city; it is also the one most marked by history. In the year 1888, the mayor at the time, Rius i Taulet,

decided to put the area to good use and created a public park, which also served as the centre for the World Fair that Barcelona was hosting that same year. This era isn't just a long faded memory; buildings dating back to that time still stand within the park's perimeter. Some of the buildings have been preserved and many now serve other functions than they were originally intended for. For example, the Governor's Palace is now a secondary school and the old arsenal now houses the Catalan Parliament. Right next door is the Museum of Modern Art, and visitors can also stop in at the old chapel. However, the museum isn't the only place to find art in the park; in fact, art pieces are scattered throughout the area. Outside the Parliament, in what were once the old parade grounds, lies a pretty, little lake surrounded by gardens. At its centre stands one of the most representative statues of Catalan modernism entitled "El Desconsol" by Josep Llimona. Another construction that has bestowed the park with much fame is "La Cascada con el Carro de l'Aurora" (The Waterfall with Aurora's Carriage). The piece in question is an enormous fountain by Josep Fontser and an almost inevitable stop along any walk through this park. The fountain as you see it now isn't exactly the same as the original. After a renovation in

1992, a decision was made to add new sculptures by artists such as Alentorn and Venanci Vallmitjana. The park also offers a great wealth in leisure activities such as walking, jogging, cycling or simply spending a day outside and enjoying the sun and a picnic. Anyone interested in botany and plants will definitely enjoy the great variety of species, most of which are clearly identified with a small plaque. The diverse bird species number more than a hundred and their song and chatter add a lovely touch to the park's atmosphere. One of the most popular areas in the park is definitely the lake. Children are especially fond of the little row boats that can be rented (2 per half hour) and rowed across the lake, past the many ducks and around the "bald cypress tree" - a peculiar variety, native to certain areas in the United States, that can only grow inside the water. A rather strange sculpture stands to the left of the lake - the stone mammoth, one of the most emblematic pieces in the park. It is a life-size rendition of the prehistoric animal and has graced this spot for more than a century. Children are definitely the ones most taken with the mammoth, and the majority of them will jump

your walk through the park. This option allows you to see a greater variety of plants, many of which are marked with signs identifying their species. Once you are familiar with the plants, it isn't difficult to recognise them, allowing you to learn and discover the Collserola vegetation while enjoying your time outside. The path is dotted with many observation points from which you can look down onto the city as well as relaxing spots at which to take a break, play a round of ping-pong or let the children clamber around the playgrounds. Another attraction that is very popular with children is the steam train, which offers an alternate way of exploring the park. The miniature train, an exact replica of its old-fashioned relatives, still has a coal-burning engine. The train covers a 1 km long trajectory during which it crosses over bridges and goes through tunnels. The train only operates at the weekend, between 11am and 2pm, when the weather conditions are good. Another activity especially designed for children is the Pony Club, where the little ones can sign up for a short riding lesson. After their initiation, they can head out for a 45 minute ride through the park under the watchful eye of an expert guide. The Pony Club has the same hours as the steam train and is only open on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The park also has ample green areas set up for picnics, which makes the Parc del Castell de l'Oreneta a perfect destination for a day outdoors with the entire family. The park has entrances on the Can Caralleu road, the Biada passage and next to one of the Ronda de Dalt off-ramps. Tel. 934 132 424 Parc del Laberint d'Horta The gardens at the Parc del Laberint are the oldest in the city. They were designed in the 18th century when the aristocrat Joan Antoni Devalls commissioned them for his 50 hectare private estate. The gardens take up approximately 9 hectares and were designed in a neoclassic style. The gardens were opened to the public in 1971. They have been completely restored since then, and their current appearance has garnered them a designation as a garden museum. At their centre is a neoclassic house that serves as the headquarters for the Labyrinth's Training Centre. The ancient defence tower next to the house is known as the Torre Subirana. The historical information is important, but knowing a few, key details about the garden's design might be even more useful during your visit to the park. The garden's structure takes up three levels. The most important facet of the upper terrace is the lake, which collects all of the water used to irrigate the gardens. The hillside is marked by a natural slope which takes you down to the romantic garden, decorated with cupolas held up by Tuscan columns. The lowest level is where you find the labyrinth

at the chance to climb onto one of the tusks. The park is also home to two other classic buildings, which were originally conceived as greenhouses. The former, known as the Umbracle, still serves as a nursery for tropical plants, but the latter, known as the Hivernacle, has been turned into a pleasant caf and restaurant, which is open every day. This building is a wonderful example of an architectural style which used glass and iron as its primary materials and gained immense popularity in Europe following the construction of the Eiffel Tower. Approximately half of the park grounds are taken up by the Barcelona Zoo. The entrance is decorated with a sculpture depicting deer leaping into the air, a piece intended as homage to Walt Disney. Inside the zoo, you can see one of the most popular figures in the city - "La Dama del Paraiges" (The Lady with the Umbrella), a sculpture by the artist Joan Roig i Sol. For many years, the zoo was most famous for being home to Snowflake, the world's only albino gorilla and the zoo's friendliest denizen. Snowflake was one of a kind; since his death, there are no other gorillas left in the world that bear his unique characteristics. Many people mourned his death and still miss his presence when visiting the zoo. Passeig Picasso, Passeig Pujades and Carrer Wellington Open from 10am until sunset. Underground: Arc de Triomf (L1) Parc del Castell de l'Oreneta At the beginning of the 20th century, two country estates, Can Bonavista and Castell de l'Oreneta, were the most famous in the Collserola foothills. The former belonged to the Comte Mil family and the latter to the Tous family. The park that resulted from joining these two estates begins behind the Pedralbes monastery and stretches across the hillside. One of the park's most interesting facets is that it has managed to maintain much of the area's typical vegetation. Visitors can choose from a number of potential walking routes upon entering the park. The basic itinerary consists of two, almost parallel paths that lead towards Can Caralleu and circle the ancient castle ruins. However, if you are more adventurous and enjoy walking, there are other ways to explore the terrain. You can follow the clearly marked trails and extend

that gives the park its name. The labyrinth is made up of cypress trees, cut into long, rectangular walls about 3 metres tall. The green passages run in many directions, cutting angles into the plants and covering approximately 750 metres. It is quite easy to get lost in the maze of green, running into dead-ends, walking in circles, finding yourself exactly where you started - but it is all in good fun and everyone who has made their way in, has always found a way back out.

Several, quiet resting places are nestled into the three terraces, decorated with many, different details such as sculptures, terracotta jars, pergolas and fountains. The entire estate is much larger than the labyrinth gardens, and the remaining hectares have been preserved in their natural state. No construction has marred this beautiful example of the Mediterranean forest, full of pines and small brush, which adds to the park's peaceful and romantic atmosphere. Since the gardens are considered a museum, you cannot ride bicycles or rollerblade nor can you bring animals or play football. However, these activities are permitted in the terrain surrounding the gardens, and picnics can be organised in the areas specifically set aside for this purpose. The park has entrances on German Desvalls and Passeig dels Castanyers Underground: Mundet (L3) Parc de Montjuc This is probably the most well-known park in the city, both for its location on the mountain of the same name as well as all the leisure and cultural activities it offers. If you take a look at our

chapter on Routes, the one describing the Anella Olmpica-Montjuic route will give you plenty of detailed information about everything that you can do in this park. To give you a brief idea of the main points of interest, we will only mention a few, key places: the Grec Theatre, the Palau Sant Jordi, the Poble Espanyol and the Olympic Stadium. The Montjuc Park also includes the Barcelona Botanical Garden, where you can find species from places as far away as Eastern Asia, China and Japan but that feel at home in the Mediterranean climate. Many of the plants grow outside, whereas others are kept inside the many greenhouses scattered throughout the garden. The mountain also has gardens that take you back in time to the hanging gardens of Babylon. These gardens grow over terraces and hang across balconies that are connected by a series of paths. Amidst the green, you come across waterfalls, stairways, fountains and sculptures until you reach the grand finale - the Grec Teatre (Catalan for Greek Theatre). The theatre, which mimics the amphitheatre popular in ancient Greece, was built in 1920 based

on a design by Ramon Ravents. Nowadays, the theatre hosts many concerts and takes the spotlight during its namesake festival, which takes place in the summer. Parc de Joan Mir or L'Escorxador This is one of the city's most popular parks, located amidst urban surroundings, very close to Plaa Espanya. It takes up an area that used to serve as the city's main slaughterhouse, which is where it gets its second name (escorxador means slaughterhouse in Catalan). Obviously, its current activities are far more pleasant than its past might suggest, and the park hosts many local events. The best way to recognise the park is by the famous Mir statue, Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird), that graces one of its corners. The statue is 22 metres tall and can be seen from quite a distance, which has given it a rather symbolic character within the city. The park isn't just your typical, green space. Some of the area is indeed green, but another section, located near the local library, is paved and therefore very popular amongst young skaters and rollerbladers. The park is an excellent example of how an old facility was re-thought and restructured to provide the city with more outdoor areas.

The park can be accessed from the following streets: Llan, Tarragona, Diputaci, Vilamar and Arag Underground: Plaa Espanya (L1, L3) Parc de l'Espanya Industrial Along with the Parc Joan Mir, this is one of the largest, urban parks in the city. The park takes its rather peculiar name from the fact that the terrain was once home to a famous textile factory named La Espaa Industrial. The factory was built in the 19th century when the textile industry was the driving engine behind much of the city's economy. The park is tucked into an area next to the Barcelona-Sants central train station. It is immediately recognisable thanks to its enormous towers that double as the park's lighting. The stands that serve as seating are another unique element in the park as is the lake, measuring 8,000 square metres in size, where you can rent row boats. Underground: Sants Estaci (L3 and L5)

Route 01

From the Anilla Olmpica to Plaa Espaya From the Anilla Olmpica to Plaa Espanya
Montjuic Mountain is much more than just a mountain, more than just a great spot from which to admire panoramic views onto the city and the Mediterranean Sea. The mountain tells many stories from the past. Several important historical events took place here that changed the fate of the city and influenced the course of its development. Strolling around Montjuic is like taking a journey through the area's history and culture. However, it isn't just the past that is relived up here; the future is equally present, manifested in many structures that have their eye set on what is yet to come. A good place from which to start an exploration of the mountain is the Anella Olmpica. This is the area containing the vast majority of the installations built for the 1992 Olympic Games. One of these structures is the Palau Sant Jordi, which was inaugurated in 1990 at the beginning of the Games and is still considered a landmark of modern architecture. It retains much of the innovation and freshness that characterised it a decade ago and remains a model for the kind of modern design that Barcelona is famous for. The Palau Sant Jordi has grown to symbolise not only the glory of the Olympic Games but also Barcelona as a city. Originally conceived as an athletic facility for gymnastic events, the pavilion soon expanded to host other activities. Artists from all around the world have graced the pavilion's stage with their concerts and both theatrical and dance performances have taken advantage of the space's extraordinary dimensions. When Barcelona hosted the Swimming World Championships, the entire pavilion was turned into an enormous, indoor swimming pool. On other occasions, this flexible, multipurpose space has been used for a variety of other sporting events, such as a number of motocross championships. The driving force behind each event at the Palau is to take advantage of the space's incredible dimensions, which include seating for up to 17,000 spectators in the stands. Many people claim that the Palau's exterior reminds them of a flying saucer, and it is true that there is something truly spectacular and out of this world about architect Arata Isozaki's work. When seen from above, you can notice that the roof consists of an enormous, metal net interspersed with many, glazed, ceramic tiles. The resulting design is absolutely original and surprising, created with computer graphics by the Japanese designer Mamoru Kawaguchi. The Olympic Stadium is located right next to the Palau. Until the Olympic Games, the site had housed a previous stadium, built for the 1929 International Fair, which served as a foundation for the new facility. It is unlikely that anyone in Barcelona has forgotten the glorious moment in which a fiery arrow lit the stadium's torch during the Olympic Games' inaugural celebration. Thanks to such memorable moments in civic pride as well as its monumental nature, the stadium has become one of the city's most beloved athletic facilities. The Olympic Stadium bears little resemblance to its 1929 counterpart, largely due to the immense renovation and restructuring the facility underwent. The structure was given completely new infrastructure, high-tech equipment and facilities as well as an increased seating capacity that can now accommodate 56,000 spectators (with the addition of professional stands that capacity can be augmented to reach 77,000). All the effort and hard work that went into the new facility did not go unrewarded - the UEFA has graced the stadium with a five-star designation. This is just another reminder of how much the Olympic Games contributed to the modernisation of Barcelona as a city. Further recollections to this end can be visited at the stadium's Olympic Gallery, a permanent exhibition dedicated to these sixteen days of Olympic celebration. The exhibition includes artefacts that formed part of the inaugural and closing ceremonies as well as a variety of audiovisual material depicting some of the event's highlights. The exhibition even goes a step further and broadens the scope beyond the 1992 Barcelona Games to include other material such as information and documentation about modern-era Olympic Games in general, from the 1896 Games in Athens until today. The Olympic Stadium followed the example set by the Palau Sant Jordi and now hosts social as well as athletic events. Amongst the latter kind, one stands out in particular - the RCD Espanyol football matches. This football club, a First Division member of the Spanish League, uses the stadium as its home base. The calibre of artists and architects that collaborated on the stadium project elevates it beyond being a mere athletic facility. Pere Domnech i Roure rehabilitated the previous stadium's facade, Vicen Navarro sculpted the front and the statues above the entrance are the work of Pau Gargallo. The stadium's classic design offers an interesting contrast to the very contemporary look of the Calatrava Tower. The tower was designed

by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, who is considered one of the most talented and innovative architects working today. Calatrava has worked on numerous projects of international renown such as several installations for the recent Olympic Games in Athens, the restructuring of the Oriente Station in Lisbon and the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. The tower served as the communication centre during the Olympic Games and quickly turned into one of the city's landmarks. Not only is it a remarkable architectural achievement, but it also forever changed the Montjuic Mountain's

artist's development and an expression of his whimsical, creative persona. In addition to the permanent collection, the foundation also organises a variety of fascinating and innovative temporary exhibitions. Several Mir sculptures have also been placed in an outdoor space such as, for example, the sculpture entitled Bon dia, Barcelona (Good morning, Barcelona), one of the artist's most eye-catching pieces. Joan Mir was drawn to a diverse array of materials, forms and colours throughout his life. This love of variety led him to experiment with many, different artistic mediums: painting,

sculpture, engraving and ceramics. He was heavily influenced by the Cubist movement until 1919, which was the same year that he met Picasso in Paris. Throughout this period, his work mostly depicted landscapes, portraits and nudes. It wasn't until later that he developed a style that approximated the ideas espoused by Surrealism. In doing so, he created his very own dream-like and fantastical language that bore a kinship to the artist Klee. He first achieved international recognition in 1928 when the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired two of his paintings. His early

skyline. Its spectacular design puts it on par with the Palau de Sant Jordi and taken together these two buildings are harbingers of what can be expected of Barcelona in the future. The tower isn't the only imprint Calatrava has left on the Catalan capital - he is also responsible for the very original bridge that crosses the Bac de Roda Street in the Sant Mart district. As you leave the Olympic area and head uphill, you will eventually reach the Montjuic Castle. Nowadays, the castle is mostly recognised for its cultural character, containing a variety of interesting museums, such as one dedicated to arms and weaponry and another to the art of comics and illustration. However, the castle's history is far less benevolent than it might seem at first glance. Catalans view the place with mixed emotions. During the Franco Dictatorship, the castle saw the execution of many important personalities in the Catalan resistance, such as Llus Companys, who, as president of the Generalitat de Catalunya at the outset of the Spanish Civil War, was a figurehead of Catalan nationalism. If the unusual museums inside the castle capture your curiosity, take some time and visit the exhibitions. The castle gardens are also worth a peek, not so much for the gardens themselves but for the lovely views onto the harbour. After finishing your visit to the castle, head down to the Joan Mir Foundation. This museum is an absolutely must-see stop on your Montjuic itinerary. It houses one of the most important collections of the Catalan artist's work, including a number of his famous paintings and sculptures as well as large-scale murals and tapestries. The unusual building - a fittingly imaginative structure - is also worth the visit. The permanent collection is a survey of the

sculpture, graphics, ceramics, theatre and textiles. If you want to gain insight into the many layers that made up this artist's genius, make sure to visit all of the foundation's halls. Certain halls are dedicated to a specific theme, such as the Sala Tapiz, which houses sculptural pieces and the Sala Joan Prats, which is entirely focused on Mir's work from the sixties and seventies. The Sala Pilar Juncosa, named after the artist's wife, and the so-called Sala K are two other important spaces in the building. The terrace is an excellent observation deck from which to look out over the city. Some of Mir's most interesting sculptural pieces, such as La Caricia de un Pjaro (A Bird's Caress), a piece done in painted bronze, are also exhibited on the terrace. The foundation houses a total of 11,000 Mir pieces: 240 paintings, 175 sculptures, 9 tapestries, 4 ceramic works, an almost complete selection of his graphic work and 8,000 drawings. The foundation's building, an architectural feat by Mir's close friend, Josep Llus Sert, is almost as extraordinary as the art inside. If a visit to the wonderful world of Mir, populated with the female form, birds, the sky and stars, has whetted your appetite, make sure to pay close attention when you find yourself on the Rambla. On the ground of this famous promenade, close to the Liceu Theatre and the Boqueria Market, is a mosaic by Mir entitled Pla de l'Os. Another open air Mir creation is to be found in the l'Excorxador Park. The park is home to one of the artist's most magnificent sculptures, entitled Mujer y Pjaro (Woman and Bird). Joan Mir (Barcelona, 1893 - Mallorca, 1983) was a multi-faceted artist, equally drawn to many different art forms, including painting,

work in painting gave way to a time in which he questioned the sense of this art form and began to dedicate himself to sculptural work. This latter form achieved its pinnacle in the work completed during the Spanish Civil War. These pieces succinctly reflect the dichotomy that existed between the horrors of war and Mir's nature as a dreamer. At the end of this inner struggle the dreamer prevailed, and Mir returned to his classic, somewhat ingenuous vision of the world, a world filled with birds, stars, female figures and lots of colour. Towards the end of his career, he worked in large format, creating murals that still decorate the Barcelona airport and Harvard University. Emerging from the imaginative world of Mir, you now find yourself very close to the Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village). This is one of the city's most peculiar areas. Strolling down the little streets inside the village walls, you notice that they are replicas of typical places from many different, Spanish regions. Artisans work in small shops along the cobblestone streets, creating handicrafts from a variety of materials and using ancient, traditional methods. Another interesting nook in this unusual village is the Sculptural Garden, an open air collection of contemporary pieces. Located inside the garden is the Fran Daurel Foundation, home to an impressive collection of avant-garde paintings, sculptures and engravings. The foundation was inaugurated in 2001 and includes the work of artists such as Dal, Guinovart, Perejaume, Tpies, Barcel, Millares and Picasso. The Poble Espanyol is more than just an architectural curiosity. It is frequently used for concerts or other cultural events, usually in conjunction with other city festivals, such as the Merc or the Grec, one of the summer's cultural

highlights. The main attraction during the Grec Festival, however, is the Grec Theatre. Although its name and structure (akin to a Greek amphitheatre) recall an ancient era, the theatre's origins are actually of a much more recent time. The architect Ramon Ravents built the theatre in 1929 for the International Fair that took place that year. The theatre was built into an old quarry on one side of the mountain. The entrance is adorned with gardens and a loggia typical of the era. The loggia also contains another treat for art lovers - a sculpture by Josep Viladomat, entitled La Noia de la Trena. During the summer festival that bears its name, the theatre hosts an always interesting and varied programme that includes theatrical, musical, dance and concert performances. The festival has gained in popularity over the years and now has such a large following that other venues have been added to support the growing programme. Events often take place at venues such as the Picornell pool, usually site of events on the children's programme, the Theatre Institute, the Mercat de les Flors, the Lliure Theatre and even outdoor spaces such as the Plaa del Rei. Another fascinating place just around the corner from the Grec Theatre is the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia. The museum is a form of time travel, taking visitors back to their most ancient origins. The journey begins with prehistoric man and carries through our entire evolution up to the middle ages. The collection consists of important findings from a variety of excavations undertaken in Catalonia and includes artefacts from ancient Catalan settlements as well as other Iberian and Mediterranean cultures. The museum is located inside a building originally constructed to house the Graphic Arts Palace during the 1929 International Fair. At this point, you are making your way down towards Plaa Espanya. Set into the hillside facing the square lies what is largely considered the city's best art museum, the National Art Museum of Catalonia also known by its popular acronym MNAC. Its building is equally spectacular, being nothing less than the old National Palace. The museum's forte is its extensive collection of medieval art. The many, long halls inside the museum are like a journey through the entire art history of Catalonia. The section on Romanesque art brings together an impressive selection of pieces from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. This style of medieval art was the first of its kind to gain any kind of

international movement throughout Europe. The collection's highlight is a series of mural paintings that, due to their size, exceptional quality and truly unique character, are considered definitive of this style. Gothic art, on the other hand, is characterised by a wealth of materials and the enormous variety of decorative and figurative elements applied in an equally varied number of techniques and typologies. These include murals, paintings on tablets, gold- and silversmithing, glazing, sculptural work with stone, wood and marble. The majority of the Gothic art stems from the period spanning the 13th and 15th centuries in Catalonia. The museum also includes well-selected collections of art from the Renaissance, the Baroque and the 19th and 20th century with special emphasis on the Modernist and Realist movements. And if that weren't already more than sufficient, the museum also invites you to wander through its basement and visit its unusual collection of drawings and etchings, a coin collection reaching as far back as the 6th century B.C. and an entire room dedicated to the art of photography, including both historical as well as avant-garde work. If you wander down the immense series of steps that lead up to the MNAC, you reach the CaixaForum, a cultural centre located on the Avenida Marqus de Comillas. The centre is dedicated to a completely different time frame than the MNAC but is equally recommendable. Located inside an old factory from the modernist era, built by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, the centre organises different exhibitions showcasing the work of contemporary painters, sculptors and photographers. In addition to the exhibitions, the centre always offers a series of lectures, conferences and children's activities. The centre's 3,000 square metres are divided up between three, separate halls, each one focused on a different social or educational activity, as well as a multi-media centre and two multi-purpose spaces. Last but not least, the centre also has an impressive auditorium, which can seat 350 people, and is used for a variety of different events, such as film screenings and concerts. The Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, another glorious reminder of the 1929 International Fair, is just a few metres from the CaixaForum. The building marked a turning point in contemporary architecture, and its interior is equally noteworthy. A true paradise for design lovers, who can admire pieces like the Barcelona Chair, an object that is still relevant after all these years. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the building as the German national pavilion for the 1929 International Fair. When the fair came to a close, the organisers decided to dismantle the pavilion. It wasn't until years later that renewed interest brought the pavilion back out of retirement, and it was rebuilt at its exact, original location. Even in its heyday the pavilion was considered a symbol of modernity, and it has since then been studied by many generations of architects. The structure is made out of glass, steel, travertine and a variety of marble, but the building's originality doesn't reside solely in its materials. The true achievements of this landmark buil-

ding are the geometry of its design, the sheer precision of each piece and the unwavering clarity with which it was all put together. In one area of the pavilion stands a reproduction of Georg Kolbe's bronze sculpture Alba. The sculpture, placed next to a small, decorative pond, gives the space a dream-like, romantic atmosphere enveloped in the otherwise thoroughly modern environment. The walk comes to an end in Plaa Espanya, after a leisurely stroll down the Avenida Maria Cristina, past the immensely popular Magic Fountain. This avenue is flanked by a number of pavilions that host the majority of fairs and congresses held in the city. The Venetian Towers that rise up to mark the end of the avenue have become one of the most photographed sites in Barcelona. The towers derive their name from the fact that their architect, Ramon Ravents, modelled them after a Venetian bell tower. They originally marked the entrance to the grounds of the 1929 International Fair and measure 47 metres in height. The towers are the perfect decorative element for the avenue leading up to the fountain and the MNAC, but they aren't the only one - other imaginative, decorative elements are the fountains and illuminated columns that line the avenue. At night this stretch of road is absolutely stunning as the columns, the steps and the fountain are all illuminated, and the MNAC is crowned with a series of light beams. As you conclude your walk and pass between the towers, you immediately notice the busy traffic circulating the roundabout, and you know that you have left the tranquillity of Montjuic Mountain behind and are once again immersed in the rhythms of the city.

Fundaci Joan Mir Parc de Montjuc, s/n Tel. +34 93 443 94 70 www.bcn.fjmiro.es Timetable: October-June: open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am to 7pm; Thursday from 10am to 9:30pm and Sundays and holidays from 10am to 2:30pm. Closed Mondays, except holidays. Tickets: 7,20 general admission. Temporary exhibitions + Espai 13: 3,60 Underground: Espanya (L1 and L3). Then take bus number 50 or 55. Poble Espanyol Avda Marqus de Comillas, 13 Tel. +34 93 508 63 00 Timetable: Open every day. Monday from 9am to 8pm. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 2am. Friday and Saturday from 9am to 4am. Sundays from 9am to 12am. Free admission to the grounds starting at 8pm. Underground: Espanya (L1 and L3). Then take any of the buses heading up Montjuic Mountain. www.poble-espanyol.com Pavell Mies van der Rohe Avenida Marqus de Comillas, s/n Timetable: 10am to 8pm, every day. Tickets: 3,5 general admission Underground: Espaa (L1 and L3) www.miesbcn.com Galeria Olmpica Estadi Olmpic - Passeig Olmpic, s/n Tel. +34 93 426 06 60 www.fundaciobarcelonaolimpica.es Timetable: October through March from 10am to 1pm and 4pm to 6pm. Closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Tickets: Adults 2,70 . Children and senior citizens : 1,50 Underground: Espanya (L1 and L3). Then take bus number 55. Fundaci Fran Daurel Avda Marqus de Comillas, s/n Poble Espanyol (Porta del Carme) Tel. +34 93 423 41 72 www.fundaciofrandaurel.com Timetable: Monday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm. Underground: Espanya (L1 and L3) CaixaForum Avda Marqus de Comillas, 6-8 Tel. +34 93 476 86 00 www.caixaforum.com Timetable: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm. Closed Mondays except holidays. Free admission Underground: Espanya (L1 and L3) Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya (MAC) Passeig de Santa Madrona, 39-41 Tel. +34 93 424 65 77 Timetable: Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30am to 7pm. Sundays and holidays from 10am to 2:30pm. Closed Mondays. Tickets: 2,40 www.mac.es Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) Palau Nacional Parc de Montjuc Tel. +34 93 622 03 75 www.mnac.es Timetable: Tuesday-Saturday from 10am to 7pm. Sundays and holidays from 10am to 2:30pm. Closed Mondays. Tickets: 4,80 permanent collection and 4,20 temporary exhibitions. Free admission every first Thursday of the month. Underground: Espanya (L1 and L3) Museu Militar de Montjuc and Museo del Cmic y la Ilustracin Castell de Montjuc Tel. +34 93 329 86 13 Timetable: November until mid-March: 9:30am to 5:30pm. Closed Mondays. Mid-March until October the museums close at 8pm. Tickets: Admission to the museum and castle: 2,50 . Admission to the castle and the rooms along the arms patio costs 1. Underground: Espanya (L1 and L3)

1 Caixa Forum 2 Pabell Mies van der Rohe 3 Poble Espanyol 4 Mercat de les Flors 5 Teatre Grec

6 Fundaci Mir 7 Estadi Olmpic 8 Palau Sant Jordi 9 Torre Calatrava 10 Castell de Montjic

Route 02

The heart of the Eixample Passeig de Grcia and Rambla Catalunya


The Eixample has long had the reputation of being Barcelona's most elegant district. The area's history is inextricably linked to the development of Barcelona and its transformation into a modern city. Barcelona prior to the 19th century would not be recognisable to most people who know it today. The main and most immediately obvious difference was the city wall that surrounded Barcelona, outside of which all construction and development was strictly forbidden. The space within the city walls was sufficiently large to accommodate the population for many centuries. However, the beginnings of the industrial age brought about a vast increase in the city's population as well as the demand for more areas on which to build factories. The demands of both the people and the industrial barons grew incessantly, and local officials had to accept the fact that the city's needs had outgrown the confined space within the city walls. In the mid-19th century the decision was finally made to take down the city walls and open Barcelona up to the future. This crucial decision was met by another, almost equally important question: who would be put in charge of developing the modern Barcelona, city of the future? A competition commenced with the goal of finding the most appropriate and qualified architect for the job. This brought about a conflict between the Catalan government, which supported a plan by the architect Rovira i Trias, and the central government. The latter issued a decree that put the engineer Ildefons Cerd in charge of the project. In terms of design, the Cerd plan was probably the better choice, but the manner in which the central government imposed their decision angered the Catalan capital, which had always fought relentlessly for autonomy, and earned the plan a lot of ill will in Barcelona. As a result, the Cerd Plan, which had originally been conceived for the entire city, was limited to the section between Plaa Catalunya and Diagonal that we know as the Eixample today. The area was divided into two sections, Esquerra and Dreta (left and right). The left and right sections can be easily identified by standing on Passeig de Grcia and looking up towards the mountains with your back to the sea. Cerd's urban plan consisted of an enormous network of parallel and perpendicular streets, uniform in design, which formed almost square-like city blocks. The blocks were not perfect squares because their corners were cut off at diagonal angles in order to improve visibility. The construction criteria were equally strict, demanding that no building exceed a maximum height of three floors so as to create a feeling of space and wide, brightly lit streets. Another idea for bringing more light and green to the city was the creation of peaceful gardens at the centre of each city block. Obviously, no plan is perfect and some of the criteria were not met. The majority of violations related to the height of the buildings. However, most of the streets in this area follow the design accurately, thus creating an almost perfect grid. When construction began on this new neighbourhood, the upper classes saw it as an escape from the crowded, disorderly streets that were the norm in other city neighbourhoods such as Ciutat Vella. The wealthy families of the reigning bourgeoisie commissioned the best architects to design their houses, who were, at that time, creative geniuses the likes of Antoni Gaud, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Llus Domnech i Montaner. This was how Modernism came to shape the identity of the new city centre and gave birth to houses like Casa Batll, Casa Mil and Casa Amatller. These houses, once luxurious, opulent private residences throughout the 19th century, would eventually come to be considered the modernist landmarks of contemporary Barcelona. A route through the Eixample district takes you on a tour of all that is refined, elegant and wealthy in the city. This is where you can find classic, designer stores, prestigious hotels and much of the city's financial centre. The Passeig de Grcia and Rambla Catalunya define the area from north to south. They are intersected by perpendicular streets such as Diputaci, Consell de Cent, Valncia, Mallorca and Provena. The streets Balmes, Aribau and Muntaner on the left and Pau Clars, Bruc and Girona on the right run parallel to the two elegant avenues and thus form a quadrant that brings together some of the city's most outstanding examples of modernist architecture. With this brief historical introduction to the neighbourhood under your belt, you are now ready to head out and explore.

PASSEIG DE GRCIA This is by far the most elegant and sophisticated avenue in the city. Looking down the length of the Passeig de Grcia, with its high-end designer stores and chic hotels, it is difficult to imagine that it was once nothing more than a dirt road connecting the walled in city with the little village Grcia on the hill. It wasn't until the mid-19th century that the road started to take on its modern appearance. Wealthy families commissioned houses along this avenue, the city adorned it with modernist streetlamps and benches and theatres and other leisure venues opened their doors to cater to the pleasures of the rich. At one point the area even had a racecourse! All of these activities and establishments earned the area the nickname Elysian Fields for its classy and yet fun-loving character. Anyone with any sort of standing in the upper echelons of Barcelona society had to frequent the Passeig de Grcia social circles or

After crossing the wide avenue Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, you reach the oldest block in the Eixample. This section of the area is delimited by the streets Diputaci, Consell de Cent, Roger de Llria and Pau Clars. The block itself is bisected by a narrow, pleasant passage known as the Passatge Permanyer, which is almost hidden from public view. This little street is flanked by some very interesting buildings that still preserve the interior gardens as they were originally designed by Ildefons Cerd. The Manzana de la Discordia Heading up the avenue towards Diagonal, you come to one of the most interesting sections of not only Passeig de Grcia but of all Barcelona. This is the so-called Manzana de la Discordia (a fun little word play since manzana means both apple and city block - therefore, roughly translated, it can mean both apple and block of discord). This block is located between Consell de Cent and Arag, and the name refers to the rather disparate and visually stunning effect produced by having three of the most exemplary, modernist buildings within a mere 100 metres of each other. The first building you encounter is the Casa

tectural competition organised by the city that year. However, the building wasn't always graced with such glorious moments, and it too suffered through the city's darker times. The building fell into a state of decline and was largely forgotten for many years, especially in the mid-20th century. It was attacked several times during the Spanish Civil War and during the post-war period. The building had once been adorned with extraordinary sculptures by the Catalan artist Eusebi Arnau. These sculptures, which represented mythical nymphs, were almost completely destroyed during this violent period. However, a curious anecdote explains why some of the nymphs managed to escape this fate. The building's doorman, who witnessed the attack, rescued the sculptures that remained intact. Some time later, Salvador Dal developed an interest in the nymphs and bought them for what would amount to 30 today. If you head out to the Dal Museum in Figueres, located in the neighbouring province Girona, you can still find one of the nymphs there. Interest in the building resurfaced in 1992 and a restoration process began to recuperate the lost elements and guarantee the preservation of this historic structure. The building has now been returned much of its original glory, and visitors can enjoy its perfectly restored appearance. The inside is also a wonderful example

be considered out of touch with all that was new, exciting and chic in the city. The new buildings sprouting up along the avenue all bore the surnames of their owners. This is the reason why most of the city's modernist landmarks have their own, specific name. For example, the building at Passeig de Grcia 2-4, right at the beginning of the avenue, is the Casa Pons i Pascual. This building, along with the Casas Rocamora (located a little further up on the avenue), were the first houses to gain any sort of reputation in the Eixample. Their architectural style was still heavily influenced by neo-gothic tendencies since the true explosion of modernist fever had not yet arrived.

Lle-Morera (Passeig de Grcia, 35. Tel. 93 488 01 39), designed by the architect Llus Domnech i Montaner. This building is a bit of an anomaly since its name doesn't reflect the owner's surname as was customary at the time. The name, lle (lions) and morera (mulberry), refer to the decorative elements Domnech i Montaner used on the facade and which are inspired by ancient, medieval coats of arms. The character of the building's entire ornamentation, both on the facade as well as inside, is an expression of the reigning sensibilities of that era and often recalls a Wagneresque atmosphere. You have to bear in mind that in 1902, when construction on the house commenced, Richard Wagner was the most popular and fashionable composer amongst the Catalan bourgeoisie, who were, in turn, the people enamoured with the modernist, architectural style. The Casa Lle-Morera wasn't built from scratch; rather it was the result of remodelling a previous building, known as the Casa Rocamora, which had been constructed in 1864. The building earned its architect, Domnech i Montaner, first place in the archi-

of modernist style, but the building is privately owned and therefore closed to the public. However, the facade alone provides visitors with plenty to admire, including details like medieval arches, mythical fairies, busts and sculptures depicting the female form. A little further along (Passeig de Grcia, 41) you come across the Casa Amatller. Designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, the building is also famous for being the zero kilometre mark on the European Route of Modernism. This route was established in an effort to extend the Barcelona Modernist Route to other European cities that boast similar architectural styles in order to provide the modernist artists with greater exposure. The Casa Amatller is also a privately owned property and thus its interior is closed to the public. However, the building's front door is

always open, and the ground floor is often used for temporary exhibitions. The peculiar chocolate shop located on the ground floor offers a curious way of getting acquainted with the building's history. After all, the original owner was chocolate entrepreneur Antoni Amatller, who bought the building in 1898 and commis-

construction many people found it to be, quite simply, a "horrible building". Nowadays, it is considered one of Gaud's greatest achievements and one of the most brilliant examples of modernism worldwide. Despite the passing of time, the building still manages to somehow exude the same daring and innovative spirit that it was famous for at the beginning. Gaud was commissioned to build the house by the Batll family, one of the most important members of the local textile industry. The architect allowed his imagination free reign and experimented with colours, materials and shapes. These elements were so innovative that they came to symbolise Barcelona. The house might be seen as a work of art today but to Gaud it was just another job. He took every cent he earned on the Casa Batll and invested it into his greatest and personally most engrossing project: the Sagrada Familia.

with a very special and singular atmosphere. True to modernist tradition, the influence of ancient myths can be seen in the tower, the chimney and the iconography throughout the

sioned Josep Puig i Cadafalch to remodel it. The building's design combines a variety of styles, including Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque influences, and was constructed using the classic materials of the time. The iron is wrought into whimsical shapes, glasswork decorates many of the undulating corners and most of the walls are covered with mosaics. The bottom floor is home to one of Catalonia's most prestigious jewellery houses. The company has preserved the original windows, which are decorated in a floral pattern characteristic of the modernist period. Josep Puig i Cadafalch designed a number of important buildings in Barcelona, including the Casa de les Punxes also known as the Casa Terrades. This building was built at the beginning of the 20th century, and the six, pointed towers endow it with a certain, medieval look. Due to the political climate that marked Spain in the early 20th century and Puig i Cadafalch's leftist leanings, the architect had to go into exile in Paris in 1936. That was the year the Spanish Civil War broke out and when it came to a close in 1939, the ruling government of Dictator Francisco Franco prevented him from practising his profession in Spain. The last building on this block is the Casa Batll (Passeig de Grcia, 43). When asked in 1905 what he hoped to achieve with this building, Antoni Gaud replied "a vision of paradise". In a way, he managed to achieve his goal, if paradise can take on the form of a truly unique and stunning building. Aside from being quite simply an object of beauty, the Casa Batll is also a jewel of Catalan modernism. However, the building didn't always garner such glorious reviews - in fact, at the time of its house. The silhouettes have been interpreted as paying homage to Sant Jordi (Saint George), patron saint of Catalonia, in his fight against the dragon. It is important to remember that the school of modernism was heavily influenced and fascinated by medieval ideas. In medieval legends the dragon isn't a fearsome monster; rather, the creature is seen as representing passion, strength and wisdom. Gaud also saved enough imaginative spirit to create an equally original interior design. It is almost impossible to find a single, straight line or corner in the entire house. This fact produced a rather interesting anecdote in its time. As the story goes, Mrs. Batll expressed some concern during the construction process because the design didn't seem to provide enough space for her daughter's grand piano. Gaud didn't pay much heed to her concern until he finished the house and realised that she had been right all along. The piano didn't fit. Gaud, ever resourceful, told Mrs. Batll that her daughter should forget about the piano and instead take up the violin.

The building displays all the materials considered characteristic of the modernist style. Gaud covered the entire facade and the roof with colourful ceramic tile, arranged into his classic mosaics. The balconies and most of the decorative elements inside were fashioned out of

wrought-iron. And the windows were designed to create a perfect play between light and colour that endow the spaces inside the house

Up towards the Avenida Diagonal A little further up the avenue, on the opposite side of the street from the Casa Batll, you encounter another must-see landmark. In this case, the landmark in question is neither a museum nor a monument. It is a store called Vinon, located at Passeig de Grcia, 96. This store represents the kind of modern design that has made Barcelona famous, and you can find just about anything here, including office and household items, rare and valuable furniture and industrial design pieces. The apartment located above the store is an additional attraction; this was where Ramon Casas, one of Spain's most important modernist painters, once lived. The studio has been maintained almost untouched since Casas worked here, and the pretty interior patio allows visitors a glimpse into what daily life is like in the Eixample today. Another of the city's landmark, modernist buildings, the Casa Mil, is located just a short distance ahead. Many consider this house to be one of Gaud's crowning achievements. The building is officially known by the original owners' surname, but locals didn't hesitate to christen it with a more colloquial pet name: La Pedrera. The nickname is derived from the building's impressive stone facade (piedra is Spanish for stone) which, despite being difficult to imagine today, was the subject of mockery and criticism in its day. Not even the building's first owner, Mrs. Mil, was all that content with the design, and when Gaud died she changed the entire interior decor, opting for a far more classical look a la Louis XVI. Despite resistance and criticism, Gaud never wavered in his decision to use La Pedrera as his first experiment with the concept of "free surf

ce area". This revolutionary concept did away with the master wall and instead used pillars and partition walls as support structures. As a result, the tenant could change the arrangement of the rooms at free will and as often as desired. This was the premise for one of the most radically innovative and abstract works of architectural sculpture, which is all the more impressive for not once using a straight line. Visitors can freely explore the entire interior as well as head up to the roof and wander amongst the peculiar chimneys. The Pedrera was the point of departure for three of the artist's most important, emblematic projects (the Casa Batll, the Sagrada Familia and the Park Gell), which makes it an excellent place for gaining insight into Gaud's unique artistic vision. During the summer, the terrace is also open in the evenings and offers a programme of jazz and flamenco concerts. The building's interior is open all year, and the rooms belonging to the Cultural Centre Caixa Catalunya often host temporary exhibitions. A visit to the centre includes access to the attic, which contains an exhibition of illustrations about the architect's work. The route continues until Avenida Diagonal, where you come to the Palau Robert, one of the few remaining, urban palaces. It is now the Information Centre of Catalonia. The Tourism Office provides information on routes, transport and points of interest throughout the four, Catalan provinces. Every six months, the palace organises a topical exhibition as well as workshops and multimedia presentations about different cultural subjects. THE RAMBLA CATALUNYA The Rambla Catalunya has never enjoyed the same level of fame as the Passeig de Grcia, but it follows almost the same trajectory and exhibits a similar elegance. Before the Eixample was developed, the stretch now covered by the Rambla Catalunya was little more than a small stream. When the Passeig de Grcia ran out of space, the wealthy families began building their mansions along the neighbouring avenue. The construction criteria, however, were more lax along the Rambla Catalunya, which resulted in taller and more dissimilar buildings. The lack of a defining architectural style caused the avenue to lose much of its potential charm and beauty. Nonetheless, it is still a very pleasant place for a stroll as well as offering a wide selection of bars, street cafs, clothing stores (often selling exclusive designer brands) and other lovely, noble buildings. This is also the route that connects the Rambla with Avenida Diagonal, starting at Plaa Catalunya. In fact, they are

almost like two sides of the same coin but with almost exactly opposite personalities. The two promenades offer an excellent look at two very different worlds within the same city. An interesting building can be found at number 33. This is the Casa Rodolf Juncadella, designed by Enric Sagnier, one of the architects popular amongst the Barcelona aristocracy in the 19th century. The architect was also a tenant of this area; his studio was located at Rambla Catalunya number 104. The small passage between the streets Provena and Mallorca, the Passatge Mercader, still features a few English-style houses along its length as well as the fascinating Museum of Medicine. The museum takes a look at this science and its disciplines from the 18th century onwards and displays material and furniture from that era as well as a 19th century laboratory. Further ahead, at the intersection with Carrer Rossell, is the Santa Maria de Montsi Church. The church also has an interesting anecdote to tell. Originally, it was located in the old city centre. However, the aristocrats felt that they needed a place of worship closer to home so they moved the church to its new location piece by piece. THE SURROUNDING STREETS The streets that intersect Passeig de Grcia and Rambla Catalunya also contain their share of elegant surprises. Carrer Valncia number 284, for example, is where you can find the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona, right in front of the Hotel Majestic. This museum is home to one of the most important private collections worldwide, which acquires several new pieces every year. The owner gladly shares his histori-

cal treasure with the public, and the museum even organises nocturnal tours complete with theatrical performances to bring you closer to the time of the pharaohs. This specialised tour requires a prior reservation (Tel. 93 488 01 88). Carrer Mallorca also contains some important buildings. It is rather common in Barcelona that urban palaces not used as museums have been taken over by official institutions. This is the case of the Palau Ramon Muntaner, located at number 278 and designed by Llus Domnech i Montaner. Nowadays, it houses the Catalan government's delegation. The interior decor still preserves much of the classic, by now invaluable furniture as well as sculptures by artists such as Eusebi Arnau. Arnau collaborated quite frequently with the architect Domnech i Montaner. One of their most famous joint efforts is the modernist complex at the Sant Pau Hospital. Another example of an urban palace is the Palau Casades, located at Carrer Mallorca, 283. The building is now used by the Colegio de Abogados, the local Bar Association, and generally access is reserved for people in the

law profession. However, if you don't call attention to the fact that you are a tourist, you can easily slip inside and take a look at the central patio and, if you are a lucky, peek into the library. The Casa Thomas, another building by Domnech i Montaner, is located at Carrer Mallorca, 293. In addition to the building's architectural value, one of the most important stores specialising in avant-garde design, B.D. Ediciones de Diseo, is located on the bottom floor. The store is the only place, for example, to market and sell designs by Salvador Dal. Carrer Arag is another important avenue and site of the Antoni Tpies Foundation. The foundation was inaugurated in 1990 and is located inside a building once used by the old publishing house Montaner i Sim, designed, yet again, by Domnech i Montaner. The foundation is the perfect place to explore the Catalan artist's work as well as take advantage of the temporary exhibitions, symposiums, conferences, film screenings and other cultural events organised here on a regular basis. The building is impossible to miss - its striking appearance is

owed in large part to the original sculptural piece Nube y Silla (Cloud and Chair) located high on the building's facade.

La Pedrera - Centre Cultural Caixa Catalunya Provena, 261-265 Tel. 902 400 973 www.caixacatalunya.es Timetable: Monday-Sunday, 10am-8pm Tickets: Espai Gaud and Piso de la Pedrera 7 . Temporary Exhibitions - free admission. Underground: Diagonal (L3 and L5) Museu Egipci de Barcelona (Egyptian Museum of Barcelona) Valencia, 284 Tel. +34 93 488 01 88 www.fundclos.com Timetable: Monday-Saturday, 10am-8pm. Sundays, 10am-2pm. Tickets: General admission 5,50 Underground: Passeig de Grcia (L2, L3 and L4) Palau Robert Passeig de Grcia, 107 Tel. +34 93 238 80 91 www.gencat.net/probert Timetable: Monday-Saturday, 10am-7pm. Sundays and holidays, 10am-2:30pm. Underground: Diagonal (L3 and L5) Fundaci Antoni Tpies Arag, 255 Tel. +34 93 487 03 15 www.fundaciotapies.org Timetable: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-8pm. Closed on Mondays. Underground: Passeig de Grcia (L2, L3 and L4)

1 Casa Pons i Pascual 2 Museu Egipci 3 Casa Lle Morera 4 Casa Amatller 5 Casa Batll

6 Casa Mil (Pedrera) 7 Vinon 8 Palau Robert (Oficina Turisme de Catalunya)

Route 03

A tours of the streets and squares og Grcia A tours of the streets and squares of Grcia
The Grcia neighbourhood has always been a little world onto its own, marked by centuries of charm and a very independent spirit. In fact, during the 19th century Grcia wasn't part of Barcelona at all; rather, it was a small village nestled into the hills outside the city walls. It wasn't until the walls were torn down that Grcia became a Barcelona neighbourhood, embraced by the expanding growth of the city. The neighbourhood is clearly demarcated by streets such as Avenida Diagonal, Va Augusta, Prncip d'Astries, Travessera de Dalt, Sardenya, Pi i Maragall, Crcega and Bailn. However, despite being so clearly defined, the neighbourhood is actually larger than you might think. It can be divided into two sections, each one very different in appearance and atmosphere. One area resembles the Eixample, following the famous grid-like pattern designed by Ildefons Cerd. The other is what remains of the traditional, old village that Grcia once was. It is this latter section that we will explore on our walk through the neighbourhood. Grcia has a very special and unique character that lies somewhere between a bohemian artsy enclave and the latest, cutting-edge trends. This is largely the result of local efforts, which have turned Grcia into a popular spot for both nocturnal and daytime leisure activities. The month of August, for example, sees people from throughout the city flock to Grcia to partake in the cheerful madness of the Fiestas de Grcia, a week-long street celebration complete with outdoor stages, live acts, creatively adorned streets and a lot of good eating and drinking. Grcia also maintains the political and social spirit that has coloured the area for centuries and is often the site of demonstrations, marches and gatherings. The neighbourhood's thoroughly individual character permeates the atmosphere and a leisurely stroll through its many little streets and squares gives you an invaluable look into this charming, unique place. The two underground stations that flank the neighbourhood are Fontana (L3) on Gran de Grcia Street and Joanic (L4) on Plaza Joanic. We will set out from the latter square, which isn't of any particular historical or architectural interest but offers a very practical way of launching an exploration of the neighbourhood. One interesting detail to note is that the square is dedicated to the Catalan writer and politician Francesc Pi i Maragall, who served as president under the first Spanish Republic. The square itself is constantly undergoing urban improvements, including a now completed underground parking garage topped by a small park with swings for children and ping pong tables for older playful spirits. Heading up Torrent de les Flors, you reach the Plaza Rovira i Trias, an excellent place from which to explore the many little streets that lead deep into the neighbourhood. At first glance it looks like just about any ordinary square, but it does hold one detail of special interest. The square is surrounded by a number of stone benches, one of which might catch your eye. Seated on the bench, as if resting, is the lifesize, iron sculpture of a man. This "eternal citizen" is no other than the square's namesake, the Catalan architect Antoni Rovira i Trias, who loved strolling through these streets during his lifetime. If you head up Carrer Torrijos, you will see the Plaza de la Virreina up ahead. After crossing Carrer l'Or, you find yourself in front of the square's famous landmark, a church dating back to 1878. This simple yet lovely parish church takes up the upper end of the square. You can wander inside and take a look at the altar, the church's most distinguishing element. There are two little streets on either side of the church; the one to the left leads past a curious element embedded into the side of the building - a small plaque dedicated to the memory of Joaqun Blume. The gymnast, who died in a fateful accident at the height of his career, was originally from this neighbourhood. Since the square is located in the centre of the neighbourhood, it is usually full of people and buzzing with a lively and vibrant atmosphere. If you are here on a Sunday morning, you will more than likely find yourself at an arts and crafts fair, comprised of many, individual stalls selling many interesting, second hand goods and, as is to be expected, many local, handmade crafts. Thanks to its central location and lively atmosphere, Plaa de la Virreina is definitely one of

the neighbourhood's most important squares. It was renovated in 1999, a process that included the planting of many different species of trees, an element that has done much to improve the appearance of the square. Another element to benefit from the renovation was the fountain, which still bears the village's old coat of arms. Another traditional fountain graces the Plaa del Nord, which can be reached by heading north on Carrer Alzina or Carrer Ventallat. This square was developed in 1851, when Grcia was still an independent village. The fountain hasn't changed in almost 100 years; if you look closely you can still see the ancient village's coat of arms, a lyre encircled by two laurel branches, much like on the fountain in Plaa Virreina. The square is also home to a cultural organisation, Els Llusos de Grcia, which has operated in the neighbourhood for a long time. Take a step back and look up at the organisation's building, and you will notice that it has a peculiar sun dial embedded into the facade. As you wander towards Carrer Gran de Grcia, you come to the Plaa del Diamant. The square shares its name with a marvellous novel by Catalan author Merc Rodoreda, which has been adapted to film, stage and television. Therefore, the Plaa del Diamant is much more than simply a square; the name has embedded itself into the collective imagination of the city. The novel tells the story of La Colometa, the irresistibly likeable protagonist, and is set in post-war Barcelona. La Colometa was immortalised in a sculptural piece by the artist Xavier Medina-Campeny, which now adorns the square. A quaint little network of streets spreads out from here and continues along Carrer Astries to the left and down Carrer Verdi to the right. Retail business along these little streets has witnessed a renaissance in recent years. Young designers have found a special niche here, and stores selling an original selection of their cre-

Cajal and head over to Plaa del Sol. This classic square is lined with a variety of restaurants and bars and is a popular gathering spot on summer evenings. Another interesting detail is the statue named Astrolabi, a piece by Joaquim Camps, which adorns one side of the square. After crossing Travessera de Grcia, the street immediately below the square, you can take any of the little cross-streets down to the Plaa Rius i Taulet, the neighbourhood's administrative centre. In the centre of the square stands one of Grcia's famous landmarks: the clock tower, also known as the Grcia bell tower. The tower was built by the architect Antoni Rovira i Trias and is crowned by a clock with four faces, designed so that it could be seen from every corner of the old village. If you stand in front of the city hall and face the tower, you will notice an entrance. This entrance grants you access to the spiral staircase, which winds all the way up to the clock's mechanism. Albert Billeter, a Swiss-born clockmaker, not only constructed this mechanism but was also responsible for introducing Spain to the electrical clock in general. The square also recalls one of the most cheer-

ations abound in the area. One of the most interesting is Modart, on Carrer Astries, where even the display windows are works of art. Verdi also has an excellent variety of shops as well as restaurants, cafes and a cinema famous for offering some of the most interesting, alternative programming in Barcelona. Strolling down Verdi, after crossing the streets Perla and Vallfogona, brings you to the Plaa de la Revoluci de Setembre de 1868. Walking around the square, you are likely to notice some letters engraved into the ground.

Since the individual letters are set rather far apart, you might dismiss them as mere decoration. They do, however, fit together to spell a word - starting in the right corner and reading from north to south they form the word "revoluci" (revolution in Catalan). This might seem a tad peculiar until you discover that Grcia is famous for having a political and revolutionary spirit. However, an air of protest doesn't really linger in the square anymore; instead, it is a pretty place with lots of cafes and restaurants with outdoor terraces and a small playground for children. After enjoying a break on Plaa de la Revoluci, take a right on Carrer Ramon i

ful events to take place in the neighbourhood. A plaque pays tribute to a special human tower that the "Castellers" (one of the great and still vibrantly alive Catalan traditions) built right next to the clock tower. The next stop on our walk takes you into an entirely different world. If you take Carrer Torrent de l'Olla to Carrer Siracusa and then turn left, you will find yourself next to two little squares set only a few metres apart. The Plaa del Poble Roman and the Plaa del Raspall are home to the neighbourhood's Roma (otherwise referred to as Gypsy) population, who have found in these squares a place in which to celebrate their unique culture. Many

mistakenly believe that the rumba, a flamencostyle dance, is an Andalusian invention. In fact, it was born right here, in Catalonia, and one of its first and truest masters was Gato-Prez. A small plaque mounted on a wall in the square remembers this musical master and his contributions. The walk comes to an end with a moment of tranquillity in one of the area's modern squares named after singer John Lennon. This quiet, serene spot is just around the corner from the market along Travessera de Grcia and was inaugurated in 1993 in order to connect the streets Puigmart, Quevedo and Mil i Fontanals.

Gran de Grcia widens before reaching Diagonal, and this open, spacious stretch is lined with trees and has a pretty, green "island" along its centre known as Jardinets de Grcia. Besides lovely green lawns and shade-giving trees, the gardens are also distinguished by two statues at either end. The area looks so quiet and peaceful that it is hard to believe that it is most famous for its dissenting spirit. Throughout history it has been a gathering spot for many politically motivated protests and meetings. And even today, its lush peaceful atmosphere often gives way to groups who use the space to express their ideas and grievances. At the upper end of the gardens, right at the corner with Gran de Grcia, lies the Hotel Casa Fuster, the only hotel in Spain to be designated a five-star, deluxe Grand Hotel and historical monument. The building is a spectacularly beautiful creation by modernist architect Llus Domnech i Montaner and houses one of the most elegant and unique cafs in the city. If you cannot resist the plush surroundings and head in for something to drink be prepared to pay five-star prices! A coffee with milk, for example, costs 6 . When you reach the intersection of Avenida Diagonal with Gran de Grcia you might notice another, somewhat peculiar place. This point of intersection is known as the Cinc d'Oros (roughly translated as the five of gold). The name is derived from the fact that the square's design bears a remarkable resemblance to the five of gold card in the Spanish-style card deck. The centre of the square is dominated by a giant obelisk (popularly known as the pencil due to its slender shape), surrounded by four, enormous streetlamps at each corner. The square has undergone an uncountable number of renovations and restructuring and currently serves as an important intersection. An endless stream of cars, buses, pedestrians and bicycles circulate around the obelisk as they head into all directions of the city. The square itself isn't really worth a special visit in

and of itself, but you will definitely come across it during your exploration of the city. Therefore, it might be interesting to know the aforementioned details about its peculiar architectural design. Once you are on Avenida Diagonal, facing the sea, you can turn right and head up to Plaa Francesc Maci, another crucial intersection. Taking a left turn, on the other hand, leads you further into the Eixample, where you can continue your exploration of the city with several other interesting routes, such as the one along the Passeig de Sant Joan. Not far from here, you can visit another monument that you should definitely include on your itinerary: the Casa de les Punxes (Avda Diagonal, 416).

However, there is one street that has to be included in the walk, a street without which any visit to Grcia would be incomplete. This is Gran de Grcia, the neighbourhood's main street. As is to be expected of a main street, it is a busy, lively mix of elegant houses and the buzz of activity filling its many shops, restaurants and cafs. If you head straight down this street, you will reach the Avenida Diagonal, which cuts across and divides Gran de Grcia and the Passeig de Grcia. However, don't lose your exploring spirit now, because there are still two treats awaiting you before you leave the area.

Also known as Casa Terrades it is one of the most fascinating buildings designed by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Although the architect belonged to the modernist school, the building in question is an unusual and rather peculiar blend between medieval and Nordic styles. The building gained its current nickname from the towers that rise up above the roof and end in sharp points (punxes in Catalan). Unfortunately you cannot visit the inside since the building is a private property, but the chance to admire the facade up close is well worth the visit.

1 Casa Punxes 2 Casa Fuster 3 Cinc DOros 4 Plaa de Gato Prez 5 Plaa del Raspall

6 Plaa del Poble Roman 7 Plaa Rius i Taulet 8 Plaa del Sol 9 Plaa de John Lennon 10 Plaa de la Revoluci

11 Plaa del Diamant 12 Plaa de la Virreina 13 Plaa Joanic 14 Plaa Rovira

Route 04

A stroll down the Rambla A stroll down the Rambla


The best place to begin your walk down the Rambla is Plaa Catalunya, the very centre of the city. The first section of the promenade, known as the Rambla de Canaletes, begins here. This stretch gets its name from the fountain located at the top right of the avenue. The fountain has become so popular over the years that it is considered one of the city's symbolic landmarks. Many visitors who are familiar with the fountain's reputation might be a little disappointed when they first see the real thing. However, despite its perhaps modest appearance, the fountain's fame is justified by its interesting history. The fountain was originally a water trough and already stood here when Barcelona was still surrounded by the ancient city wall. When the trough was turned into the fountain we know today, a legend arose that whoever drank from it would be destined to always return to the city. The fountain has grown into a popular meeting place over the years, both for tourists and locals alike. Another group that has made the fountain part of their tradition are the Bara football club fans. After their team wins a match, the fans gather at the fountain to give credence to their motto, which states that "the Bara is more than just a club". As you stroll along the Rambla, you will notice several, perfectly placed iron chairs. They are a wonderful place to sit down and take a quick break during your walk but make sure to keep an eye on your belongings. The Rambla is rife with pickpockets who will more than gladly take advantage of your rest to abscond with some of your valuables. However, this can easily be prevented by simply being aware of your surroundings as you take in all that this famous promenade has to offer. As you head down this stretch of the Rambla, you will notice a variety of peculiar establishments, mostly dedicated to the omnipresent souvenirs, as well as some stores specialising in antique musical instruments. The first street to your right is Carrer Tallers, where you can find one of the city's classic cocktail bars, the Coctelera Boadas. This was the first place in Barcelona to serve mixed drinks and cocktails, and the bar has maintained much of its traditional character and charm. The bar is also famous for being a popular watering hole for show business personalities, a fact that has done much to add to its fame. The many, little streets branching off the Rambla lead to other shopping areas (remember that the Gothic Quarter is to the left of the Rambla and the Raval is to the right), but those are covered in other walks and right now we want to keep heading straight. The next stretch of the promenade is known as the Rambla dels Estudis (roughly translated to mean the Rambla of Studies). The name has little bearing on the promenade's character nowadays, but in the 15th century it was the site of the city's first university. The university was torn down in the 19th century but the name remains. This section also has a popular nickname, Rambla dels Ocells (ocell is the Catalan word for bird), derived from the many stalls selling all kinds of birds and fowl along this section. One of the first points of interest that you will come across is the Poliorama Theatre. The theatre itself is modern and was recently renovated by the architectural team Bohigas, Martorell and Mackay who also designed the Olympic Village. However, the theatre takes up the bottom floor of a much older building, the Academy of the Sciences and Arts, built in 1883. After crossing Carrer Pintor Fortuny, you will see the Betlem (Bethlehem) Church to your right, on the corner with Carrer Carme. The church is a first-class example of Catalonia's Gothic architectural style, characterised by one, spacious nave in the interior. Unfortunately a fire in 1936 destroyed much of the church's original beauty, but you should still take a moment to step inside. The church often hosts temporary exhibitions, which means that more often than not a pleasant surprise could be awaiting you inside. A few metres further down, you will find a rather different kind of cultural institution - the unusual Museu de l'Ertica (Museum of Eroticism). The museum is the first of its kind, a centre entirely dedicated to the cultural expression and perception of eroticism, depicted through the use of different artistic and cultural forms. The museum focuses on a diverse array of disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology, literature, art, history and antiques. The exhibition also includes more than 800 pieces that provide a look at how different cultures approach the subject of eroticism. For example, the Indonesian cult of the phallus, how the Kamasutra has influenced Hindu art and the chastity belts popular during the Victorian era. The museum also organises exhibitions of erotic art by internationally renowned, contemporary artists.

As you continue your stroll down the Rambla, you now reach what many consider the promenade's most special stretch - the Rambla de les Flors also known as the Rambla de Sant Josep. This section has a permanently romantic air about it. During the 19th century it was the only place selling flowers in all of Barcelona, and even today it is one of the places selling more flowers per square metre worldwide. A popular anecdote adds much to the area's romantic reputation. During the 19th century, the flower stalls often turned into improvised, spontaneous gathering spots for the city's intellectuals. Here they would exchange ideas amidst the many, colourful floral arrangements. According to one local legend, the impressionist painter Ramon Casas met the woman who would later be his wife at one of these gatherings. One of the Rambla's other claims to fame is the vast variety of street performers lining the promenade. Whether with musical, dance or clown performances or as human statues, these artists do much to add a modern splash of colour to the atmosphere. The human statues represent

chapter entitled Markets). This is the city's most famous market and truly a world onto its own. You should definitely make a detour into the market and admire its beautiful iron and glass architecture as well as soak in its unique, one-of-a-kind atmosphere. The Rambla de les Flors comes to an end at one of the area's most unique buildings: the Casa Bruno Quadros. The building is also known as the House of Umbrellas. The building's owner became a millionaire selling this particular accessory and several umbrellas decorate the facade. The building is whimsical, some-

might want to take a little detour down Nou de la Rambla. This little street is home to the Palau Gell, which is one of the first buildings Antoni Gaud designed for his friend and patron Eusebi Gell. The building was completed in 1889 and is easily recognisable by its spectacular facade of white stone, adorned with the prerequisite modernist details. The facade, however, isn't the only stellar feature. Step inside and take a moment to admire the immense marble staircase that leads all the way up to the top floor and is crowned by an elegant cupola. Now you only have a little ways left to go. The

what eccentric and very original. The corner looking out onto the Rambla is adorned with a Chinese dragon that keeps a menacing watch over the entire promenade. The beginning of the Rambla dels Caputxins is unmistakable; it is marked by an authentic, open-air art piece. Keep your eyes on the ground, and you will notice the enormous mosaic, a piece by Joan Mir, covering most of the Rambla's midsection. When you reach this point take a look to your right. The building that stands here is a temple for all opera lovers - the Gran Teatre del Liceu. The building was completely and accurately reconstructed after being severely damaged by a fire in 1994. For many years, this was an exclusive gathering spot for the bourgeoisie's most refined members. Nowadays, holding a season pass to the Liceu is still a rather distinguished affair; however, times have changed and the opera is no longer the elitist art it was in the 19th century. Many different kinds of people flock to the Liceu to enjoy an opera or one of the many other types of performances organised at the theatre. The caf immediately in front of the Liceu is appropriately named the Caf de l'Opera and used to be a popular gathering spot for intellectuals. Today it still attracts the postopera crowd as well as many tourists attracted by the caf's illustrious past. As you head further down the Rambla, you

Rambla segue ways into its last stretch, the Rambla de Santa Mnica. The right side features another of the city's premium theatres, the Teatre Principal. The building was originally built in the 16th century as a charitable institution. However, yet again a fire destroyed much of the building's original structure, and it was rebuilt and renovated several times. Currently, its facade is adorned with the busts of several famous actors and actresses from the past. On the left side of the Rambla is yet another of the city's curiosities: the Museu de la Cera (Wax Museum). The museum has 350 famous, immobile tenants. Some of the individuals immortalised in wax are real-life celebrities; the others are classic, fictional characters. Children will definitely enjoy visiting some of their story-book favourites like Pinocchio, Cinderella, Batman and Sleeping Beauty. Adults are not excluded from the fun either and can marvel at the accurate reproduction of historical figures, Hollywood stars and legendary characters from classic, horror films. The museum offers a variety of different activities, the most fun being the personalised, nocturnal tours. These tours are especially designed for groups who wish to surprise one of their members, such as birthday, hen and stag parties. The tour is led by an actor, who is well-equipped with all sorts of information about the person who is to be surprised. The guide then gradually weaves this information into the content

an imaginative, ever-changing cast of characters, including Che Guevara, Humphrey Bogart, Cleopatra as well as more generic types like floral arrangements, cowboys, angels, devils and surrealist paintings, and they can remain immobile for hours. If you want to see them move, you will have to provide them with a financial contribution towards their art. The Palau de la Virreina is located on your right, just a few metres further down the Rambla. This palace was built by Manual Amat i Junyent, Viceroy of Peru, as a gift to his wife, who the building is named after. The identity of the actual architect remains a mystery, but one thing is certain - the palace possesses a refined, grand elegance. Nowadays, it is used for gatherings, exhibitions and conferences. A few steps further down, the telltale scents wafting towards you and the busy crowds heading to and fro announce the presence of another landmark: the Boqueria Market (please see our

of the tour, relating the subject with as many of the museum's personalities as possible. The museum is just around the corner from one of Barcelona's most unique and charming cafs - El Bosc de les Fades (the Fairy Forest). The caf's interior resembles an enchanted forest, complete with magical castles and gnome huts hidden between trees and small springs of water. The caf is made up of several, separate spaces, each one recreating a different environment. One resembles an old saloon from the frontier days of the Wild West. Another space, known as the Room of Wonders, invites guests to sit back and allow their imagination to take flight. This is the perfect caf for taking a break and escaping into a completely unique and fantastical world. After passing a street called Arc del Teatre, vestibule to the city's red-light district, you come to the Santa Mnica Art Centre, located next to a church of the same name. The centre hosts a variety of exhibitions and events and little about the building recalls its past as a convent. The end of the Rambla still holds a surprise in store - a reward for the enthusiastic explorer. The Drassanes building originates from the Middle Age and is the largest of its kind to still exist intact. It is also the most important example in Barcelona of a civil building designed in the Gothic style. The building underwent a precise and careful renovation and is now open to the public. The Maritime Museum is also located in one section of this building. The end of

the Rambla is marked by a famous monument, a tribute to the explorer Christopher Columbus. The monument commemorates Columbus' presentation of his first American voyage to the Catholic Monarchs, an event that took place in Barcelona. The tall, iron column with a statue of Columbus on top has become one of Barcelona's symbolic landmarks. Something fewer people know is that there is an elevator inside the column that takes visitors up to the top. It is definitely a ride worth taking since the top offers a lovely panoramic view of the city. The Columbus monument faces the sea and the port where the Golondrinas still dock, just as they have for centuries. They are typical fishing boats that are now mainly used as a tourist attraction. They offer tours along the city's coastline all the way to the new Forum grounds. The same tours are also offered by modern catamarans, but they can't hold a candle to the charm of the traditional Golondrinas. If you aren't up for a boat ride, you can instead opt for a visit to the piece of land that Barcelona took back from the sea in 1992. To access this area, cross over the Rambla de Mar, a wooden footbridge held up by an iron support structure that adds a modern twist to the classic idea of the promenade. The Rambla de Mar ends at the Moll d'Espanya, site of the Maremagnum shopping centre, the IMAX theatre and the Barcelona aquarium.

Museu Martim (Maritime Museum) Avda de les Drassanes, s/n Tel. +34 93 342 99 20 Timetable: Monday-Sunday, 10am-7pm. Tickets: 5,40 . Free admission every first Saturday afternoon of the month. Underground: Drassanes (L3) www.diba.es/mmaritim Museu de Cera (Wax Museum) Passatge de la Banca, 7 Tel. +34 93 317 26 49 Timetable: 10am-1:30pm and 4pm-7:30pm. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 11am-2pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm. Tickets: 6,65 , general admission. Underground: Drassanes (L3), Liceu (L3) www.museocerabcn.com Museu de l'Ertica (Museum of Eroticism) La Rambla, 96, bis Tel. +34 93 318 98 65 Timetable: Monday-Sunday: 11am-10pm. Tickets: 7,50 general admission Underground: Catalunya (L1 and L3), Liceu (L3) www.erotica-museum.com

1 Monument a Francesc Maci 2 Font de Canaletes 3 Teatre Poliorama 4 Carrer Portaferrisa 5 Palau de la Virreina

6 Mercat de la Boqueria 7 Casa dels Paraigues 8 Plaa Reial 9 Liceu 10 Museu Martim de Barcelona

11 Monument a Colom

Route 05

The seafront neighbourhoods Barceloneta and the Olympic Village (Vila Olmpica)
No one questions the fact that Barcelona is a Mediterranean city. For many years, however, the local population seemed to forget its coastline, letting what is now considered one of the city's most attractive features fall into a state of disrepair. The four kilometre-long beaches, divided into sections named Sant Sebasti, La Barceloneta, Nova Icria, Bogatell, Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella, are the result of a rather recent effort. The sandy beaches with their beach bars (chiringuitos) and wide promenade now attract 7 million visitors every year, quite a record for an area that was once little more than an industrial wasteland. The beaches were rehabilitated and cleaned up as part of the city's preparations for the 1992 Olympic Games, which gave Barcelona's coastline a much needed face-lift. This effort turned what was once a half-forgotten, industrial terrain dotted with decaying factories into a long stretch of attractive beaches, equipped with all necessary services. The area's rehabilitation was particularly beneficial to two neighbourhoods: La Barceloneta, once an old fishing village, and Vila Olmpica (the Olympic Village) which, as its name indicates, was constructed with the express purpose of serving as an accommodation facility during the Olympic Games. LA BARCELONETA La Barceloneta was largely uninhabited until the mid-18th century. Its immediate proximity to the sea attracted the first inhabitants, mostly fishermen, who lived in precarious conditions. The first houses were built in 1754. The construction process brought with it a significant increase in population. Fishermen and people working a variety of harbour jobs flocked to the new settlement. Nowadays, the neighbourhood still maintains its unique character. La Barceloneta feels like a different world, a village removed from the city that surrounds it. However, the atmosphere bears little resemblance to the fishing village of years ago. It has become one of the city's liveliest areas, especially in the summer when the beaches fill with people and the chiringuitos (beach bars) and bars located on the sand open for the season. These are the best hang-outs in the summer, chilled-out places with music and a fun-loving atmosphere where you can dine and have drinks until late into the night. However, the neighbourhood hasn't lost its roots entirely - it has managed to blend this modern facet with the age-old smell of salt and the memories of its seafaring past. Many treasure the fact that a neighbourhood like this can still survive and preserve its identity within a city as modern as Barcelona. And it does seem strange sometimes, the contrast between the narrow, humid streets, blackened by years of salt residue deposits, and the first-class, highend restaurants that line them and the luxurious yachts docked in the marina. The best point from which to start your exploration of this neighbourhood is the Barceloneta (L4) underground station. If you prefer to skip the walking tour, you can also opt for a ride in the Golondrinas, the traditional fishing boats that leave from the port in front of the Columbus monument. However, the boat tour will only provide you with an impression of the area's coastline, and the most integral aspect of the neighbourhood's charm lies in its maze of tiny, narrow streets. The walking tour begins at the Palau de Mar building. If you want to know a little more about the Catalan region, stop in at the Catalonia History Museum, located inside the Palau de Mar (Plaa Pau de la Vila, 3. Tel. 932 254 700). The museum houses a permanent exhibition about Catalonia's history, starting from prehistoric times and spanning the industrial period, the Franco era and the years leading up to Catalonia's democracy. If your time travel has exhausted you, take a break in the caf, which has a lovely terrace overlooking the neighbourhood and the marina. After a few relaxing moments, you can continue your exploration of the area by heading down the Passeig Joan de Borb. One of the area's oldest structures is the Clock Tower, located on the Moll dels Pescadors, near the museum. Built in 1772, the tower served as the port's lighthouse until the mid-19th century. When the port was restructured to modernise its installations, the lighthouse was no longer needed. However, due to its age and historical relevance, the city preserved the tower and turned it into a clock. The best time

to explore this particular area is in the late afternoon or early evening. The fishing boats return to the port around five o'clock, and La Barceloneta, much like other fishing villages along the coast, still practices the traditional fish auction. This age-old event takes place inside a building known as La Llotja. Gaining access to the building and the auction might prove challenging, but you shouldn't let yourself get discouraged. After all, nothing is lost by trying! The traditional section of the neighbourhood now unfolds to your left in a quadrant of many, tiny streets. As you wander through them, you are still greeted by freshly washed laundry hanging outside windows, traditional shops, wine cellars (bodegas), bars and some of the city's best seafood restaurants. In fact, one of Barcelona's most renowned restaurants, Can Sol (Sant Carles, 4), is located here, serving exquisite seafood for more than a hundred

slums. The slums were dismantled in the 1960s, but memories of that time still linger throughout the neighbourhood. The atmosphere changes radically once you reach the beach. La Barceloneta is now a cosmopolitan neighbourhood, a fact manifested most clearly during the summer months. La Barceloneta is graced with one of the liveliest and most popular beaches. While some people bathe and work on their tans, others wander the sand selling jewellery, cold drinks, snacks, sarongs or offering services such as massages and temporary tattoos. Then there are those who like to turn up the volume and dance to enticing Cuban beats or intrepid kite-flying enthusiasts who don't seem to mind the masses of people around them. Of course this means that the beach is crowded, but the resulting atmosphere is so cheerful and vibrant that you will not want to miss out on the fun. La Barceloneta faces the Port Vell, the section of land that the city took back from the sea, and which is also accessible using the footbridge at the end of the Rambla. This modern stretch of land surrounded by sea offers visitors a lot of leisure options including a shopping centre, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and two of the city's most fascinating venues: the IMAX cinema and the Aquarium. The IMAX theatre (Moll d'Espanya, s/n. Tel. 932 251 111) is the city's most modern, cuttingedge cinema showing films in IMAX, Omnimax and 3D. Visitors can experience a 3D voyage into the human body or groove to the beats of Carlinhos Brown played over the best sound system imaginable. The Aquarium (Moll d'Espanya, s/n. Tel. 932 217 474) is the largest in Europe and allows visitors the chance to discover the widest variety of Mediterranean marine life. The space consists of twenty enormous tanks and a long, transparent tunnel, which allows visitors to walk amongst the sharks. The most recently inaugurated section, Explora, offers a series of interactive activities aimed primarily at children. Explora gives

them the opportunity to not only observe the marine eco-system but also touch and investigate it. THE VILA OLMPICA (THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE) This is one of the most recently developed neighbourhoods in the city, built expressly for the 1992 Olympic Games. The village was originally conceived as an accommodation facility for the many athletes who came to participate in the Games. After the event had come to its conclusion, the apartments were put up for sale, and the area is now a residential community. The housing complex was designed by the architectural team Martorell, Bohigas, Mackay and Puigdomnech, who used the opportunity to create a completely new kind of neighbourhood. In addition to housing complexes, the area also includes two buildings that have become significant highlights along the city skyline as well as modern Barcelona landmarks. The first is the Hotel Arts, designed by the architects Bruce Gram and Frank O. Gehry. The slim, silver and blue skyscraper has 456 luxurious rooms overlooking the sea. The second building, located immediately across from the hotel, is the Mapfre Tower. Designed by Iigo Ortiz and Enrique de Len, the building is used as office space by a variety of companies and has a shopping centre on the bottom floor. The two skyscrapers both measure 153,5 metres, which makes them the tallest buildings in Spain. The square between the towers, Plaa dels Voluntaris, is famous for its gigantic fountain. If you head down from the square towards the sea, you come across one of the area's most characteristic sculptures - the Pez de Oro (Fish of Gold). The sculpture, a piece by one of the Hotel Arts' creators, architect Frank O. Gehry, consists of many metal plates that change colour depending on how the sunlight falls upon them.

years. La Barceloneta is also an excellent place for traditional "tapas". One of the absolute classics is la bomba, a potato dumpling filled with meat and served with a spicy sauce or the traditional all i oli (a dip made out of olive oil and garlic). This is a treat worthy of its name and requires a strong palate. This tapa is best accompanied with a cold beer, either a caa (draft beer) or a glass straight from the barrel, which is always served ice cold. Due to its long history, the neighbourhood is also home to several interesting churches. One church that definitely deserves a mention is the Sant Miquel del Port Church, built in the Baroque style and located on the Plaa de la Barceloneta. Flamenco lovers should not miss out on a visit to the fountain located close to Carrer Sant Carles. The fountain was built as a tribute to the flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, who was born in La Barceloneta when the neighbourhood had a large Roma (also known as Gypsy) population living in marginalised

The neighbourhood is characterised by an even balance between buildings and green zones. A short walk takes you to the Atlanta Gardens, most famous for the tall chimney that still stands amidst the green and serves as a reminder of the areas industrial past. The chimney once belonged to the factory Can Folch and is one of the oldest in Barcelona. For something more contemporary, visit the fountain on Carrer Salvador Espriu. This is a collaborative piece by the sculptor Juan Bordas, a native of the Canary Islands, and Oscar Tusquets. The latter is one of the most internationally renowned Catalan architects who, in the past, has collaborated with iconic artists the likes of Salvador Dal. The parks along the Vila Olmpica are flanked by the Ronda del Litoral, an important thoroughfare. The traffic is usually quite intense,

but crossing over the wide street is no cause for distress. One of the most picturesque options is the bridge in the Parc dels Ponts. The park has a pretty lake, which is a very pleasant spot for a short rest. After recuperating your exploring spirit, you can end your walk at the Plaa de los Campions (Champions Square). The square's ground contains the 257 medals won during the Olympic Games in 1992, and many athletes mimicked the famous Hollywood tradition and left their handprints in the concrete. One area not to be forgotten is the Port Olmpic or Olympic Port, without which the Vila Olmpica would be incomplete. Many yachts and smaller vessels dock at the marina throughout the year, but the area has a lot more to offer than pretty sailboats. The promenade along the marina is dotted with bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The area is constantly

alive and busy with people milling about. During the week it is a popular spot for business lunches. At the weekend, cycling enthusiasts take advantage of the quiet mornings to ride along the promenade. A little later on, the promenade turns into an arts and crafts market where you can find a wide variety of handicrafts, trinkets and traditional products. At night, the area is still buzzing with activity people having dinner or drinks at one of the many bars and restaurants. Late-night revellers come in for the late-shift and frequent one of the many dance clubs. This has become such a popular nocturnal playground at the weekend that people who are not up for high-voltage partying prefer other, quieter and less crowded areas. Luckily, Barcelona can cater to just about every preference when it comes to having a fun night out.

INFORMACIN TIL Museu d'Histria de Catalunya Pl de Pau Vila, 3 - Palau de Mar Tel. +34 93 225 47 00 www.mhcat.net Horario: de martes a sbado de 10 a 19h. Mircoles hasta las 20h. Domingos y festivos de 10 a 14:30h. Cerrado los lunes no festivos. Precio: 3 . Entrada gratuita el primer domingo de cada mes Metro: Barceloneta (L4)

1 Monument a Colom 2 Golondrinas 3 Aquarium

4 IMAX 5 Museu dHistria de Catalunya 6 Torre del Rellotge

Route 06

La Ribera, the Born and the Raval All that is fashionable and chic
Sometimes all that is old and traditional can woo all that is fashionable and chic. In Barcelona, these kinds of May-December unions aren't all that uncommon, at least as far as neighbourhoods are concerned. La Ribera, the Born and the Raval exemplify this trend. These three neighbourhoods are quite different from one another, and yet they share one thing in common - they have turned into a Mecca for people who worship everything that is modern, hip and fashionable. Take some time to browse the boutiques, lounge over coffee or dine at one of the eclectic restaurants - this is where the hip people come to play. The time of day makes no difference, there is always something happening here. During the daytime, you can browse the shops for the latest fashion, designer furniture, oneof-a-kind jewellery, original art pieces or antiques. Nightfall ushers in the cocktail hour, and the minimalist restaurants and hip bars open their doors. These places don't enforce a door policy because there is no cover charge, but you will probably feel more comfortable knowing a few tips about the scene. One thing is certain - originality and individuality are the order of the day. Wardrobe preferences include expensive, designer brands but not your garden variety - the more international, unusual and unknown the brand, the better. The crowd spans various generations (anywhere between 25 and 50) and is made up of bohemians, tourists, locals, and wannabe intellectuals. Of course, everything here is a bit of a game, and the most important playing cards are image and attitude. Barcelona lacked an area like this for years: modern, cultural, extravagant, a little exaggerated but fun, multicultural and decidedly trendy. Now that the city has three such areas, they draw in the coolest crowds and boast a selection of the most happening, "in" places - and everyone wants to join the fun. However, trendy nightlife and designer shopping isn't all that can be found in these ancient areas. The neighbourhoods are also rich in history; they are places where every stone has a story to tell and landmark buildings can be found at almost every corner. The first order of business is to get out a map and locate the neighbourhoods. La Ribera, which in reality includes the Born, lies to the left of Va Laietana and extends down to the sea and eastward to the Ciutadela Park. The Raval, on the other hand, lies to the right of the Rambla when facing the sea. You can take any of the streets leading off the Rambla to the right (Tallers, Carme, Hospital) to start your exploration of the Raval. LA RIBERA AND THE BORN La Ribera grew up around the ancient Santa Maria de les Arenes Church (the predecessor to the current Santa Maria del Mar Church) hundreds of years ago. Originally, the neighbourhood was a commercial area, home to many merchants and artisans who were drawn to the city by the economic expansion Catalonia enjoyed under the rule of Jaume I. The neighbourhood experienced both prosperous and difficult times over the centuries, reflecting the changing fortunes of the city. Nowadays, the Gothic Quarter and La Ribera are separated by Va Laietana. You can start your walk at the top of this street, near Plaa Urquinaona. The first landmark along this route is the Palau de la Msica Catalana (Sant Francesc de Paula, 2), located on a tiny street to the left of Va Laietana. This is a spectacularly ornate example of modernist architecture with a facade that is as equally impressive as the concert hall's acoustic. The building is a creation by Llus Domnech i Montaner, one of Barcelona's most prolific architects, and is famous for its elaborate facade and cupola, both entirely covered with colourful mosaics. Another decorative element is a series of busts depicting famous, classical composers like Bach, Beethoven and Wagner. The interior is graced with an eye-catching, glass staircase, and the concert hall's decor is full of allusions to the beauty of nature. Domnech i Montaner wasn't thrilled by the industrialist fervour that had taken hold of the city during that time, and the decorative elements were a way of escaping into a different world, one populated with floral motifs, rosettes, feminine figures and ornate columns.

After visiting the concert hall, you can take any of the little streets running parallel to Va Laietana down through the neighbourhood. You will pass interesting local spots like the Mercat de la Santa Caterina, a newly restored market with an unusually colourful roof, until you come to the famous street Carrer

Barcelona. The rooms are all organised chronologically, which allows visitors to follow, step by step, Picasso's growth and development as an artist. The first room is dedicated to Mlaga, Picasso's hometown, and displays his first, childhood, pencil drawings. The room dedicated to Picasso's time in La Corua shows

In 1901, Picasso headed to Paris to experience the European avant-garde that he had heard so much about during his time in Barcelona. The museum also has a few pieces from this period which foreshadow the style Picasso would bring to maximum expression in his Blue and Pink Periods. After a leisurely visit to the Picasso Museum, you can continue your walk by heading down Montcada away from Carrer Princesa. This will take you straight to the Passeig del Born. Watching all the fashionable people stroll down this promenade, it is difficult to imagine that this was once the site of medieval tournaments. The promenade is decorated with several stone benches and some ancient curiosities: an iron chest and four, numbered cannon balls. These pieces blend in with their surroundings as if they had been casually forgotten all those centuries ago.

Montcada. This is the heart of the medieval city where rich merchants built their palaces between the 14th and 16th centuries. An interesting example is the Palau del Marqus de Lli. Despite a number of renovations, the palace still preserves much of its original charm. It now houses the Museu Textil i d'Indumentria (Textile and Clothing Museum), which has a lovely caf-restaurant that often organises jazz concerts and other live performances. The small store at the museum's entrance sells the designer items that have come to characterise the Born: pins, toys, designer clothes, accessories, jewellery, office items and much more.

his early oil paintings, which already exhibit the unusual use of colour that would later characterise his work. Picasso lived in Barcelona between 1895 and 1897, still spending his summers in his hometown Mlaga. The room dedicated to this era includes paintings such as La Primera Comunin (First Communion) and Ciencia y Caridad (Science and Charity) for which he won an honourable mention at the National Fine Arts Exhibition in Madrid. Picasso spent the following two years in Madrid, studying fine art. When he returned to Barcelona in 1899, he became intensely involved with the

One end of the promenade is marked by the magnificent Santa Maria del Mar Church. Many people consider this church to be the most beautiful Gothic church on the Iberian Peninsula. It is, without a doubt, the most important church from the Gothic period in Catalonia and belongs to the most interesting of its kind in Europe. Texts from as early as the year 918 describe the church, although its dimensions and appearance were different and more modest then. The population boom experienced by the area in the 13th century demanded an appropriate increase in the church's size to accommodate the many newcomers. The magnificent dimensions are also reflected inside with high ceilings and impressive columns.

The museum immediately in front of the palace is probably the most frequently visited museum in the city. The Picasso Museum (Montcada 15-19) contains more than 3,500 pieces, which the artist personally donated to the city in 1970. The collection is an excellent survey of Picasso's work as a young artist and a testimony to the special love affair that always existed between Picasso and the city of

city's growing avant-garde movement. These were his famous, bohemian years in the city, a time in which he became closely associated with the city's modernist movement and exhibited his work for the first time at the popular caf and gathering spot Els Quatre Gats. The caf-restaurant still exists, tucked away on a little street named Montsi in the Merc neighbourhood.

The cool interior, illuminated solely with candlelight, turn this into a refuge from the world outside, disconnected from the whirl of activity filling the Born and the city at large. Many also believe that Santa Eulalia, the city's first patron saint, lies buried beneath the church's foundation, which adds much to the place's spiritual value. Occasionally, the church organises organ and classical music concerts, which fit seam-

the surface. The market had been guarding a secret for centuries - the remains of the ancient, medieval city. When taken together, the ruins amount to what is probably the largest architectural park ever found in the urban centre of any European city. The ruins still tell stories about daily life in the Middle Age and include fishermen dwellings, stables, a blacksmith and several shops. This astounding and entirely unexpected discovery has obviously brought the library project to a halt. The grounds will remain closed until a decision has been made on the area's future. Behind the market, after crossing Carrer Pujades, is one of Barcelona's largest and most popular parks: the Ciutadela Park. This spacious, green area is attractive for a number of reasons; it is home to interesting historical buildings, botanical species, a lake with row boats and a fountain with a waterfall designed by a young Gaud. People come here to practice sports, play ping-pong, have picnics, stroll amidst the trees as well as participate in the many events that take place here throughout the year. However, the park's origins have little bearing on the lush place of leisure the park is today. Only the name offers a reminder of its past. It was once a citadel built by Felipe V after destroying the La Ribera neighbourhood. The king wanted the largest military fortress in Europe from which to keep a watchful eye on the city below. Adding insult to injury, Felipe V built his fortress using money collected from

impressive collection of paintings by artists like Rusiol, Casas, Mir, Nonell and Gargallo; the Zoology Museum, located in the old Three Dragon Castle, a building designed by Domnech i Montaner and the Geology Museum. If the Zoology Museum has your curiosity peaked, you can stroll down to the zoo, located at the bottom end of the park. The zoo is home to more than 8,480 animals, the most famous of which was Copito de Nieve (Snowflake), the world's only albino gorilla. Copito died recently, and his presence is still sorely missed by both the staff and the many visitors who come to the zoo to remember this incredible animal. If you exit the park through the gate at the top end, you can look up the entire length of the Passeig de Llus Companys. This wide promenade ends in a monumental arch, the Arc de Triomf, which served as the entrance to the 1888 World Fair. The arch was built by the architect Josep Vilaseca y Casanovas and adorned with sculptures by the Catalan artists Llimona, Reyns and Tass. THE RAVAL The Raval is one the city's most unusual neighbourhoods, both for its colourful history and the astounding transformation it experienced in recent years. The Raval is a series of narrow streets and tiny squares bordered by the Rambla and Avinguda Paral.lel along the sides, the Ronda de Sant Antoni at the top and the port at the bottom. The neighbourhood still straddles two worlds - the often times rough, decadent corners that echo its past and the modern, cosmopolitan areas that herald its future. And yet, it is exactly this mixture that gives the neighbourhood its authentic character and consistently surprising charm, and it is this diversity that best tells the story of the Raval. In the year 1800, the Raval was nothing more than orchards, vegetable gardens and fields. The agricultural tranquillity came to an end with the industrial revolution of the 19th cen-

lessly into the peaceful and timeless atmosphere. The square off to one side of the church, known as Fossar de les Moreres, is also of great historical significance to the Catalan people. The square was once the old, parish cemetery where the neighbourhood buried the soldiers who died in the battle against the troops led by Felipe V in 1714. The neighbourhood, which like the rest of the city was heavily opposed to the monarch, lived through some of its darkest and most difficult times in this era. When Felipe V defeated and took control of the city, he destroyed most of the neighbourhood and its surrounding areas. In its place he constructed an enormous fortress in order to punish those that had rebelled against his rule. At the opposite end of the promenade is the Born Market. Built in 1876, the market is an excellent example of the iron architecture that was very popular during that time. In addition to its architectural interest, the market is also the subject of a curious story. The market was commercially active for a long time but eventually business decreased and it fell into a state of decline. The city debated its fate for a long time, until it was decided that the market would be the new site for the Barcelona Provincial Library. When construction began on the project, a surprise was suddenly revealed below

the citizens and then kept his cannons trained on the city, ever ready to quench any uprising or revolt. The fortress wasn't torn down until the mid-19th century when the Catalan government decided to donate the lands to the city. The park was constructed as part of the city's preparations for the 1888 World Fair. Only a few buildings from its infamous past were preserved, such as the old arsenal which is now the seat of the Catalan Parliament. Art lovers and science buffs can also visit some of the museums located inside the park, such as the Modern Art Museum, which owns an

tury. Textile factories set up shop in the area and attracted an unprecedented and enormous wave of immigration. The area didn't have time to catch up with the sudden population explosion, which resulted in poorly and rapidly constructed housing and a dangerous lack of sanitary conditions. Consequently, the neighbourhood fell victim to frequent and devastating epidemics. The Raval no longer bore any resemblance to its bucolic origins. Instead it had become a run-down, crime-ridden ghetto that people feared to cross - a reputation that earned it the nickname "Chinatown" (Barrio Chino) for its similarity to the then infamous Chinatown in San Francisco. The neighbourhood was devastated by drugs, prostitution and poverty, and the Raval's tragic state seemed destined to continue forever. Then, in the late 1980s, the Raval's fate suddenly took a turn in a different direction. Barcelona was to be an Olympic city, and the long-forgotten Raval emerged from oblivion. It received a massive make-over: new housing, better social services and a deep-reaching effort to eradicate the area's drug-dealing strongholds. Of course a few problem pockets remained, but most of the Raval began turning its long, unfortunate history around.

The first area to show signs of a radical transformation was the northernmost section, closest to Plaa Universitat. An old charitable institution, the Casa de la Caritat, was redesigned as the Centre de Cultura Contempornia de Catalunya (Centre for Contemporary Culture or CCCB). The centre, located on Montalegre 5, is one of the city's most active and cuttingedge cultural centres, organising a wide variety of exhibitions, concerts, conferences, lectures and all kinds of urban activities and programmes. Right around the corner, facing the Plaa dels ngels, is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona or MACBA. The modern building, defined by clean, minimalist lines, was designed by North-American architect Richard Meier. The programme inside the museum is as exciting and innovative as its exterior and consists of temporary exhibitions and parallel-running activities such as conferences, lectures, presentations and discussions related to the avant-garde movements of the last century. The MACBA's youthful and modern character has turned the Plaa dels ngels into a popular gathering spot for the city's younger generations (including many skaters who make good use of the square's design). Art galleries have eagerly paid exorbitant rents to open their

doors within this creatively-charged and upand-coming area. As is to be expected, the environment also lured many designer shops, trendy restaurants and chic bars into the area. The Raval is still true to two of its traditional traits: it is still the city's most densely populated area, and it still has largest percentage of the city's immigrant population. Whereas immigrants once arrived from other regions in Spain, they now come from all over the world, especially Pakistan, the Philippines and Morocco. However, the perception of this has changed over the years - what was once seen as a problem of coexistence is now considered a multicultural challenge. The cultural diversity has added much to the new Raval's identity and has amplified its commercial possibilities. You can now find restaurants serving every imaginable cuisine and shops specialising in imported goods. And the blending of cultures has given rise to a very innovative and new trend in the restaurant business - places that have invented their very own, eclectic take on international cooking. The fusion of all these elements has taken the Raval out of its past and turned the former red-light district and poverty-ridden ghetto into perhaps the most unconventionally chic area in Barcelona.

Museu Txtil i d'Indumentria (Textile and Clothing Museum) Montcada, 12-14 Tel. +34 93 319 76 03 www.museutextil.bcn.es Timetable: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm. Sundays and Holidays, 10am-3pm. Closed on Mondays. Tickets: 3,50 . Free admission to the permanent collection on the first Sunday of every month. Underground: Jaume I (L4) Museu Picasso Montcada, 15-23 Tel. +34 93 319 63 10 www.museupicasso.bcn.es Timetable: Tuesday-Saturday and holidays, 10am-8pm. Sundays from 10am-3pm. Closed on Mondays. Tickets: Permanent Exhibition: 5 . Temporary Exhibitions: 5 . Both exhibitions: 8 . Free admission every first Sunday of the month. Underground: Jaume I (L4) Centre de Cultura Contempornia (CCCB) Montalegre, 5 Tel. +34 93 306 41 00 www.cccb.org Timetable: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11am-2pm and 4pm-8pm. Wednesday and Saturdays, 11am-8pm. Sundays and holidays, 11am7pm. Closed on Mondays except holidays. Tickets: 5,50 Underground: Universitat (L1 and L2) Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) Plaa dels ngels, 1 Tel. +34 93 412 08 10 www.macba.es Timetable: Monday-Friday, 11am-7:30pm. Saturdays, 10am-8pm. Sundays and holidays, 10am-3pm. Closed on Tuesdays. Tickets: General admission: 7 . Wednesdays (except holidays): 3 . Underground: Universitat (L1 and L2) Museu de Geologia y Museu de Zoologia (Geology and Zoology Museum) Parc de la Ciutadella, s/n Tel. +34 93 319 68 95 www.bcn.es/museuciencies Timetable: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday-Sunday, 10am-2pm. Thursdays, 10am-6:30pm. Closed on Mondays. Tickets: Permanent exhibition: 3 (includes admission to both museums) Underground: Arc de Triomf (L1) and Barceloneta (L4)

1 Palau de la Msica Catalana 2 Museu Picasso 3 Museu Textil i d'Indumentria 4 Arc de Triomf 5 Mercat del Born

6 Parc de la Ciutadella 7 Fossar de les Moreres 8 CCCB MACBA

Route 07

The Gothic quarter and the old Jewish district The Gothic quarter and the old Jewish district
The Gothic Quarter is Barcelona's oldest area, built upon the remains of the ancient Roman city known as Colonia Iulia Augusta Paterna Faventia. The Roman city, founded in the 1st century B.C., had its centre on the Mount Tber, a hill that is now covered by the area around Plaa Sant Jaume and Plaa dels Traginers in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. The area's importance cannot be overstated this is a place where the city's past and present collide, where history meets innovation. In short, it is the heart of the city and an exploration of this historical district is absolutely essential for anyone visiting Barcelona. Every narrow street and square seems to guard a secret, wrapped in centuries of history. You can feel the traces left by time hanging in the air, whispering their stories through the ancient walls. A good place to start exploring these stories is the Plaa Nova, located very close to the cathedral. Since its original construction in 1358, the square has undergone many renovations, the latest taking place as recently as the late 20th century. The square is rich in contrasts: ancient times facing modernity. The latter is best expressed in the building housing the Colegio de Arquitectos, located at one end of the square. The building was designed by the architect Xavier Busquets, and one of the most eye-catching details is the large-scale engraving by Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar, based on a design by Picasso. The modern design of Busquets' building is contrasted by the ancient Roman wall, which once measured more than 1,000 metres in length. The remnants of the wall now form part of the Palacio Episcopal, which has a gallery with an interesting Romanesque collection. Next to the palace is the Portal del Bisbe, which was once the old Porta Praetoria - one of the entrances to the ancient Roman city. During the Roman era, the city had three, monumental portals, but only one remains today. This particular portal was the entrance used by pedestrians. There is another structure left over from this ancient time - the defence tower that once protected the portal. A peculiar series of letters stand in front of the portal, sculpted out of bronze and aluminium. The letters spell the word "Barcino" and serve as another reminder of how closely past and present coincide in this area. The visual poem is a piece by Joan Brossa, a Catalan poet and playwright who long spearheaded avant-garde art in the city. If your curiosity is peaked by this odd poem, then you might enjoy a closer look at the artist's work. The Espai Brossa (Allada Vermell, 8), located in La Ribera, is a centre entirely dedicated to Brossa's work and the world of alternative theatre. The Avenida Catedral connects the Plaa Nova and the cathedral and consists of a wide, open, public space leading up to the cathedral's ample stairway. The avenue, which more closely resembles a square, attracts a variety of different people - human statues, musicians, tango dancers, tourists and locals. The area is one of the best places from which to photograph the cathedral complex since it opens up onto a panoramic view that includes all of the buildings. The pedestrian avenue is often the site of religious celebrations and national festivities, such as groups dancing the sardana, a traditional Catalan dance, and a variety of concerts. The Pia Almoina, one of the most interesting buildings, is attached to the Roman wall and off to one side of the cathedral. The building is the seat of the Museum of the Barcelona Diocese, a museum which includes one of the best collections of religious art in Spain. The collec-

tion includes pieces from as early as the Middle Ages through to modern day, belonging to a variety of genres such as painting, sculpture, gold and silver articles, clothing, ceramics and numismatics. Two of the most emblematic pieces are an altarpiece featuring Saint John the Baptist by Bernat Martorell and a silver mons-

series of steps were built to provide another and more impressive manner of entering the cathedral. The Cathedral of Barcelona is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and has more than a few surprises in store for visitors who

called the Casa de l'Ardiaca. If you are seeking a place to take a refreshing break then look no further - inside the house is a cool patio, which is a popular place amongst locals for reading, resting or simply spending time in a quiet and peaceful space. During the Corpus era, the patio was also the site of a rather stran-

trance from the Santa Maria del Pi Church. As you head up the narrow steps next to the museum that lead up to the cathedral, you reach the Pla de la Seu, the square immediately outside the cathedral's entrance. This square dates back to the year 1421 and was built next to the Roman city wall. A short time later, the immens e

venture inside. One of the most frequently visited areas is the cloister, a peaceful and quiet place. You might be a little surprised to find thirteen geese living in this secluded spot. They are the cloister's permanent tenants and the fact that they number exactly thirteen is no coincidence. The number thirteen represents the age at which Saint Eulalia, the city's first patron saint, died a martyr. Another section that you should definitely visit is the Cathedral Museum, which has a vast collection of religious art and historical information relating to the guilds and monarchs that ruled the city throughout the centuries. The museum is located in the old chapterhouse, in a wing of the cloister, where the cathedral chapter held meetings in the past. The most valuable artefacts and art pieces, which are no longer used for worship, are displayed in this Gothic hall. One piece that really stands out from the others is The Pieta by Bartolom Bermejo, which dates back to the year 1490. The section towards the rear of the cathedral is

ge "celebration" - the l'Oucomballa. This is a very peculiar custom with origins so far in the past that no one really knows how it started. The custom consists of placing an egg onto the fountain's water spout. The movement of the water makes the egg move as if it were dancing, which gives this custom its name (l'oucomballa can be roughly translated as "dancing

egg"). The goal is to keep the egg in motion without having it fall off the spout. The building also houses the City History Museum's archive, which has an interesting element on its facade. If you don't know about it, you would probably dismiss the letter box as something insignificant. However, this isn't an ordinary letter box - this unusual piece stems from the modernist era and was designed by the famous architect Llus Domnech i Montaner. By now you will have probably noticed that every corner in this history soaked district has a story to tell and a secret to reveal. This isn't the only fascinating museum located in the cathedral's vicinity - another is the Frederic Mars Museum, named after the sculptor that founded it. This museum is a real treat for art lovers and consists of the impressive collection Mars amassed during his lifetime and eventually donated to the city. The museum has two sections. One section is dedicated to the art of sculpture and spans a vast

time frame from the pre-Roman period to the early 20th century. The second section, called the Collector's Cabinet, displays objects from quotidian life in the 19th century. The section also includes Mars' sculptural work and his private collection of paintings and furniture. The museum's lovely patio is a popular meeting place throughout the spring and summer when you can sit outside on the terrace. One of the little streets heading towards Plaa Sant Jaume to the right of the cathedral leads to a tiny square called Plaa de Sant Felip Neri. Its size might make it seem rather insignificant, but the square guards a very dramatic and tragic past. The church that faces the square still shows the traces of shrapnel on its facade, reminders of the violence that reigned here during the Spanish Civil War. Although the square was largely destroyed, the church remained standing. One of the church's most loyal parishioners was Antoni Gaud. In fact, he was leaving this square when he was hit by the tram that killed him. On a more cheerful note, the square is also site of a rather odd museum - the Museu del Calat or the Shoe Museum, dedicated entirely to the history of footwear. The collection includes several historically significant shoes, such as the by now classic, gigantic variety worn by the clown Charlie Rivel. The square between the cathedral and the Roman wall, bordering Va Laietana, is named after Ramon Berenguer. This space is amongst the most interesting in the old city because it contains facades belonging to some of the area's most fascinating buildings. In addition to a section of the wall and its towers, the square also faces the lateral facades of the Palau Reial and the Santa gueda Chapel. The

equestrian statue in the square, a piece by Josep Llimona, honours Ramon Berenguer III the Great, who is also the square's namesake. And a final little note for anyone interested in industrial design: many of the city's first-class architects and designers have their offices in the buildings surrounding the square. From here you can easily reach the Plaa Sant Jaume, the city's true administrative centre. One side of the square is dominated by the Palau de la Generalitat, the seat of Catalonia's autonomous government, and immediately across from it is the City Hall. Normally, the square is little more than a thoroughfare, but certain occasions put it into the spotlight. After the conclusion of an election, for example, the winner greets the population from the presidential balcony. During the Merc festival, the square becomes the site of many outdoor events, such as concerts and the famous performances by the "Castellers". This custom involves building towers through the acrobatic placement of people on top of one another. If you are here during the Merc, make sure to experience this absolutely authentic Catalan tradition. Heading down the Baixada de Santa Clara takes you to the Plaa del Rei, site of an architectural complex that exemplifies the area's medieval character. In the past, the square served as the palace's stockyard, but now it contains buildings such as the Palau Reial Major and more recent pieces such as a sculpture by Eduardo Chillida. When you visit this square, make sure to check out the Sal del Tinell, the hall where Christopher Columbus presented his first American voyage to the Catholic Monarchs. Nowadays, the hall is still used for

special events, largely due to its impressive size and refined elegance. The tower that connects the Palau Reial and the Palau del Lloctinent is known as the Mirador del Rei Mart (King Mart's Observation Tower). As legend has it, King Mart, the last sovereign ruler of the House of Barcelona, used this tower to keep watch over the city and spot any potential threats coming in from the sea. Upon leaving the square in the direction of Carrer Veguer, you come across the Casa Padells, a building from the 16th century that was moved here, stone by stone, when Va Laietana was built. The building houses the City History Museum, which gives visitors the chance to travel back in time and become more acquainted with Barcelona's past, including an underground "journey" to the ancient Roman city of Barcino. BARCELONA'S JEWISH DISTRICT The Catholic and Jewish cultures in Barcelona and throughout the rest of Spain lived together peacefully for centuries. It wasn't until 1492, when the Catholic Monarchs Isabel and Fernando came to power, that the situation changed. The Catholic Monarchs forced Jews to either convert to Catholicism or face exile and death. Despite the severe oppression, many Jewish

families and communities continued to practice their religion in secret. However, the persecution left lasting scars and much of the city's Jewish cultural and artistic heritage was either lost or destroyed. Nowadays, when you wander through the streets of the Call neighbourhood, which was once the old Jewish district, you can still see many traces of this legacy. The most interesting remnants can be found in a very small area, delimited by the streets Arc de Sant Ramon, Call, Bisbe and San Sever. This area is in the Gothic Quarter, close to the cathedral and the Plaa Sant Jaume. Since the narrow streets are quite small and oftentimes short, the area can be explored very easily. The Main Synagogue of Barcelona can be found on Carrer Marlet 5, tucked away in a narrow street. Finding the synagogue is like coming across a secret, and inside visitors can gain a better understanding of the Jewish community's cultural environment. The synagogue's exterior is modest and can easily be missed if you aren't paying close attention. It fits seamlessly into the narrow streets of the Call. The synagogue is the oldest in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe, and currently visitors can wander through its subterranean level, which houses yet another fascinating historical find. Besides displaying original artefacts from that era, the space beneath the synagogue has revealed ancient stones, brought over from Carthage by the Romans.

Despite the temple's importance, it was rediscovered rather recently, almost by accident. Centuries ago the Call neighbourhood was attacked relentlessly and the Jewish community slowly crumbled due to the persecution and oppression it suffered until eventually little of its cultural heritage remained. The synagogue was no exception to this fate, and it faded away, first becoming a dry cleaner and then a warehouse for electrical parts. Years passed without anyone knowing the true origins of the space. It wasn't until the late 20th

century that the Call Association of Barcelona undertook a study which revealed that the longforgotten warehouse had once been an important place of Jewish worship. Efforts to rehabilitate the synagogue commenced and interest in the area's Jewish heritage grew. Part of the rehabilitation included an excavation which yielded another surprising find. The synagogue's floor had been guarding yet another secret - the remains of an ancient Roman wall from the time when Caracalla was emperor in the 12th century. The wall is now covered with glass, and visitors can walk above it and examine this incredible piece of history in detail. The synagogue's main facade faces southeast towards Jerusalem. A menorah, fashioned out of wrought-iron, has been placed between two windows. Next to it are the scrolls containing the pages of Judaism's holy book, the Torah. Another tradition practised during the heyday

of the Jewish community was the mikves or ritual bath. This is still reflected in some of the street names, such as Banys Nous (new baths in Catalan), a narrow, little street not far from the synagogue. Much has changed along this street since it was a central part of Jewish life, but a few traces from that time still remain. The furniture store S'Oliver, at Banys Nous 10, has preserved sections of these ancient baths. Needless to say, ignoring the changes brought on by time and seeing the baths as they once were does require a good dose of imagination, but it is interesting nonetheless to visit the places that once were so important to the city's Jewish population. One of the busiest streets in the Call, Carrer Ferran, holds another piece of this cultural past. The Sant Jaume Church was built on top of the foundations of another ancient synagogue. By the same token, many of the area's Hebrew inscriptions have disappeared or faded with

time - therefore, it is important to wander slowly and with a keen eye so as to not miss any of the few, remaining details. Crossing the Plaa Sant Jaume, shortly before reaching the Plaa del Rei, you will come across the Palau del Lloctinent. This was not an important building to Jewish life in the area. In fact, it was built long after that time. It is interesting for another, less benign reason. The building was constructed using many of the headstones from the Jewish cemetery on Montjuic. You can finish your walk with a quiet moment of reflection and a good cup of coffee at one of the cafs on Carrer Sant Domnec del Call, many of which still preserve some vestiges of the area's Jewish past. Caelum and Antropologic (formerly known as Phillipvs) are two such places, interesting for their historical value as well as being wonderful little hideaways at which to enjoy a good read and a great cup of coffee.

Museu de la Catedral (Cathedral Museum) Pla de la Seu, s/n Tel. +34 93 310 2580 Timetable: Monday - Sunday, 10am-1pm and 5pm-7pm Tickets: 1 . Free admission every first Sunday of the month from 10am-3pm. Underground: Jaume I (L4) Museu Dioces de Barcelona (Museum of the Barcelona Diocese) Avenida de la Catedral, 4 Tel. +34 93 315 2213 Timetable: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-2pm and 5pm-8pm. Sundays 11am-2pm. Closed on Mondays. Tickets: 2 Underground: Jaume I (L4) Frederic Mars Museum Pl. Sant Iu, 5-6 Tel. +34 93 310 5800 Timetable: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-7pm. Sundays and holidays, 10am-3pm. Closed on Mondays. Tickets: 3 Underground: Jaume I (L4) Museu del Calat (Shoe Museum) Plaa Sant Felip Neri, 5 Tel. +34 93 301 4533 Timetable: Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-2pm. Closed on Mondays. Tickets: 2 Underground: Jaume I (L4) and Liceu (L3) Conjunto monumental de la Plaa del Rei (Plaa del Rei Monument Complex) Plaa del Rei, s/n Tel. +34 93 315 1111 Timetable: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-2pm and 4pm-8pm. Sundays and holidays, 10am-3pm. Closed on Mondays. Tickets: 4 general admission. 5 temporary exhibitions. Free admission every first Saturday of the month in the afternoon. www.museuhistoria.bcn.es

1 Columnes Romanes 2 Palau Episcopal 3 Poema Barcino 4 Casa de lArdiaca 5 Plaa de Sant Felip Neri 6 Plaa de Sant Jaume

(Ajuntament de Barcelona Generalitat de Catalunya) 7 Sal del Tinell 8 Sinagoga Mayor de Barcelona 9 Esglesia de Sant Jaume 10 Barri del Call Jueu

Route 08

Beyond the Eixample Dret: Two modernist landmarks


Once you have crossed the limits of the Eixample Dret (right side of the Eixample), you are now in a neighbourhood known primarily for being the site of the Sagrada Familia. In fact, before the church was built, the area, known as Poblet, consisted of fields that were not even considered part of the city. Nowadays, the area surrounding the Sagrada Familia is a busy neighbourhood with a lot of commercial and residential activity. Amongst all the lively streets, there is one that stands out for being a little different. This is the Avinguda Gaud. This street is actually more of a pedestrian promenade that cuts diagonally across the neighbourhood and is a popular place amongst locals. A variety of shops, restaurants and bars line the promenade and people enjoy strolling down its tree-lined length or spending hours at the outdoor cafs. However, the avenue is also famous for another, important detail - it connects two of the city's most important, modernist landmarks. The avenue begins at the Sagrada Familia and runs diagonally across the neighbourhood to end at the Hospital de Sant Pau. Therefore, this route is actually more of a short walk - a perfect option for an afternoon stroll. After all, a visit to Barcelona isn't complete until you have seen these two architectural masterpieces. THE SAGRADA FAMLIA The Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaud's final masterpiece, an imposing, awe-inspiring cathedral unlike any other. The architect dedicated twelve years of his life and funnelled his entire creative energy and imagination into the construction of the Sagrada Familia. In the end, he never came to complete the project - he was still working on it when he was killed in a tram accident in 1926. The church was originally conceived under the banner "a cathedral for the poor". Construction began in 1883 based on a neo-gothic design by the architect Francesc de Paula del Villar. However, de Paula and the city government in power did not see eye to eye, and the working process was wrought with conflict. De Paula finally gave up and resigned from the project. This was when Antoni Gaud first entered the picture - in 1891 he took over the project and substituted the original plan with a far more ambitious one. The driving force behind the construction of the Sagrada Familia, Josep Mara Bocabella, wanted to build a cathedral that celebrated the history and traditional values of the Catholic faith. Gaud was a deeply religious man and therefore fit the role as the project's creative the glory of God and that its true owner was not in any hurry". Gaud wanted this to be the perfect cathedral, the highest possible expression and celebration of his faith. He became completely engrossed in the project, so much so that for twelve years, from 1914 until his death in 1926, he lived inside the cathedral in a small room prepared especially for him. The Sagrada Familia is primarily a symbolic work. Gaud invested every last drop of his imagination into the piece and was tremendously inspired by medieval cathedrals. The cathedral was designed to have three, monumental facades, each one representing a moment from the life of Jesus Christ (birth, passion and death, resurrection and glory). The three facades were to end in four, enormous

mastermind perfectly. However, there was one problem that plagued the construction process (much as it still does today). The financing of the project was based entirely on charitable donations from the public, which meant that when the money ran out, work on the project came to a grinding halt. Gaud wasn't flustered by the delays. He was known to say that the "church was dedicated to

towers measuring more than 100 metres in height which, taken together, represent the twelve apostles. The tower of the cupola crowning the apse below was meant to symbolise the Virgin Mary. This was a work of monumental ambition, which Gaud never came to finish. Despite working tirelessly, Gaud only completed the crypt and most of the facade depicting the birth of Christ.

Light and music were two other elements of great concern for Gaud. He wanted to build the cathedral so that natural light would reach every, single corner. This aspect turned into an obsession, and Gaud measured the incidence of the sun's rays down to the minutest detail. In 1903, he began work on the construction of the four bell towers. According to his design, the bell towers would sound whenever the organ, which was to be located inside one of the towers, was played so that the entire city could hear the sacred sounds. However, neither Gaud nor the people of Barcelona have ever heard the bells of the Sagrada Familia chime. After Gaud's death, the Sagrada Familia was an orphaned project, abandoned and incomplete. A number of architects have tried their hand at finishing the monumental task over the years. The current coordinator is Jordi Bonet, and the direction the cathedral's construction has taken under his leadership has provoked a variety of different reactions amongst the city's population. Some stalwart supporters of

with a look at the Sagrada Familia Museum. The museum exhibits many of the original construction plans and an extensive collection of graphic material relating to the cathedral's design. As a finishing touch, you can climb one of the towers and enjoy a spectacular view onto the cathedral below and the city around it. HOSPITAL DE SANT PAU The Hospital de Sant Pau and the Palau de la Msica Catalana are the two defining achievements by one of Barcelona's most prolific, modernist architects, Llus Domnech i Montaner. The hospital is not only up and running, it is also one of the largest and most important in the city - further proof that art and functionality can exist side by side. Plans for the hospital began in 1900 thanks to a charitable donation by the banker Pau Gil. He provided financial backing to the tune of four million pesetas (approximately 24,000 today) in order to build a state-of-the-art medical facility that would cover all of Barcelona's medical needs. A competition was organised to find the most appropriate and qualified architect for the job, which promised to be no small task. The hospital was originally supposed to have 48 pavilions of which only 27 were constructed in the end. Llus Domnech i Montaner was chosen as the architect, and he couldn't have imagined how much of his life he would eventually dedicate to this impressive complex. The construction process commenced in 1901 and wouldn't come to completion until 1930. Domnech i Montaner collaborated with many other artists and artisans during this long period, including the sculptors Eusebi Arnau and Pau Gargallo, the painter Francesc Labarta and the metalworker Josep Perpiny, who was famous for his incredible iron craftsmanship. All of these combined talents contributed to the astonishing and ornate appearance of the hospital. The hospital consists of different pavilions separated by gardens and is considered one of

the city's most original and noteworthy modernist complexes. One of the most impressive pavilions is occupied by the hospital administration, which is accessible via an enormous, sweeping stairway. The same route also takes you to the Library-Museum, and the grounds also include a beautiful church. Describing all the intricate details that decorate the facade is an impossible task. Instead, take your time, wander through the complex and absorb every detail of the wonderful ornamentation. It is much more vibrant and impressive up close than any description on paper could ever be. It is a rarity - this combination of science and art. Few cities can claim to have a hospital that combines top-class medical services with the kind of immeasurable, artistic value that characterises the Hospital de Sant Pau. The hospital is currently undergoing an expansion onto a lot located behind the original structure. The hospital had been experiencing problems because the old structures no longer provided enough space. However, restructuring the building would have presented a considerable risk to the building's architectural beauty. Therefore, a better solution was found in expanding the complex onto the neighbouring lot - thus circumventing any need to modify the original buildings. The hospital's main lobby has an information desk that can provide you with information about the Modernist Route.

Gaud's vision feel that the cathedral's appearance is becoming too alienated from the architect's original design. Others, however, feel that it is entirely normal and appropriate for the plan to change and reflect different styles and approaches because the project has already been worked on by different generations of architects. One thing, however, hasn't changed about the Sagrada Familia. The project is still supported solely by means of private donations. If the financing holds up and construction continues at the current pace it is estimated that the cathedral could be completed by 2007. This would be a most appropriate year in which to finish the project since it would coincide with the 125th anniversary of the Sagrada Familia's first stone being set. Once the final details are finished, the cathedral could finally become a place of worship instead of being simply a tourist attraction. You can complement your visit to the cathedral

Sagrada Famlia - Museu del Temple Expiatori Mallorca, 401 Tel. +34 93 207 30 31 www.sagradafamilia.org Timetable: October-March, 9am-6pm. Tickets: 8 Underground: Sagrada Familia (L2)

Route 09

Off the route but not to be missed Off the route but not to be missed
The places described below are not included in any of the routes established by our guide book but that doesn't take away from their importance. They are all relevant to the city and no trip to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to these landmarks of historical, cultural or natural significance. PARK GELL Park Gell, the by now world famous Gaud construction, didn't really start out with any particular artistic intention. Eusebi Gell, one of Antoni Gaud's patrons, commissioned the architect to create a garden city - a complex that was to include houses set into an urban parkland. The architect invested his entire creative genius into the project. An old estate called Can Muntaner de Dalt, also known by its nickname Muntanya Pelada, was chosen as the site for the garden city, largely due to its fantastic view. Construction began, and Gaud returned yet again to one of his central artistic concerns - the integration of architecture with the natural surroundings. Much like he would later do with his most famous piece, the Sagrada Familia, Gaud took his cue from nature. The park's design included viaducts, retaining walls, serpentine columns and colourful ceramic mosaics throughout - details that yielded an organic structure in tune with the natural forms and shapes around it. You arrive at the main entrance, on Carrer Olot, and are greeted by a fantastical wall, covered with mosaics. As you pass through the enormous, iron gates, you are faced with an impressive stairway leading up into the park. The imaginative stairway is decorated with waterfalls and sculptural animals - the most famous of which is the small, multi-coloured dragon, covered entirely with an intricate mosaic, which has become one of the most frequently photographed pieces in the park. When you reach the top of the stairway, you step into a cool, covered hall. But the so-called Hall of a Hundred Columns isn't an ordinary hall - in fact, it is quite extraordinary. The space is a forest made up of 84 Doric columns that wind their way up from the ground to the ceiling. They hold up the terrace above - an enormous balcony forged out of sinuous lines, decorated with one continuous, meandering, mosaic bench. If you are a tad tired after the walk up to the park, then this is the best spot for a break - you can relax on the bench and admire the absolutely stunning view onto the city. The park is home to more points of interest, including the Casa Museu Gaud (Gaud Museum), which houses an interesting collection of the architect's personal belongings. Another organisation that has chosen the park as their headquarters is the Centro de Interpretacin del Park Gell. You might wonder about the English spelling of the word "Park" - this is because the park was originally modelled on the idea of an English-style, residential garden city. If you are curious about the park's history and development, stop in at the old superintendent's house, where you can see the original distribution of the levels, get to know the origins of the project and discover all the possible paths that criss-cross the park. Centro de Interpretacin del Park Gell Olot, s/n Tel. +34 93 285 68 99 www.museuhistoria.bcn.es Timetable: Monday - Friday, 11am-3pm (the park itself stays open longer) Tickets: 2 . Free admission every first Sunday of the month Underground: Lesseps (L3), Alfons X (L4) COLLSEROLA NATURE RESERVE One of the great things about Barcelona is that you don't have to go very far to be surrounded by nature. Just a short, 10 minute train ride away, is the Collserola Park, an expanse of almost 1,800 hectares of protected, metropolitan space of which quite a few areas have been designated nature reserves due to their unusual flora and fauna. The park covers a rather irregularly shaped mountain, whose highest peak is Tibidabo with an altitude of 512 metres. Whether you enjoy outdoor activities and sports or love being in nature or simply want to see the most stunning views across Barcelona, don't miss out on a visit to this beautiful spot of green. The best way of getting to the park is by taking the Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat de Catalunya. These trains leave from the Plaa Catalunya station, and the park can be accessed from a number of stations, such as Peu del Funicular, Baixador de Vallvidrera and Les Planes. However, if you are the athletic or outdoorsy type, you can also choose to forgo public transport and opt for a bicycle instead. You can cycle all the way up to one of the many entrances and then explore the established trails within the park. Your first stop should be the Information Centre, where you can pick up a map indicating all of the possible trails and routes available

inside the park. The routes are built around different points of interest, some for environmental reasons and others which are culturally oriented. In terms of the former, some of the most interesting, natural spaces in the park include the Font Groga and Rierada reserves and the Can Borrell reservoir. There are also several natural springs throughout the park, many of which were decorated during the modernist period. The park has become a very popular place for outdoor sports such as hiking, cycling and horse-back riding. Despite offering such a variety of different leisure activities, the park has managed to conserve its natural landscape, made up mostly of different varieties of oak.

Vilana hill, take the FGC train until Peu del Funicular. Change over to the funicular that connects the station with Vallvidrera Superior and then board bus number 211, which runs every half an hour.

Collserola Park Information Centre Ctra de l'Esglsia, 32 Tel. 932 803 552 Collserola Tower Observation Deck Ctra de Vallvidrera al Tibidabo, s/n Tel. 934 069 354

The forested area is also home to many animals including reptiles, mammals, fish, a wide variety of birds and a few wild boar that have surprised more than one park visitor. In addition to its rich, natural environment, the park also has a few, important architectural landmarks within its perimeter. One of the most noteworthy is the Collserola Tower, designed by the architect Norman Foster. Measuring 288 metres in height (not including the 70 metres that separate the tower from the ground), the tower is the tallest building in the city. The tower is another part of the Olympic legacy and was built in order to improve Catalonia's telecommunication's system - and in doing so gave the city a whole new skyline. The tower has thirteen floors of which the tenth one is open to the public and serves as an observation deck. A panoramic elevator with enormous windows covers the distance from the ground in two and a half minutes. Once you reach the tenth floor, you can admire a view onto the city from a height of 560 metres and on a clear day you can see as far as Montserrat, the Cad mountain range and the peaks of the Pyrenees. To get to the tower, which is located on the

TIBIDABO MOUNTAIN AND THE COSMOCAIXA MUSEUM The Tibidabo Mountain is the highest point in the Collserola Park and one of the city's symbols for a number of reasons. The mountain owes much fame to the homologous church located at the very top. Another landmark is the amusement park, built in 1899, which makes it the oldest of its kind in Spain and the second oldest in Europe. Thanks to its historical longevity, the park has managed to maintain several of its classic and popular attractions in addition to acquiring many of the latest innovations. One of the most unusual and original attractions is a plane, an exact replica of the one that did the first ever flight between Madrid and Barcelona in 1928, which gives you a bird's eye view of the city without ever leaving the park. The park also includes a curious museum, the Museo de Autmatas del Tibidabo. Located inside an old theatre built in 1909, the museum is dedicated entirely to the art of mechanical toys. The collection includes a wide variety of old dolls that worked by inserting a coin and once were a mainstay at European fairgrounds. The museum is home to one of the most complete collections in this specialised field and is well known for the excellent preservation and diversity of its mechanical toys. Tibidabo Amusement Park Plaa del Tibidabo, 3-4

Tel. 932 117 942 www.tibidabo.es The area also holds a treat for history buffs and poetry lovers. The Museu-Casa Verdaguer is located in the small Vallvidrera enclave, inside a typically Catalan, 19th century country estate, which was where the poet Jacint Verdaguer spent the last days of his life. Verdaguer was one of the leading voices of the so-called Catalan Renaissance, and a visit to the museum allows you not only a glimpse into the work of this poet but also into the way of life during that time. The museum is divided into two sections: one displays furniture and artefacts from that period in time, the other focuses on Verdaguer's life and literary achievements. Museu Casa Verdaguer Vil.la Joana (Vallvidrera) Tel. +34 93 294 78 05 www.museuhistoria.bcn.es Timetable: Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, 10am-2pm Free admission. FGC stop: Baixador de Vallvidrera A new and fascinating addition to the Tibidabo hillside is the CosmoCaixa or Science Museum, an entire museum dedicated to stimulating and expanding the visitor's scientific knowledge. The museum takes up an area mea-

suring an impressive 33,000 square metres, which is divided into different spaces. The permanent exhibition's organisation is based on four types of matter - inert, alive, intelligent and civilised matter- and tells the story of its historical evolution, from the beginnings of the universe all the way to modern day. Two of the museum's most emblematic spaces are the Geological Wall and the Rain Forest. The first environment allows visitors to investigate the geological make-up of the earth, whe-

turned it into one of the most fascinating urban areas and an absolutely essential stop for anyone visiting Barcelona. One of the buildings to combine both innovative architecture and cultural interest is the National Theatre of Catalonia or TNC, a pro-

and although not everyone is thrilled with this new, futuristic obelisk, it possesses the kind of innovative spirit that doesn't leave anyone feeling indifferent. The structure consists of two superimposed cylinders covered by a layer of glass, which reflects the light. This play between light, shadow and reflection creates a beautiful chromatic effect that changes depending on the time of day. Furthermore, the facade is dotted with thousands of small windows arranged in an asymmetrical schematic, thusly creating a mosaic of signs, legible only from the outside. A further detail still awaiting completion is the artificial lake that will one day surround the tower. Teatre Nacional de Catalunya (National Theatre of Catalonia) Plaa de les Arts, 1 Tel. 933 065 700 www.tnc.es

reas the second is a replica of an authentic, Amazonian rain forest - the first of its kind to be recreated in a museum. The CosmoCaixa also schedules a variety of events in addition to its permanent and temporary exhibitions, such as lectures, courses, conferences, sessions in the Planetarium and a series of workshops designed to get children acquainted with and excited about science. CosmoCaixa - Science Museum Teodor Roviralta, 55 Tel. +34 93 212 60 50 www.fundacio.lacaixa.es Timetable: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-8pm. Closed Mondays, except holidays. Also closed on December 25th and January 1st. Buses: 17, 22, 58, 60, 73, 85. The museum can also be reached with the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC trains) and the Tramvia Blau (a special tram operating in the area).

ject designed by the architect Ricard Bofill. The theatre is a complex comprised of two large buildings. The first one recalls the ancient Greek Parthenon and contains two spaces - one that can hold up to 900 people and another smaller one with a maximum capacity of 300. The two halls taken together measure 20,000 square metres and are held up by 26 columns. The second building measures 5,000 square metres and has a design that combines both traditional and modern elements. The first building tends to be used for large-scale shows, whereas the smaller one stages a wide variety of performances. The Auditori, another big draw for the neighbourhood, consists of a modern building, measuring more than 40,000 square metres in size and designed by the architect Rafael Moneo. Inaugurated in 1999, the building contrasts its external modernity with a Symphonic Hall seating 2,200 people. A multi-purpose hall can be arranged to hold 400 people, and plans are underway for the creation of a Chamber Hall with a seating capacity of 700. The most intriguing, architectural detail in the building is located in the central atrium and consists of a cubic lantern made out of glass, modelled on an impluvium, a typical structure used in ancient Rome. Looking towards the future, plans are being discussed to move the Catalonian Academy of Music and the Music Museum to the Auditori, thus creating an entire area that will serve as the centre of the city's music world. Last but not least, the square is also the site of the Agbar Tower, one of the most talked about buildings in recent times. The tower is Barcelona's most modern skyscraper and one of the most architecturally relevant buildings built in the last few years. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the tower takes its name from the company headquartered within, Aguas de Barcelona, known by the acronym Agbar. The building's form, considered a phallic symbol by many, has caused quite a stir in Barcelona. It has generated a host of reactions and opinions

L'Auditori Lepant, 150 www.auditori.org

POBLE NOU AND THE PALO ALTO COMPLEX The Poble Nou neighbourhood, located slightly outside the city and just a few metres from the sea, was once the industrial heart of Barcelona. Nowadays, one of the most heated debates in terms of city planning concerns this area, a debate marked between the preservation of its history and the possibilities for the future. In 1950 more than 5,000 factories earned the area its nickname as the Catalan Manchester. Little remains of that industrial heyday - a few chimneys, decaying remnants of factories and the names of long-gone enterprises. The industries

THE NEWLY RENOVATED PLAA DE LES GLRIES A few years ago, the Plaa de les Glries and its surrounding areas were in dire need of a makeover. The construction of a shopping centre brought some vitality back to the area, but it wasn't nearly enough. It would take a greater effort, both in terms of architectural change and cultural programming, to bring the area back to life. And its rebirth is owed largely to the construction of some of the most outstanding and important buildings the city has seen in the last few years. Nowadays, the square is known for more than simply traffic jams (it is one of the main roundabouts serving incoming and exiting traffic as well as the intersection of thoroughfares such as Diagonal, Gran Va and Meridiana). The square's metamorphosis has

of old have been replaced by design studios, new office towers and apartment buildings. Whereas these changes and the influx of new business is essential for the future development of the area, no one wants to lose the unique spirit that characterises one of the city's most authentic, down-to-earth neighbourhoods. One of the places where past and present meet, that perfectly blends history with all that is modern and cutting-edge, is the Palo Alto complex. Once upon a time the complex was taken

up by a series of textile factories; nowadays, the textiles have given way to hip, designer studios, such as that of top designer Javier Mariscal, and groups organising a variety of temporary exhibitions. Palo Alto, located on Carrer Pellaires 38, is a place that exudes culture and modernity without sacrificing any of the historical details that endow it with a unique charm. Perhaps inspired by the likes of Palo Alto, a strong interest has surfaced in preserving the architectural elements from the past. A new interest in the industrial heritage has flourished, placing demands for the preservation of its traces on par with those directed at perhaps more traditional, cultural landmarks. The chimneys of the Poble Nou, with their slim, red brick silhouette, have become almost iconic and are celebrated as part of Barcelona's heritage. They rise up along almost every street in the area, and some stand out from amongst the rest. One especially fine specimen once belonged to the Can Saladrigas factory - the factory is long gone, but the chimney remains and if you look closely, you will notice a peculiar sun dial set into its base. The Poble Nou is also unique in its way of keeping a village spirit alive while simultaneously forming part of a large city. This becomes immediately obvious when strolling down the Rambla de Poble Nou, the neighbourhood's main street. One of the most defining buildings along this street is the Casino de l'Aliana. This venue, built by Amadeu Llopart in 1929, was one of the classic, central, gathering spots in the area. Even today, locals still come together in the cosy theatre located inside the building. An interesting anecdote about the place shows how deeply ingrained and long-lasting an era's prejudices can be - women were forbidden from entering the Casino until 1974.

cells and the refectory. The monastery also owns an impressive collection of art, liturgical objects and furniture that has been carefully cared for and maintained by the monastic community since the 14th century. Museu Monestir de Pedralbes (Pedralbes Monastery Museum) Baixada del Monestir, 9 Tel. +34 93 203 92 82 www.museuhistoria.bcn.es Timetable: Tuesday-Sunday and holidays, 10am-2pm. Closed Mondays. Tickets: 4 . Free admission every first Sunday of the month Bus: 75. FGC train: Reina Elisenda

CAMP NOU AND THE F.C. BARCELONA MUSEUM The Camp Nou is much more than a stadium for many, especially the fans of the Bara team. This Barcelona symbol was inaugurated on September 24th (the day of Barcelona's patron saint, the Virgin of the Merc) in 1957. Despite the passing years, the Camp Nou is still a proud point of reference amongst Spanish stadiums. The stadium received its name from the fact that prior to its existence the team already trained and played matches in an earlier stadium, appropriately named the Vell Camp (the old camp in Catalan). When the team signed Ladislao Kubala, the board decided that if it was going to have star players, it would have to have an equally stellar playing field.

handball, basketball and hockey. The museum is divided into different areas. One area documents the Bara's history through photographs, audio-visual material, athletic material and all of the trophies ever won by the club. The most important trophy, and the one most fans wish the Bara would win again, is definitely the European Cup, which the team won, coincidentally, in 1992, the same year the city celebrated the Olympic Games. Another section of the museum displays pieces by such celebrated artists as Dal, Mir, Tpies and Subirachs. Visitors can also examine one of the most extensive, private collections on the subject of football as well as find out any desired information about the club at the specialised document centre. Since the museum is located right next to the stadium, you have two options for completing your visit. You can either choose to only visit the museum or you can combine the museum with a guided tour of the stadium. The tour begins with a stop at the visiting team's locker room. Then, you pass through a tunnel and head outside to the playing field and the benches used by the players during the match. You can also head up to the seats reserved for the press, which have a spectacular view onto the field. If you want a moment in the club president's shoes (currently Jordi Laporta), head over to seat number 10, one of the best seats in the entire stadium, located in a section called La Llotja. This is the exact spot from which the president celebrates the team's victories and agonises over their defeats. Museu del Futbol Club Barcelona (FC Barcelona Museum) Arstides Maillol, accesos nmero 7 9 Tel. +34 93 496 36 08 www.fcbarcelona.es Timetable: Monday-Saturday, 10am-6:30pm. Sundays and holidays, 10am-2pm. Tickets: 5,30 general admission. Guided stadium tour + museum: 9,50 Underground: Collblanc (L5)

PEDRALBES MONASTERY MUSEUM This museum actually forms part of the Barcelona City History Museum, which includes four, separate entities that focus on moments from the city's fascinating, historical past. Other museums that belong to this group are the History Museum on Plaa del Rei, the Casa Verdaguer Museum (dedicated to life and work of poet Jacint Verdaguer) and the Centre de Interpretacin del Park Gell in Park Gell. The monastery was opened to the public in 1983 and is one of the best examples of Catalan Gothic architecture. The complex includes a church and a monastery built around a spacious, three-story cloister. The main points of interest are the chapterhouse, the abbey, the

This was the beginning of one of the most ambitious stadium projects ever conceived; even today the Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe with a seating capacity for up to 98,000 spectators. Its spectacular dimensions have made the Camp Nou more than just the site of Bara team victories and defeats. The stadium is often used for a variety of events, such as the mega-concerts by music superstars like Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen. The FC Barcelona facilities also include the Bara Museum, dedicated entirely to the history of the club. In response to the myriad fans (estimated at around 100,000 throughout the world), Joan Gamper, the FC Barcelona founder, proposed creating a museum about the club's history back in the 1920s. However, the project wasn't completed until 1984, the museum's inaugural year. In creating the museum, the Bara became the world's first club to document and recall its past in one, permanent exhibition - an exhibition that isn't limited to football but also includes the club's other sports:

Route 10

A walk from Plaa A walk from Plaa Catalunya Catalunya through the Merc through the Merc neighbourhood neighbourhood
Standing in the middle of Plaa Catalunya places you at the true centre of Barcelona. The square is the border between the new Barcelona to the north and the old city to the south and serves as the point of departure for important streets like the Passeig de Grcia, the Rambla Catalunya and the Rambla. This is also one of the central stations for most underground lines, buses, trains, taxis and the airport bus - basically, this is the square where the entire city comes together, the square that connects all of the different sections and the place that serves as the best point of orientation for anyone new to the city. Everyone living in the city has crossed this square an uncountable number of times. However, it isn't really appreciated as a public space by the majority of locals. It is considered more of a necessity, and locals tend to come here for practical purposes such as business, shopping or as part of their commute. The square is decorated with 28 sculptures of which one is particularly eye-catching. This sculpture consists of an enormous book set on top of a base resembling an inverted staircase and honours Francesc Maci, one of the presidents of the Generalitat of Catalunya (the region's autonomous government). The square is also adorned with fountains and several trees, which offer visitors a cool and refreshing refuge in the summer. The square is surrounded by office buildings, banks and shopping centres. The atmosphere is always alive and full of people: tourists arriving in the city, people passing through, children feeding the pigeons. This sense of bustling energy is complemented by street musicians, usually African or Peruvian, performing spontaneous concerts. The music often draws a crowd and adds a cheerful, relaxed touch to a square that could otherwise seem a tad business-like and anonymous. Before leaving Plaa Catalunya, you should definitely stop in at one of the city's legendary caf terraces: Caf Zurich. Finding a table outside is often quite a challenge, especially in the summer, but it is worth the wait. Once seated, you can enjoy a cup of coffee and simply watch the city pass by in front of you. Observing the coming and going of people is the best possible way of getting a feel for the city's rhythm and the diversity that characterises its population. After getting a taste of what the city is all about, it is time to delve into a more in depth exploration. A good place to start is the Portal de l'ngel. According to legend, the street received its heavenly name because this was where an angel appeared to Saint Vicent Ferrer. Nowadays, the only thing resembling a miracle is reaching the end of the street without having several shopping bags hanging from your arm! This is the heart of Barcelona's shopping district, a long, pedestrian zone lined with stores selling every imaginable piece of clothing and accessory. However, don't let all the bright colours and attractive display windows distract you from some very interesting, historical details that can also be found here. A little street named Montsi branches off to the left of the avenue. Heading down this narrow street, you come to the mythical cafrestaurant Els Quatre Gats. This is where a famous circle of artists, including Picasso, Gaud, Rusiol and Casas, met on a regular basis throughout the early days of the modernist movement. You can still feel much of the bohemian, intellectual spirit lingering in the air, and along with an illustrious history, the restaurant also serves excellent Catalan cuisine. You can make a detour down Carrer Santa Anna on your right to the Plaa Vila de Madrid. The square now covers an area once occupied by a convent of the Carmelite order that was burned in 1936, at the outset of the Spanish Civil War. The centre of the square consists of a grassy area with trees and a deck from which you can look into the earth below. An ancient Roman cemetery was found a few metres beneath the surface. The earth was cleared away from the pit and an observation deck was built above it so that visitors can look at the ancient graves from above. Along one side of the square is the Ateneu Barcelons, a cultural centre with an excellent caf and restaurant. Once you return from your detour and are back on Portal de l'ngel, keep an eye out for one of the area's most peculiar elements. The fountain located on the corner of Portal de l'ngel and Portaferrissa (another shopping street) might look like a fountain, but it was something quite different in the past. This was one of the city's ancient water troughs, and if you imagine yourself back in the days of horses and carriages,

you will realise that these were once as important as petrol stations are today. Heading down Portaferrissa you come across more shops, catering to every imaginable clientele, from children and teenagers all the way to fashionable senior citizens. Scattered amongst the stores are a few, old palaces that have long since lost their original purpose. One of these is the Palau Palmerola, located at number 7, which now houses the El Bulli workshop. This is where Ferran Adri, the internationally famous culinary genius, experiments with ingredients and textures to come up with new creations to serve at his restaurant, El Bulli, in Roses (Girona). If you want to escape the shopping madness that usually reigns on Portaferrissa, turn down the little street Petritxol, which leads you to one of the neighbourhood's most charming and "sweetest" spots. This chocolate shop is the perfect place to stop for a traditional merienda (afternoon snack) with an assortment of sweets, buns, Swiss hot chocolate and a seemingly infinite variety of pastry. The street is also famous for its many art galleries, antique stores and bookshops selling extremely rare and hard to find editions. This bohemian atmosphere carries through to the Plaa del Pi, located at the end of Carrer Petritxol. This is one of Barcelona's smallest and most charming squares, named after the hundred-year-old pine tree standing at its centre. The church along one side of the square bears the same name and dates back to the 15th century. A square similar in design and atmosphere opens up just around the corner. This square, named Sant Josep Oriol, is a popular site for street musicians and performers, fortune-tellers and painters. These two little squares are therefore an enormous draw for tourists, which make them equally attractive to pickpockets. Just be a little careful with your belongings, and you won't have any unfortunate surprises mar your enjoyment of the wonderful caf terraces and the vibrantly, artistic environment that characterise these lovely squares.

Much like the Raval and the Born, this area is also full of designer and craftwork shops selling unique and delightful items. The streets Ferran and Aviny are the best places to browse for gifts and indulge in some shopping. Check out La Manual Alpargatera (Aviny, 5) for shoes, Dom (Aviny, 7) for designer pieces and Loft Avignon (Aviny, 22) for some truly original, avant-garde fashion. By now you are already on your way towards the Rambla. But before reaching the famous promenade, you will cross one of the most beloved squares in the city - the Plaa Reial. The square has an elegant design, surrounded on all sides by Napoleonic arches. However, years of commercialisation have taken away much of its charm, and the square is now mostly frequented by tourists and the homeless. After nightfall, the square turns into one of the liveliest and busiest spots in the city. Glaciar is a popular place to meet for the evening's first drink. It might be crowded, but it is well worth the visit. After Glaciar you can continue your night on the town at a variety of classic bars located in the area. Other interesting establishments around the square are Sidecar, Tarantos and Jamboree, venues known for pop-rock music, flamenco and jazz respectively.

Sunday mornings the square takes on a completely different appearance. Stalls line the spacious, open area, and the city's stamp and coin collectors gather to sell, buy and exchange their wares. If you share their enthusiasm, you should definitely head down to the market. Although many of the items might be of little value, you can always find a good deal if you take the time to look closely. Another interesting detail in the Plaa Reial is a sculptural piece entitled The Three Graces. The piece consists of two streetlamps, with six arms each, and its artistic value is far greater than you would imagine at first glance. These streetlamps are one of Gaud's first pieces. He designed them for the city at a time when he could only dream of the immense, future fame that awaited him. If you make a U-turn and head back into the neighbourhood away from the Rambla, you reach the Plaa de la Merc, the patron saint of Barcelona. If you want to see what a Barcelona wedding is like, then you have come to the right place. At one end of the square is the courthouse, where civil marriages are performed. And at the other end of the square is the Merc Basilica, where couples get married in traditional Catholic ceremonies. The Merc Church bears the name of Barcelona's patron saint, the Merc Virgin, and was built in the second half of the 18th century by Josep Mas i d'Ordal. Beneath the current church lie the foundations of a much older church that once formed part of a convent. The most important day for this church is September 24th, the city's biggest holiday and the celebration of Barcelona's patron saint. However, there are also other significant moments that put this church in the spotlight. One such occasion, for example, is when the Bara team comes to the church to express gratitude for one of their triumphs. And since the players come accompanied by other club members, team members, fans and family, this event definitely brings a lot of people to the church.

Surrounding Areas Surrounding Areas


Catalonia as a whole and Barcelona in particular are characterised by a classic Mediterranean landscape, marked by both coastal and mountainous areas. In addition to all the cultural attractions Barcelona offers as a city, the surrounding areas are perfect destinations for a variety of excursions that allow insight into Catalonia's natural environment and cultural traditions. We will take a look at three absolutely essential destinations that are equally fascinating in both summer and winter. Some of these excursions are day trips to places such as Montserrat or Sitges. The Costa Brava, on the other hand, should be given more time as this charming and popular destination is rather vast and includes many point of interest. MONTSERRAT The chances of finding a Catalan who has never stepped foot onto Montserrat would be more than strange and unusual. The unmistakable mountain with its mysterious, serrated ridge is considered a unique geological formation and is one of Catalonia's most interesting natural sites. In addition to its natural beauty, Montserrat is also a landmark for another reason - the Montserrat Abbey is home to the Virgin of the same name, also known as La Moreneta for her ebony skin colour. She is the patron saint of Catalonia and a symbol that inspires immense devotion. Hundreds of Catalans, both believers and non-believers, are drawn to this holy relic on a regular basis. The weekends are an especially popular time for locals to visit the abbey and pay tribute to their patron saint. During the era of the Franco dictatorship, Montserrat also became a symbol for those defending Catalonia's freedom. The monks resolutely defied the anti-Catalan laws established by Franco's government and continued to celebrate weddings, baptisms and mass in their forbidden native tongue. The mountain also served as a refuge for many intellectuals who fought for the rights that the citizens had lost under the dictatorship. Montserrat is also a place of grand and impressive natural beauty. If you are a lover of outdoor sports, particularly hiking and rock climbing, then this is a definite must on your holiday itinerary. The mountain has more than a thousand peaks comprised of different monoliths as well as a thoroughly unusual landscape made up of rises and inclines, canyons and valleys which are connected by a series of well-marked trails. Amongst the many routes you can take, the most interesting is the trail leading up to the Sant Jeroni peak, the mountain's highest point. Here you can admire some truly spectacular, panoramic views onto the surrounding areas below. Montserrat was declared a nature reserve in 1989. The mountain is easily reached from Barcelona by car, train or bus. However, one of the most rewarding, albeit physically demanding, ways of getting to Montserrat is a traditional night hike during which people, driven by athletic dedication or religious devotion, walk the 60 kilometres separating the mountain from Barcelona. Montserrat Tourism Office Pl. de la Creu, s/n Tel: 93 877 77 77 (ext. 7586) SITGES Sitges is one of the most charming seaside towns along the Barcelona coast. Nestled into the slope of the Garraf mountain range, this pretty, little enclave has become a very popular tourist destination. Due to its proximity to Barcelona and excellent transport connections, Sitges is an easy day trip, but if you want to get a true feeling for what the town and its population is like, opt to stay a few days longer. The summer might be the best time to enjoy the famous Sitges beaches, but the rest of the year is equally full of events and attractions. February brings with it one of the most famous Carnival celebrations in all of Spain, complete with costume parties and street parades. In late September film buffs flock to Sitges for the annual Festival Internacional de Cine Fantstico (International Festival of Fantasy Film), an event that gains in international reputation every year. Sitges is also a popular spot at the weekend, famous throughout Catalonia for its nightlife, especially amongst the gay scene. The town also has three museums that house an interesting modernist collection. Sitges is a small town with the cultural and leisure options of a cosmopolitan community, situated along one of the loveliest stretches of Catalan coastline. The Cau Ferrat Museum, located behind the church, has an interesting permanent collection that includes pieces by Santiago Rusiol, Ramon Casas and Pablo Picasso. Furthermore, the museum also has a section dedicated to medieval ceramics and traditional Catalan wrought-iron. A truly special treat are the two pieces by the great artist El Greco. The MariCel Museum is just around the corner and houses several excellent pieces of Romanesque and Gothic sculpture as well as a hall painted by Joseph Maria Sert and a few paintings by Sorolla. The Maricel is actually comprised of several beautifully designed buildings, joined by a patio decorated entirely with Mexican-style glazed tiles. The third museum, the Romantic Museum, is located inside a spectacular 18th century mansion. Here you can visit a perfectly preserved and highly valuable art collection as well as the mansion's old bodega (wine cellar). Sitges faces four kilometres of gorgeous beaches, bordered by one of the most pleasant

boardwalks to be found along the Catalan coastline. When organising your trip, try to keep the lunch hour free so that you can stop in at one of the restaurants along the boardwalk which are known for their delicious rice dishes. COSTA BRAVA The Costa Brava stretches from the southern edge of the Girona province all the way to the French border. This beautiful coastal section is one of the main tourist attractions in Catalonia. In the summer the area's population triples in number, not only due to visiting tourists but also because the Costa Brava is a popular summer home for many Catalans. In addition to the crowded, leisure spots along the coast, the Costa Brava still maintains isolated, untouched beaches, medieval towns and spectacular masias (country estates). Describing the entire Costa Brava and its many villages, beaches and vast cultural heritage in detail would demand a complete guide book in itself. Therefore, we have decided to mention just a few of its main towns according to where they are located as you head northward along the coast. Blanes is the closest town to Barcelona. Here you can find one of the longest beaches in the Girona province and the Mar i Murtra botanical garden. The latter is one of the most important in Europe and is home to more than 7,000 plant species. Lloret de Mar is the Costa Brava's epicentre in terms of tourism. Although the town has some historical sites, such as a Roman tower, remnants of a castle and pretty chapels, it derives its greatest fame from the popularity of its nightlife with young party-goers. It is a place where the festivities last long into the night and most revellers don't go to bed until dawn. Tossa de Mar is one of the most unique spots along the Costa Brava. In terms of historical interest, it has an ancient city wall and a museum, called the Vila Vella, which houses a very interesting art collection. The village's other claim to fame is that it was home to actress Ava Gardner while shooting one of her films and backdrop for her torrid romance with bullfighter Mario Cabr. The romance came to an end when Ava's then-husband, Frank Sinatra, travelled all the way to Tossa to break up the affair and take the diva back home. Heading further up north you encounter the village Sant Feliu de Guxols, site of a very interesting monastery; Platja d'Aro, one of the most popular beaches in the area and Palams,

one of the most famous seaside towns along the coast. July brings a series of famous maritime parades to the town, something that has already turned into one of the biggest tourist draws in the summer. After passing Palafrugell, a village located inland, you reach Calella de Palafrugell, Llafranc and Tamariu. These are three villages that once formed the heart of the area's fishing industry, which still maintain much of their quaint charm despite the growing infrastructure demanded by the increase of tourism in the area. All three villages are extremely popular summer destinations and usually attract a large number of people who come here to spend the season. Many consider Begur to be something quite extraordinary, a place that offers a contrast to many of the touristy towns that line the coast. The castle overlooking the town is still largely intact and hidden coves such as Sa Tuna and Aiguablava are some of the few untouched and pristine beaches left on the Costa Brava. The village of Pals is another must-see stop on your coastal itinerary. It is considered a historical monument and many original structures remain. The rest of the architecture has been perfectly restored, and the village takes on a special beauty at dusk when the streets are illuminated with torches, recalling the ambiance of long gone eras. Heading inland, you find other interesting spots such as La Bisbal d'Empord, famous for its ceramics production, and Ullastret, a town where you can visit a well-preserved ancient, Iberian settlement. Making a u-turn back towards the coast, you get to L'Estartit, famous for its beaches, which form part of the nature reserve Illes Medes, a paradise for all underwater adventurers. Upon entering the Alt Empord region, you should definitely stop at the ancient Empries territory, site of a Greco-roman settlement, which has been perfectly preserved at its seafront location. Although the majority of the original pieces found at the site are now displayed at the Barcelona Archaeological Museum, you can still visit the remnants of the ancient city wall, a well, the agora and the forum at the actual location. As you reach the Roses bay, you find yourself in one of the most interesting nature reserves in Catalonia, as interesting as the Delta de l'Ebre

Reserve near Tarragona. The Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l'Empord is a fascinating series of wetlands that are home to several different species of migrating birds. The nearby area of Empuriabrava is an enticing spot for anyone interested in outdoor activities. You can try your hand at sailing on the artificial canals or check out the marina. And if you have nerves of steel, you can opt for a skydiving adventure at the local aerodrome. The region's capital is Figueres, the city where Salvador Dal was born and died. You should not miss out on a visit to the fantastic theatremuseum dedicated entirely to the work of the ingenious master of surrealism. The town of Peralada, further to the north, is famous for its magnificent castle, which now houses a casino and organises wonderful music festivals during the summer season. Roses is another popular tourist destination along the coast and site of the remnants of a 16th century fortress and excavations dating back to the ancient Greek city of Rhode. Cala Montjoi, one of the beaches belonging to the town of Roses, is home to El Bulli, culinary stronghold of world-renowned chef Ferran Adri. However, don't even consider stopping in for a meal without having made a reservation. El Bulli is only open in the evenings from May to October and eager guests often have to wait for more than a year to dine at one of the coveted tables! Cadaqus, a quaint town with whitewashed buildings that draws a large share of visitors each year, is only a few kilometres away. Although it has been rather overrun with tourists and thus has lost much of its original charm, it is almost impossible to resist visiting this little fishing village turned enclave for writers and artists. In the centre of the nearby Port Lligat, you can visit the house that was home to Salvador Dal and his wife Gala for much of their life. Starting out at the little village of Port de la Selva, it is only a few kilometres to the Sant Pere de Rodes monastery, a fascinating medieval complex that dates back to the 10th century. You will be surprised at the incredibly well-maintained condition of this historical building. The church inside the abbey is considered one of most outstanding examples of Romanesque art in all of Spain. As you approach the French border, you encounter the towns Llan, Colera and Portbou, three seaside towns that mark the end of the Catalan coastline.

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GETTING TO BARCELONA Besides being the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is also one of the most important cities in Spain. Therefore, it is extremely wellconnected to a wide variety of both national and international destinations. You can get here via many different modes of transport, be it by sea, land or air. By Air Barcelona's international airport, El Prat, lies approximately 12 kilometres southeast of the city. The airport is currently being expanded to better meet the area's travelling needs. It is a busy hub with daily flights to many important cities in Spain as well as throughout Europe and other continental areas. The airport is divided into three terminals: A, B and C. Normally, Terminal A serves international flights, Terminal B serves national flights and Terminal C serves the hourly shuttle that connects Madrid and Barcelona. However, the expansion currently underway may cause changes to the terminals' organisation. This sounds a whole lot worse than it actually is, because at this airport getting a little lost is no cause for alarm. Unlike the sprawling structures in cities such as London or Frankfurt, El Prat is easily navigated on foot, and the terminals are all walking distance from one another. A far cheaper option is the Aerobs (airport bus), which leaves the airport every 15 minutes and drops you off at Plaa Catalunya, right in front of the large Corte Ingls department store. A bus ride costs approximately 3 Euros (including luggage) and takes about half an hour to reach its final destination. The buses run until midnight. If you wish to avoid all chances of getting stuck in traffic, then perhaps the train is the best option. The fare is a little more than one Euro, and the train stops at a number of stations throughout the city. By Train Barcelona has three main train stations: Sants, Estaio de Frana and Plaa Catalunya. Sants is the busiest of the three, and the main arrival and departure point for international trains. The Spanish railway company is called RENFE, and their website, www.renfe.es, provides daily train timetables and other useful information. Barcelona has two types of railway systems: Cercanas, which operates trains that connect Barcelona and its surrounding areas, and longdistance trains. The first type of train doesn't require a reservation. Tickets can be purchased at the machines or booths located inside each station and timetables are posted in public view. These trains connect Barcelona and the towns and villages surrounding the city and are a popular form of transport for people who commute to work. During the summer months, the Cercanas trains are the most common way of getting to the beach towns along the Barcelona coast, such as Masnou, Montgat, Alella, Vilassar and Matar. By Bus The city's main bus station is Estaio del Nord, located close to the Arc de Triomf and the underground station of the same name. Most of the bus lines that connect Barcelona with other destinations in Spain arrive and depart from this station. For information about these bus lines please call +34 93 265 65 09. Buses coming from and heading to international destinations generally stop at the Sants bus terminal, right next to the train station (+34 93 490 40 00). Tickets can be purchased at the station and should be acquired well ahead of time to make sure seats are still available. Usually, bus tickets cannot be reserved; they have to be paid as soon as they are issued. By Boat The Trasmediterrnea company (+34 902 45 46 45), located inside the maritime station, oversees and operates the majority of boat travel entering and departing from the Barcelona port. Generally, the most important routes operate between the city and the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) as well as several Italian destinations, such as Genova. Several cruise lines, organised through travel agencies, also set sail from the Barcelona port. GETTING AROUND Underground This is obviously the fastest way of getting around the city but also the least rewarding in terms of exploring Barcelona while in transit. The underground network covers almost the entire city, and every important tourist attraction usually has a very convenient underground station nearby. Barcelona has five underground lines: L1 (Hospital de Bellvitge-Fondo, red line), L2 (Paral.lel-Pep Ventura, purple line), L3 (Zona Universitaria-Canyelles, green line), L4 (Trinitat Nova-La Pau, yellow line), L5 (Cornell Centre-Horta, blue line). Construction on two further lines is currently underway, and they should be completed in the near future. As is the case in most European cities, you can change lines as often as you like thanks to transfers. You have to validate your ticket every time you wish to ride the underground by inserting your ticket into the machines at the turnstiles. A one-way ticket costs 1.15 Euros, but you can choose to purchase a T-10, which is a ten-ride pass that can be used by multiple passengers. This pass costs 6.30 Euros. Bus The selection of buses is ample, a ride costs the same as on the underground and the T-10 is also valid for this mode of transport. You can pick up a map showing all the bus lines at any underground station (the bus stops, however, are out on the street), but some of the most interesting for visitors are the following: bus number 6 has stops along the Avenida Diagonal all the way to Poblenou and the beaches, bus number 24 covers all of Passeig de Grcia and pas-

Before leaving the airport, you should head over to the tourist information desk, located in the centre of the arrivals hall. The friendly staff will be more than happy to provide you with a map of the city. This little detour is well worth it since the map will give you a better idea of where you are upon your arrival in the city. Plans are underway to build an underground that will one day connect almost every area in the city with the airport. However, this plan is still years from completion, so at this point in time you have three options of getting into the city: taxi, bus or train. The most comfortable option is definitely the taxi, which generally costs approximately 20 Euros for a ride to the areas surrounding Plaa Catalunya. TakeoffGuides 2005

ses buildings such as the Casa Batll, Casa Mil and the Palau Robert, bus number 14 starts out at the Vila Olmpica and ends in Bonanova, one of the city's most elegant neighbourhoods, bus number 40 ends its trajectory in Port Vell and bus number 41 runs down the entire length of Avenida Diagonal, from Plaa Francesc Maci at one end to the Forum grounds at the other. Taxi Barcelona taxis are yellow and black, and a small, green light on the roof indicates whether they are free or not. Generally speaking, taxi drivers try to take the shortest route possible to complete a trip. Of course you can run into situations, as happens in all major metropolitan areas, were a taxi driver takes advantage of the fact that you are "new" in the city and tries to overcharge you - however, this is actually quite unusual in Barcelona. Taxis do apply additional charges for trips to the airport, handling luggage and waiting for passengers. Taxi fares don't start out at zero; a ride always starts out from a set, base amount of 1.60 Euros (1.80 Euros if the ride takes place at night). The only times that it might be slightly difficult to find a taxi is during a holiday or in very busy nightlife areas. To find a ride, all you have to do is find a strategic corner and flag down any taxi coming your way. Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC) These trains are similar to the underground and regular trains (in fact, many of their stations coincide), but their routes reach other, at times somewhat more distant, destinations. Their main hub is the Catalunya station (right behind Caf Zurich at the top of the Rambla), which also serves lines 1 and 3 of the underground. The price of the ticket depends on the length of the trajectory. Trajectories within the city limits such as, for example, any destination between Plaa Catalunya and Tibidabo, have the same fare as the underground and the bus, and you can use your T-10 for the trip. Barcelona Sightseeing Bus (Bus Turstic) The Bus Turstic is a special bus, designed specifically to meet the needs and interests of people visiting the city. It is a convertible, doubledecker bus with three, pre-established routes that take visitors to some of the most interesting tourist attractions in the city. The red route takes you to Plaa Catalunya, Passeig de Grcia, the Sagrada Familia, Parc Gell, the Pedralbes Monastery, the FC Barcelona Football Museum, MACBA and the CCCB. The blue route also starts on Passeig de Grcia but heads up to the Anilla Olmpica on Montjuic Mountain and then back down to the Old Port, the Olympic Port, Ciutadela Park and the Gothic Quarter. The latest addition is the Forum route, which covers the recently developed areas of the city and is specifically designed for the summer as it passes through the Olympic Port, Bogatell beach, the Forum grounds, Diagonal Mar Park and Poblenou. With the purchase of one ticket (17 Euros for adults and 10 Euros for children between the TakeoffGuides 2005

ages of 4 and 12) you can change routes as often as you like and take as many buses as you wish. Tickets can be purchased at any tourist information office (Tel. +34 932 853 832) or when boarding the bus. Tram The tram has a long-lasting, historical tradition in Barcelona, much like it does in many other European cities (Barcelona has some infamous and tragic stories relating to this mode of transport - Gaud died after being hit by a tram). During the second half of the 20th century, local authorities decided that the tram was an antiquated and uncomfortable form of transport and removed the tracks. However, times have changed and with them the perception of the tram. Studies have shown that it is a safe, fast and efficient form of transport, which offers greater mobility to people with a physical handicap since trams can be boarded at street level. Barcelona reconsidered the tram only recently when it offered a possibility to connect the city with a number of areas in the outskirts such as Esplugues, Cornell, Sant Joan Desp and Sant Just Desvern. Although these areas don't lie very far outside the city, the public transport options connecting them had always been poor and insufficient. The Forum 2004 event gave the plan a final push, and the new tram lines were inaugurated that same year. Public opinion is split on the matter. Although many people agree that the tram has improved both the city's image as well as its public transportation system, others consider it a flawed idea that does little more than interfere with traffic and cause accidents due to improper traffic signals and street signs. Whatever the case may be, the tram does offer an alternative form of transport, especially if you are exploring the Forum area or the upper section of Avenida Diagonal. Bicycle The bicycle is an original, different, fun and ecologically conscious method of exploring the city. Barcelona might not be the biker's paradise that Amsterdam is, but the city is well equipped with several bike paths around the city centre as well as many other areas. Bicycles can be rented at places like Ciclobus (+34 93 853 832), Biciclot (+34 93 307 74 75) and several other similar establishments. By Car

As is the case in all large cities, taking the car out for a spin around the tourist attractions is not a good idea. The streets might strike you as wide and well indicated, particularly in areas like the Eixample, but traffic jams are the norm, especially when people commute to and from work (around 8 am and 7 pm). Then there are neighbourhoods like Grcia, which are nearly impossible to navigate by car (the small and narrow streets are a challenge for anyone unfamiliar with them). And then there is the subject of parking ... Its better to not even try finding a parking spot in the city centre. Snagging a place in a parking garage during certain hours of the day is an almost equally daunting task. However, when it comes to making trips around the city's surroundings the car is a definite plus. The city is encircled by two motorway belts called Rondas (the Ronda Litoral runs along the coast and the Ronda del Dalt cuts through the city's interior). The Rondas offer drivers and easy and quick way in and out of the city. The speed limit is set at 60 km/h, but the nature of the road seems to encourage people to drive faster. However, speeding violations are heavily fined and the road is dotted with radar monitoring systems; therefore, for both your safety and the health of your pocketbook, we recommend that you adhere to the indicated speed limit. If you want to head out of the city, you should know a few, basic things about the motorways. The main coastal motorway is the A7 (also known as the E15, its European designation). The A16 heads south towards Tarragona, and the A19 heads north towards Girona. The entire motorway system in Catalonia is made up of toll roads (known as "peaje"). They tend to be rather expensive so it is a good idea to get some information on your destination and how to get there before heading out. A cheaper alternative is to take the national highways; they can be more uncomfortable and less well maintained, but they are free. OTHER PECULIAR FORMS OF TRANSPORT Tramvia blau (Blue Tram) This little tram line circulates between Plaa Kennedy, on the Avenida Tibidabo, and the Plaa del Doctor Andreu, next to the Tibidabo funicular. It is the most unique way of getting

of transport; what it offers is simply the most amazing way to see the city from up above. The trip starts out from the BCNSkytours heliport, located near Moll de Europa, and lasts 10 minutes. The price tag is a tad steep, 70 Euros per person, but it is definitely a one of a kind experience. The flight begins over Port Vell (Old Port) and the Olympic Port and then heads over to the Forum grounds. The helicopter swoops around and flies further into the city, passing the Agbar Tower and Plaa Glries and heading up to the Sagrada Familia. Other spots that will surely delight you are the Eixample with its classic grid-like structure, Park Gell and the Camp Nou. Finally, the helicopter comes around and finishes the flight over the Anella Olmpica and its landmarks: Palau de Sant Jordi, the Olympic Stadium and the Calatrava Tower. USEFUL ADVICE Required Documentation The type of identity document you need to enter Barcelona and Spain depends on which country you are coming from. Spain is one of the fifteen countries that signed the Schengen Agreement, which means that a visa isn't required to enter the country. The other countries included under the Schengen Agreement are the countries of the European Union (except the United Kingdom, Ireland, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latonia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Czech Republic and Cyprus) and Norway and Iceland. Citizens of the European Union only need an official, national identity document to enter the country. Citizens of the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Israel and the USA may spend up to 90 days within the Schengen region as tourists without a visa. Travellers from all other countries planning to visit Spain should consult their local Spanish consulate or embassy to find out what documentation they will need for their trip. Currency The official, Spanish currency is the euro. Money can he changed at banks, savings banks and currency exchange bureaus. Banks are open Monday through Friday from 8:39am to 2pm and Saturday from 8:30am to 1pm. Banks are closed on Saturdays during the summer. The savings banks are also open on Thursday afternoons except during the summer. Currency exchange bureaus are located throughout the main, tourist areas of the city as well as at the most important bus and train stations like Sants Station and Barcelona Nord Station.

Climate Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate, marked by a lot of sunshine. Temperatures tend to be mild throughout the year. Winters are not excessively cold. Although the summers are hot, the barometer rarely registers extreme temperatures. The region experiences occasional rainfall, usually during the spring and autumn months. However, it isn't unusual for isolated rainstorms to take place during other seasons as well. Barcelona is a famous beach destination in the summer. Although Lleida and Girona are more famous for their winter skiing, Barcelona also has several attractive ski resorts. Working Hours The working day in most offices, banks, companies and other official institutions usually begins between 8am and 9am. Lunch is usually around 2pm, and many places close at midday. They open again around 4pm and close between 6pm and 7pm. Catalans have the reputation for being hard workers and money conscious. Some meaner spirits prefer to call their money conscious attitude stinginess but this isn't true. Barcelona citizens spend and consume as much if not more than their other Spanish counterparts. Shops and other commercial venues have much longer, working hours. Stores open around 10am and close for lunch around 2pm. They open for the afternoon around 4pm and don't close until 8:30pm. The shops in the city centre usually stay open during lunch, and shopping centres stay open until 10pm. Timetables are also adjusted during sales and special shopping seasons (such as Christmas). During these periods, shops are often open Monday through Sunday including holidays. Language When you come to Barcelona or anywhere else in Catalonia, you will notice that street signs, street names and other information are posted in Catalan. You will hear the language spoken on the street, in restaurants and more than once people will probably address you in Catalan. Not just newspapers, magazines and books are available in Catalan, but also plays, musicals and films are performed and screened in this language. Therefore, you might be interested in knowing a little more about this language, its history and why it is spoken in this part of the country. Catalan is a romance language derived from Latin and the original and proper language of Catalonia. During the 8th and 10th centuries, Catalan, along with other languages such as French and Castilian that share the same ori-

to the amusement park situated on top of the mountain. It only runs when the park is open and at the weekend. A bus covers the route on other days but it goes without saying that it possesses a lot less charm. A one-way ticket costs 2 and a round-trip ticket 2.90 . Montjuic Funicular The funicular connects Parallel with the Montjuic cable car station in less than 2 minutes. The funicular leaves from the Parallel underground station (L2 and L3) and is amongst the most peculiar forms of transport you almost feel like you are floating in thin air. The T-10 pass for the underground and bus system is also valid for the funicular. Transbordador areo (cable car) This odd little ride starts at the Montjuic Mountain (specifically at the Costa i Llobera gardens), stops halfway through the trajectory at the Jaume I Tower located next to the World Trade Centre and ends its journey at the Sant Sebasti Tower. The ride inside this cable car allows passengers to admire some of the best panoramic views onto the city. A one-way, adult ticket costs 7.50 . Round-trip ticket is 9 . Golondrinas These typical, traditional boats can take you from the Columbus Monument at the port to the l'Escullera area. The trip takes about 35 minutes and is mainly designed for tourists or locals who are looking for a different way to spend their day. Most locals have been on one of the Golondrinas at least once in their lifetime. Nowadays, catamarans also cover the same route and although they are covered and more comfortable, they cannot hold a candle to the Golondrinas' charm. Helicopters It is now possible to fly across Barcelona in a helicopter. Obviously this isn't a common form

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gins, was already a clearly defined language that distinguished itself from Latin. Barcelona was a strong influence in the language's preservation and formalisation. Generations of Barcelona counts ruled the region for long periods of time and cultivated the language's development. Many judicial, economic, religious and historical texts written in the language over the centuries have been preserved. When Catalonia was defeated in the 1714 War of Succession, the Catalan language suffered through long periods of prohibition and repression. It wasn't until after the Franco Dictatorship that the language once again enjoyed freedom of expression, aided by the statutes of autonomy granted not only to Catalonia but also the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community. Nowadays Catalan, along with Castilian, is the official language of Catalonia. The language is also spoken in the Valencian Community (although there it is known as "Valenciano"), in the Balearic Islands, the French province of the eastern Pyrenees (a region that once formed part of Catalonia) and even in some places in Sardinia (Italy). The Barcelona Card Like many other European cities, Barcelona also offers a special card that provides visitors with significant discounts. Cards can be acquired for a period of 1 to 5 days (the price varies accordingly: 17 for a one-day card and 30 for a five-day card). The card provides you with free use of public transport within the city as well as discounts and free entry to some of the city's museums. Please call the following number for more information about this service: +34 932 853 832. WHERE TO STAY IN BARCELONA Barcelona embraces diversity. It is the kind of city where you can find a great place to stay whether you are travelling deluxe-style or on a shoe-string. Accommodations come in all shapes and sizes, fitting just about any budget, preference and situation. In general, the area of a city says much about the type of accommodation located within its perimeter. Upscale hotels tend to be located in the Eixample as well as in the Born and the Raval now that the latter two have transformed into two of the classiest neighbourhoods in the city. However, these same neighbourhoods have traditionally housed the city's guesthouses and hostels, some of which come with all necessary mod-cons and others which only offer the bare minimum. The reason for your trip will also largely determine the type of accommodation that is most suited to your needs. If you are in Barcelona on business, there are several areas designed precisely to satisfy of needs of a business traveller. TakeoffGuides 2005

Due to their excellent proximity to the city's financial centres, Passeig de Grcia, Plaa Catalunya, the upper section of Avenida Diagonal and Plaa Urquinaona are the best choices for anyone on a business trip. The last year has also witnessed the opening of many new hotels, usually belonging to large, international chains and designed to accommodate congresses and conventions, in the area surrounding the Forum grounds. These hotels might not be centrally located, but they are well connected via public transport and have facilities that are equipped to meet all the needs of a company event. The aforementioned hotels are perfectly appropriate for business trips, but Barcelona offers a far wider array of accommodations. For example, couples might opt for more intimate, charming hotels or small apartments that allow for more privacy. The latter option is also well suited to the needs of friends travelling in a group or families. Apartments have more space and provide the option of cooking at home - something that also saves you a lot of money if you are planning a lengthy stay in the city. You can find a complete and detailed listing of apartments and hotels, classified by area and category, at www.bcninternet.com. Another important thing to consider when booking an accommodation is how it ranks in Barcelona's classification system. Specific names and categories apply to the different types of establishments; the following descriptions range from the most basic to the most upscale type of accommodation. Albergues

accommodation and breakfast. It's difficult to make a general assessment about this type of establishment. Some show a glaring lack of facilities and conveniences whereas others offer good, clean, simple lodging for very low prices. Hostels in Barcelona don't really fit the description applied to this type of accommodation in other European cities. Here a hostel is far closer to a hotel and is also categorised according to stars. Usually, the quality of rooms in a two-star hostel will pleasantly surprise most visitors. In Barcelona, the term hostel is used to describe a cosy and intimate setting, and prices can be on par with those of a hotel because, more often that not, the mod cons are almost identical in both. Of course, there is still a clear distinction between hostels and hotels - and the latter are equally well represented in Barcelona. In fact, the list of great hotels is so long that it would be impossible to include all of them here. Therefore, the short list that follows is designed to reflect hotels that currently stand out from the rest, be it because of historical importance, noteworthy design, reasonable prices or a cutting-edge reputation. Two of the city's trendiest hotels at the moment are the Hotel Omm and the Hotel Casa Camper. The Hotel Omm is at the forefront of hip hotels and has 5 stars to boot. Located in the city centre, the hotel has 58 rooms, one suite and incredible views onto La Pedrera. The facade is an immediate reminder that you are not in the presence of a conventional hotel. The entire hotel has a hip designer look and feel, something marked by details such as the aluminium wall that separates the room from the bath and has a TV, safe, CD-player and mini-bar built into it. The hotel restaurant, Moo, does an interesting, very modern take on Catalan cuisine. Moo's secret ingredient is the Roca brothers, a name that has gained an illustrious reputation in Catalonia's gastronomic circles. Some find the cuisine a tad too innovative, perhaps, whereas others consider it one of the best and most original restaurants they have ever dined at. One thing is certain: at Moo the show and the service almost steal the limelight away from the food. Opinions on the food may vary, but no one will disagree with the fact that this is the hippest restaurant in town right now. It is the place to be if you want to mingle with the 'in' crowd, and it isn't unusual to spot a minor celebrity or two who come here to make an appearance. If you want a glimpse of all that is currently cutting-edge and absolutely cool in this city, make sure to drop in at Moo for a meal. The Hotel Omm also has a very exclusive night club with one of the strictest admission policies in Barcelona. Who gets in and who doesn't is heavily scrutinised, but once inside you get to see live acts performing from 11pm until dawn. The pool has a bar alongside it and is a luxu-

(youth hostels) are a good option for young travellers, people on a tight budget or people who don't mind sharing a room with strangers. The majority of these establishments are located in the Gothic Quarter and only offer very basic conveniences (a bed, a roof over your head and a shared bath). Their greatest advantage is their low prices, but you have to be willing to sacrifice privacy in exchange for paying very little. A pensin (guesthouse) is a place that rents out rooms equipped with the most basic necessities. Rooms are usually furnished with double or single beds, some rooms have their own bath whereas other guesthouses require guests to share bathroom facilities. In general, these establishments only provide accommodation or

rious spot to relax and enjoy a lovely view onto Passeig de Grcia, especially beautiful at night when it is illuminated by its famous, modernist streetlamps. It goes without saying that the hotel has a private parking garage for guests so that all the luxury cars have an accommodation as safe and comfortable as their owners. If the topic is hip hotels, then the Hotel Casa Camper cannot go without mention. The brand originally specialised in shoes aimed, specifically, at a young and thirty-something clientele that places a high premium on originality. Now Camper has inaugurated its very own hotel, a four-star establishment located inside a 19th century building in the Raval. The hotel has 25 rooms and was created in collaboration with Fernando Amat. Amat is the brains behind the Vinon store - a Mecca for anyone who worships the art of design. The Casa Camper is different, original, practical and simple without being plain. It is the perfect place for anyone who values natural surroundings and social commitment. Camper lacks pretence and places great importance on rehabilitating old buildings rather than building new ones. Its minimalist design somehow manages to be modern without falling into any of the trendy traps in terms of decor. Still staying in luxury mode but shifting gears, we get to the only 5-star, deluxe Grand Hotel in all of Spain - the Casa Fuster. Located at the end of Passeig de Grcia, just where it merges with the Gran de Grcia street, the hotel takes up a building designed by the architect Llus Domnech i Montaner, who was also responsible for several other important, local, architectural wonders, such as the Palau de la Msica Catalana. The hotel restaurant, Galax, has received accolades for the outstanding quality of its cuisine. And then there is the caf; one of the loveliest and historically most valuable in all of Barcelona. Once upon a time it was the Saln Viens, a famous gathering spot in the early 20th century. The roof-top terrace has a swimming pool and a view onto the Passeig de Grcia that stands in a league of its own. On a clear day you can even see the glittering blue of the Mediterranean beyond the buildings. And at night the show up here is absolutely priceless. TakeoffGuides 2005

However, many people prefer moderation to lavish luxury. Often, the best deals lie somewhere between deluxe hotels and low-end guesthouses. If this is more your style, then check into the Gat Raval, immersed in the city's historical centre, right next door to the MACBA museum on Joaqun Costa Street. This hotel belongs to a class known as "charter hotels" - a no frills accommodation with all mod-cons and a designer touch. The 24 rooms are all pristine, functional and very cool - as demanded by its location in the Raval and the type of clientele the neighbourhood attracts. The most you will ever pay is 67 a night, which is the price of a double room with bath during the high season. And you get more for your money than just a room - the price also includes internet service, free tea and coffee, TV in your room and a lovely view onto the MACBA. The Gat Raval offers guests affordable luxury, well below the 300 a night charged at the previously mentioned hotels. It goes without saying that the ambiance in each of these hotels is radically different, each one has carved out a niche for itself that sets it apart from other accommodations. However, it is precisely this diversity that makes Barcelona a truly great city - it has something for everyone. WHERE TO EAT IN BARCELONA Barcelona is well known for having a strong, multicultural character, something that is reflected in the city's many restaurants. This vast culinary diversity gives you a wonderful and delicious insight into the city's identity. A few decades ago, the art of dining didn't have quite the same cultural significance in Barcelona, or in the rest of Spain, as it does today. This is one area in which Barcelona has experienced a 180 degree shift and nowadays heading out for a meal is one of the best ways of getting acquainted with the rhythms and customs of city life. Barcelona is a gourmet's paradise. Although the city has followed the pattern of most large cities and included fast food and takeaway meals on the menu, it still maintains and celebrates the local custom of leisurely sit-down meals. A new generation of chefs has contributed much to keeping this tradition alive as well as raising Catalan cuisine to new heights, both

in terms of innovation and popularity. One only needs to mention the likes of Ferran Adri culinary maestro at the El Bulli restaurant (headquartered in Roses, Girona but with a workshop in Barcelona) - who is considered to be one of the best chefs worldwide. When deciding on where to eat, two important factors need to be considered - the type of restaurant and price range. Most meals in Barcelona fall into the 20 range, but the majority of neighbourhoods also have an abundant selection of both more expensive and cheaper restaurants. Another good option to keep in mind is the lunch menu - offered by most restaurants from Monday through Friday - with prices ranging from 6 to 15 . This type of meal usually includes a starter, main dish and dessert, as well as a drink, bread and coffee. However, this varies depending on the restaurant so make sure to ask your waiter or read the menu's fine print before ordering. Generally, lunch is served between 1pm and 3pm and dinner between 9pm and 11pm. It is customary to drink wine with meals. Catalonia, much like the rest of Spain, is famous for its wines, a local speciality that visitors should not miss out on. Prices vary according to the wine's point of origin and year. For example, most lunchtime menus already include the wine in the meal's set price whereas upscale restaurants offer a choice of wines that are often more expensive than the meal itself. Very exclusive restaurants have 90 to 100 wines on their lists, a lovely treat for a very special occasion. Many visitors come to Barcelona looking to dive into their first "tapa" experience only to be sorely disappointed. This is a traditional and popular custom in much of Spain but not in Catalonia. However, several restaurants specialising in "tapas", many of which bear Basque names, have sprung up around the city and contributed to the rebirth of this culinary delight. Tapas also fall into two categories - the typical Spanish tapa (usually involving cheese, ham and omelette) and those served at hip, designer restaurants. The latter usually serve tiny, culinary creations rather than mere tapas. The city has also become a haven for international cuisine. In addition to stalwarts such as Italian, Greek, Japanese and French fare, immigration has given rise to several new Chinese, Indian,

Pakistani, Egyptian etc. restaurants that open up a whole new world of flavours. Meals tend to be long, drawn-out affairs, especially in the evenings. Dessert is traditionally followed by coffee - typically a shot of espresso or a "cortado" (coffee with a little dash of milk). Others prefer to close the dining experience with an herbal tea. Unlike many other European cities, Barcelona is smoker friendly and most restaurants, with the exception of a few vegetarian places or places with signs indicating the contrary, permit smoking. As far as tipping is concerned, it is greatly appreciated since the final price doesn't include a gratuity. The amount of the tip is entirely up to you and how you feel about the quality of the food and the service received. Having answered these simple questions, the next decision centres on what you're looking for in a meal: a mere hunger quencher or a truly delicious dining experience. This, of course, depends on individual preference and budget, but regardless of the situation, it is always good to leave the house with a few useful tips in hand.

Pakistani restaurant to open in Barcelona and still ranks amongst the best. Finding it is easy simply follow the irresistible smell of curry that wafts out of the restaurant and fills the street. The restaurant eschews the regional flavour that characterises many restaurants of its kind and instead opts to serve specialities from every corner of the country such as nan (Pakistani flatbread straight from the oven), tandoori chicken, samosas and other typical, filled pastries. The restaurant is also one of the few places to enjoy a refreshing Cobra Beer, an Indian classic that is hard to come by. The restaurant's reasonable prices suit every kind of budget and range from approximately 6 to 10 . Other international restaurants in the area include Govinda (Plaa Vila de Madrid, 4-5), one of the most celebrated Indian restaurants in Barcelona (clients should note that they don't serve any alcohol); the Jinnah Continental (Ample, 46), serving both Indian and Pakistani specialities; the Oolong (Gigns, 25), an interesting fusion between Asian and American cuisine; Shunka (Sagristans, 5), a very good Japanese restaurant, which serves more than

named "Volcn de Chocolate" (chocolate volcano). If you are seeking something modern and hip, check out the Living (Capellans, 9), a restaurant that could just as easily be in New York and serves food at any hour of the day, Juicy Jones (Cardenal Casaas, 7), a vegan restaurant with a great variety of international dishes and a very funky atmosphere or Pla (Bellafila, 11), an exponent of very creative and international cooking that is also an ideal spot for a romantic meal. Less adventurous souls can always rely on a classic pizzeria of which there are many in Barcelona. La Vernica (Aviny, 30) is still one of the city's most innovative pizzerias, despite having been in business for many years. And if you are in a hurry and just want to pop in somewhere for a quick bite, there is no better place than the The Bagel Shop. Here you can find more than 45 different kinds of bagels served in myriad styles, both sweet and savoury. Barceloneta and Vila Olmpica It comes as no surprise that the city's best seafood restaurants are located next to the sea. La Barceloneta is the premiere destination if you are looking for classic rice, fish and seafood dishes. The traditional local bars might not be impressive to the eye but when it comes down to dining you cannot find a better, more authentic place. Seafood and fish tends to be pricey so expect to spend at least 25 at most restaurants. Can Ros, located on Almirall Aixada 7, is almost 100 years old. The same owners also run La Mar Salada, on Passeig Joan de Borb 58, which serves the same style cuisine but is far more modern in terms of decor and ambiance. Cal Pinxo, on the Plaa Pau Vila 1, next to the Palau de Mar, started out as a beach bar, humble beginnings that are difficult to fathom considering the restaurant's prestigious reputation today. Another very typical restaurant is Set Portes (Passeig Isabel II 14). Founded in 1836, the Set Portes still preserves most of its original furniture. It is one of the few restaurants not chasing the latest trends, opting instead for a classic elegance marked by tradition. Paella is the restaurant's house speciality. If the menu's wide array of choices confuses you, here are a few, good tips on what to order: fried squid, lobster, gilthead bream, monkfish and any of the many rice dishes. The rice dishes can be prepared in several, different ways for example, with cod, rabbit and sausages, vegetables or black rice, which owes its peculiar colour to the ink of the squid that is its main ingredient. The Olympic Port is also home to many seafood restaurants. These restaurants tend to be much more modern, and they compensate what they lack in terms of historical charm with prime, seafront locations. One of the most wellknown restaurants in the port is Agua, located on Passeig Martim de la Barceloneta, 30. The designer decor and pleasant atmosphere have made this a popular spot for all kinds of reu-

Gothic quarter and surrounding areas If you are looking for a place to have lunch or dinner but aren't sure of exactly what kind of restaurant you fancy then the Gothic Quarter is probably your best destination. This is the heart of the city, which has an endless selection of restaurants to choose from including vegetarian fare, fast food joints, some of the city's oldest and most classic establishments and many trendy, eclectic new spots. If you want to try some truly, authentic, Catalan food then stop in at Can Culleretes (Quintana, 5), one of the city's oldest and most venerable places for local cuisine. Here you can sample dishes such as classic cannelloni Barcelona-style, the unmistakable and not-to-be-missed "Escudilla Catalana" as well as lighter fare such as ovenbaked gilthead bream or wild boar "civet". Can Culleretes, inaugurated in 1786, boasts a decor made up of early 20th century art and is a definite top choice for both intimate dinners as well as group gatherings. If you are in the mood for something slightly more international, check out El Gallo Kiriko on Aviny, 9. It was probably the very first TakeoffGuides 2005

the ubiquitous sushi and prepares excellent sashimi (finely sliced raw fish), udon (a typical noodle dish) and miso soup with dried tuna and seaweed. If you happen to wander across the Plaa Reial and see a lengthy cue outside a restaurant, you can safely assume that you have found Les Quinze Nits. This is one of the city's absolute classics, a place where you can enjoy perfectly prepared dishes (with names as delicious as they are long) without spending your life savings. The only downside is the fact that they don't take reservations so make sure you come armed with plenty of patience. If your patience ends up running out, you can always pop into the neighbouring Sidecar Restaurant instead. The restaurant serves food until about 1am then the tables disappear and Sidecar transforms into a popular cocktail bar. The basement doubles as a dance club, which doesn't, however, disturb the relaxed atmosphere upstairs. The menu includes dishes from many different regions in the world, including interpretations of Asian, American and African delicacies. And if you have room for dessert, you should definitely indulge in the house speciality, the aptly

nions such as romantic, group or business dinners and lunches. Eixample This area is home to a great variety of restaurants but more often than not price exceeds quality in these parts. Amongst the prestigious and first-class restaurants you can potentially encounter a few where the quality doesn't measure up to the prices. You can also find just about any kind of fast food here, from the typical chains such as Burger King, McDonalds and KFC to more home-grown versions such as Pans & Company and Bocatta (sandwiches), Pastafiore (pizzas) or FresCo and Lactuca (allyou-can-eat vegetarian and salad bars). If all you are looking for is a quick bite on the go, then the aforementioned restaurants will suffice. However, if you would like to enjoy a good, sit-down meal, be it for business or pleasure, then the following options will definitely tickle your palate. Il Comendattore (Comte d'Urgell, 247) stands out amongst the city's Italian restaurants, both for the food as well as the decor, which emulates a classic Italian look. Another international option is Dionisos (Comte d'Urgell, 90), one of the most famous Greek restaurants in Barcelona. There is no shortage of traditional restaurants either such as, for example, the Mesn Cinco Jotas at Rambla de Catalunya, 91. As the name implies, the speciality here is "jamn serrano" (cured ham), and the owners claim that theirs surpasses all others in terms of quality. This is difficult to prove without having tasted the competition, but one thing is certain - their Catalan-style bruchettas (toasted bread) with tomato and ham are absolutely delicious. Their prices are somewhat more expensive compared to other establishments of its kind, but the exceptional quality more than makes up for it. The Eixample is also a night-life favourite amongst the local gay population and offers a wide selection of bars, clubs and restaurants. The Miranda ranks amongst the most original in this genre, a restaurant with live performances that later on transforms into a cocktail bar. Located on Casanova 30, the Miranda's decor is straight out of a Pedro Almodvar film, and dinner is accompanied by spectacular drag queen shows. The Born and the Raval As these are the city's hippest neighbourhoods, it makes perfect sense that they are also home to the trendiest and most chic restaurants. However, a designer look and trendy feel aren't the only things these neighbourhoods have to offer. There are still classics to be found, such as historically relevant restaurants like Los Toreros (Xucl, 3-5), decorated with old photographs depicting the art of bullfighting, or the Fonda Espanya (Sant Pau, 9-11), the dining room at the hotel of the same name, designed by the architect Llus Domnech i Montaner. If you want ambiance rather than history, make your way over to El Trillo (ngels, 3), located TakeoffGuides 2005 right around the corner from MACBA. This is a lively spot, perfect for groups, at which you can sample a variety of salads and appetisers along with some excellent wine at very reasonable prices. If you are looking for a designer touch, it can be found at Lupino (Carme, 33), a favourite amongst thirty-something intellectuals who don't mind paying a little more for a meal if it means a quiet, relaxing and sophisticated atmosphere. Salsitas is another classic spot - and one of the first to put the idea of having a space serve both as restaurant and club into practice. Another almost obligatory stop is the Casa Leopoldo, located on Sant Rafael, 24. The dishes alone are worth the visit - generous portions of first-class fish and seafood. But this restaurant offers more than simply great food most locals consider it one of the city's landmarks. The restaurant was immortalised by Manuel Vzquez Montalbn in his detective novels, where it often served as a hang-out for the main character, Pepe Carvalho. The Born is probably the neighbourhood to have witnessed the greatest degree of change in terms of leisure and entertainment. Nowadays, no one can claim to be hip unless they can mention at least three restaurants and three stores located in the Born. The selection is so vast that this might seem like an easy task. However, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the quantity of options. Therefore, it helps to head out with a few recommendations. If you want a quick bite and a chance to see a lot of pretty faces, pop into Sndwich &

Friends, at Passeig del Born 27 (the enormous mural on the wall is a piece by Jordi Labanda). If your inclinations are bohemian and intellectual, then El Foro, at Princesa 53, and its interesting blend of Italo-Argentinian cuisine might make a good choice. And if Cuban food tickles your fancy, make your way through the maze of little streets to Habana Vieja, located at Banys Vells 2. Finally, for a foray into a modern reinterpretation of Catalan cuisine with an exotic twist, book a table at L'Oucomballa, located at number 20 on the same street. Grcia Egyptian, Cuban, Pakistani and Moroccan are some of the predominant flavours here. Options include both carefully prepared meals and quick sandwiches at the bar. Restaurants range in style from refined establishments to taverns ideal for groups and parties. Grcia is the kind of neighbourhood that every great city needs - a place where you can find a restaurant for just about any occasion. The area's main streets are Torrijos and Verdi, both perennially lively and vibrant. Starting out from one of the two, it is easy to find whatever restaurant you are looking for. The Caf Salamb on Carrer Torrijos is one of the area's classic spots. Located next to the Verdi cinema, the restaurant serves an elaborate, first-class cuisine. Chido One, located at number 30 on the same street, is one of the best and most popular Mexican restaurants. La Torreta de Grcia, at Verdi 179, is located in a house with a garden, a rare treat in the area, and serves a selection of grilled meats and vegetables accompanied with "pan amb tomaquet" - the traditional Catalan white bread covered with tomato and olive oil. Verdi offers another wide array of options: La Fronda, at Verdi 15, is very popular with young people. Mesopotamia, at number 65, is probably the best place in Barcelona for Iraqi cuisine. And D.O., at number 36, is a perfect little nook at which to sample creative tapas and good wine at prices that fit everybody's budget. Verdi might have the most restaurants per square metre in all of Barcelona, but the options in Grcia don't end there. Stop in at Botafumeiro (Gran de Grcia 81), one of the city's best seafood restaurants, which also has private dining rooms that are perfect for business lunches and special events. And special should definitely define the occasion since prices here always add up to about 60 per person. If you are keen on trying food from other Spanish regions and want to make sure to get the highest quality, the different Regional Houses are definitely the best option. The Andalusian house on Va Laietana doubtlessly serves the best fried fish; La Rioja's house on Pintor Fortuny prepares excellent, northernstyle casseroles; rice dishes are best tried at the Valencia house on Carrer Crcega and for a good, hearty meal head over to the Galician centre, right on the Rambla, which specialises in seafood and stuffed pastries.

BARCELONA AT NIGHT Barcelona is well-known for having a very varied and vibrant nightlife. There is something to satisfy every preference amidst the seemingly endless options. Traditionally, people used to head out for a night on the town Thursday through Saturday. However, times are changing and many of the bars and clubs are now open every night of the week - and usually catering to an enthusiastic clientele. The city has made an active effort to provide public transport to late night revellers, both as a public service and to reduce the dangers of drunk driving. All public transport runs until midnight, Sunday through Thursday, and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. The first, regular schedule trains and buses start at 5am, Monday through Friday, and at 6am on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Night buses fill the empty hours and cover many of the major routes throughout the city. Therefore, getting home doesn't depend on transport options but rather on how long you can stay awake and keep up with the party. Before plunging into the night, take a minute to decide what kind of ambiance you are in the mood for. Barcelona's nightlife is extremely diverse, and many areas place particular emphasis on one kind of nocturnal fun. The Eixample, for example, is home to a great many bars and dance clubs frequented by the local gay and lesbian community (please see the chapter dedicated to this subject). The scene is very open-minded and tolerant; therefore, if you are looking for a fun, outrageous time, free of prejudice and judgement, keep a night open for the Eixample regardless of your sexual orientation. Maremagnum in the Port Vell might be a shopping centre by day, but at night it transforms into something a little spicier. The countless cocktail bars contain more than a few hotbeds of salsa music, where the dancers move with such expertise that they might be mistaken for professionals. If this strikes you as somewhat intimidating or you prefer to move to a different beat, head further down the seafront to the Olympic Port. After a meal at one of the restaurants looking out onto the rows of docked yachts, pop into any of the bars lining the marina.

Here you can enjoy a few drinks and dance until dawn to just about any kind of music, be it Spanish pop, house, techno, disco or salsa. The only thing that matters here is getting out onto the dance floor. Grcia is definitely one of the most unique areas - and one of the most diverse when it comes to the topic of nightlife. Some people prefer to pass their nights traditionally, sitting in one of the many squares, on a terrace, enjoying good drinks and conversation. Others look for a livelier, louder way to spend the night and head to one of the nightclubs, such as El Sol, located, appropriately enough, on Plaa del Sol. Much of this nocturnal fun seems more like a curse to people living in the area, and Grcia has seen many neighbourhood protests against the levels of night time noise. However, if people out and about show the residents some respect there is no reason why one person's nocturnal fun should interfere with another's comfort and well-being. Therefore, coming to an agreement between both parties shouldn't be too difficult to achieve. The Born and the Raval are home to a variety of venues, most of them of a rather hip and cutting-edge variety. The Gothic Quarter is still one of the most popular destinations for tourists and locals alike. In addition to your run-of-themill bars, you can dance the night away at places like El Salsitas, on Nou de la Rambla, or listen to jazz at Jamboree, on Plaa Reial. One note of caution: the area's popularity amongst tourists has made it equally popular with pickpockets and bag-snatchers. Therefore, it is a good idea to tuck your wallet in a safe place and keep an eye on your belongings to avoid any nasty surprises. Other than that, the area serves up the most authentic nightlife in Barcelona, and the opportunity to really dive into the multicultural character that has come to define the city. Barcelona's "posh" stalwart is still the area surrounding the Tibidabo Mountain, where places such as Mirablau, a classic discotheque with an outdoor terrace, and Danzatoria, an absolute must for those with a predilection for all that is chic, reign the night. Another fancy stretch lies between the streets Mari Cub and Diagonal. The bars and clubs along here tend to attract a thirty-something crowd - usually groups of friends or couples who choose their hang-outs according to the designer brands worn by the clientele or people who simply want to flirt with the beautiful people, of which there are plenty to be found here. A while back the Poble Espanyol at the foot of the Montjuic Mountain also won several popularity contests and now attracts a loyal following. Dance clubs the likes of Torres de Avila and La Terrazza / Discotheque (depending on the season) have become temples of electronic music, specifically house, trance and techno - sounds that might seem bizarre to some but are the holy grail of dance music to their fans.

If you aren't the kind to seek out the hippest, most fashionable spots and prefer those that have proven themselves over time, make sure to check out the Razzmatazz (Almogvers, 122) or Bikini (Du i Mata, 105). Razzmatazz, located close to the Poble Nou, is one of the city's leading concert venues. The bar next door, Ceferino, might already be past its prime, but it is still a point of reference for Spanish music in the city. What is more interesting about the Ceferino, however, is the fact that it was the first ever bar to open in the area when it was nothing more than half-forgotten factories. Others followed suit, and the area soon gained momentum. Nowadays, the Poble Nou is extremely popular amongst twenty-somethings. The Bikini isn't particularly noteworthy in terms of ambiance, but it has years of tradition under its belt. Many of the most important and relevant concerts are held here during the week and from Thursday through Sunday it is also a cocktail bar and dance club. The Nitsa Club and Apolo, on Carrer Nou de la Rambla, occupy a historic space that recalls the dance halls of long-gone days but groove to the sounds of house, trance and techno. And if you want to be seen at one of the trendiest discotheques, make your way uptown to Otto Zutz and check in on what the hottest DJs on the international scene are spinning on their decks. A musical genre that is gaining ground in Barcelona is jazz. Several clubs now offer live jazz as part of their regular programming and are open every night of the week. Jamboree is definitely the leading jazz venue in the city, and Monday nights have been dedicated to a jam session for years. It is rather unusual to find such an exciting, live music programme on a Monday night - especially for the very inviting price of 3 . Going out at night, of course, doesn't necessarily have to involve music. Movie buffs and theatre lovers are also well taken care of and can choose from a diverse range of programming that usually changes almost every week. In terms of theatre, you can select from many different performances, presented in Catalan, Castilian (Spanish) and even English, and covering genres as varied as musicals, zarzuelas, comedies, classical theatre and much, much more. The best thing to do is pick up a theatre listing, which can be found in most of the city's major newspapers, and choose whate-

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ver production strikes your fancy. Cinema in Barcelona falls into a similar category. Foreign films tend to reach Barcelona screens a little later than in their home country, but many of the big blockbusters open around the same time as elsewhere around Europe and the United States. You can also take advantage of being in Spain and delving into the world of local cinema. Spanish cinema has gained quite a growing reputation in recent years thanks to the work of iconic director Pedro Almodvar and the recent Academy-Award winner Alejandro Amenbar, director of the acclaimed film "Mar Adentro". If Spanish isn't your forte, don't worry. The city has plenty of cinemas that screen films in original version with subtitles in Spanish; check listings at cinemas like the Verdi, located in the middle of the Grcia neighbourhood, or the Icria Multiplex in the Olympic Port. The "Gaixample" The Barcelona nightlife options are so varied that no one will be heading home disappointed. The city has plenty of mainstream venues, alternative spots, bars aimed to please the very young, dancehalls for those who already have decades of nocturnal fun under their belt and a gay district that has become an important and frequently emulated point of reference throughout Spain. The Eixample has always been home to many historic gay clubs but recent years have witnessed an explosion in the number of establishments- so much so, in fact, that the area is now referred to as "Gaixample". There is even a hotel, the recently-inaugurated Axel, which caters specifically to a gay clientele. The number of options is so great that choosing a good spot for a night out in the "Gaixample" can turn into quite a challenge. Therefore, here is a list of five classic venues that shouldn't be missed. Arena Vip. The Arena Disco group operates six venues throughout the city of which the Arena Vip is the most emblematic. The club takes up a large space, divided into two rooms, one spinning house and techno, the other hosting the beats of Rafaela Carr and Camilo Sesto. This spot is guaranteed to deliver a great, fun night out - not only for the gay clientele but for a straight crowd too. Arena Vip is quite simply the most fun and outrageous night club to be found in Barcelona. Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 593 Underground: Universitat (L1 and L2), Passeig de Grcia (L1 and L3) Prices: 7-8 with a free drink. Free passes to Arena Vip can be found at bars in the surroun-

Underground: Universitat (L1 and L2) Medusa. This is a very calm and quiet spot, ideal for an afternoon coffee or refreshment, from Monday through Thursday. The weekend gives the place a whole new vibe, everyone lets loose, the music takes hold and all prejudice is shaken off. The furnishings include sofas and beds, but the venue puts a high premium on discretion. This is gratefully embraced by a number of famous or somewhat famous personalities who come to the Medusa to enjoy a good night out. Casanova, 75 Undergound: Urgell (L1) ding area. Dietrich. Marlene Dietrich, one of the great, mythical gay icons, is this venue's namesake. Complete with resident drag queens, the place is lathered in photographs of the screen goddess and marked by an ambiance that recalls an old-fashioned dancehall. This is a wonderful place for cocktails, which promises to serve up one of the greatest nights out to be found in the gay scene. The venue also hosts special nights, such as "Hot Wednesdays", which give anyone who can't wait for Friday the perfect excuse to head out at night. Consell de Cent, 255 Underground: Universitat (L1 and L2) tame. A popular hang-out, great for enjoying a cocktail and house beats in the evenings or a coffee and some of the Spanish pop-hits in the afternoons. The dance floor isn't really the main attraction since the space is quite small - but that doesn't stop anyone from having a good time. People who love to dance can do so to their heart's desire, and people of a more sedentary persuasion can observe the entire club scene from the bar. The weekends usually draw the biggest crowds, but Tuesdays are also a good night to pop in since you can get two cocktails for the price of one from 6pm until 10pm. Consell de Cent, 257 Underground: Universitat (L1 and L2) Aire BCN. Sala Diana. This is a favourite amongst lesbians, a place that grooves to the sounds of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Thanks to its enormous popularity, the Sala Diana is now considered one of the best gay clubs in Europe. The decor and lay-out make it one of the city's best dance clubs overall. However, whereas this might be a cult favourite for some, others might feel a tad uncomfortable here. Valncia, 236 SHOPPING IN BARCELONA When it comes to shopping, Barcelona offers an almost infinite variety of options. Designer boutiques, traditional stores and souvenir shops all abound, creating a blend of different styles and attracting a diverse array of customers. Prices vary according to where you shop and what you wish to purchase. As is always the case, its best to take your time and compare prices. Barcelona has a lot of wonderful shops with excellent prices and interesting wares. There is also no shortage of designer and brand name stores, but it would be wrong to assume that prices are cheaper here compared to other large cities. When locals want to do a little shopping at the city's most famous stores, they usually head to the city centre. However, the city's growth has also expanded the shopping sector so that you can now buy just about anything in most city neighbourhoods. Nevertheless, the greatest selection of shops is still to be found in the main commercial district, where you can also find a number of streets named after the type of product sold there. Let's take a look at some of the most important areas... Plaa Catalunya is the perfect place from which to start a shopping spree. The Corte Ingls, one of Spain's classic department stores, sells clothes, music, perfumes and even has a supermarket on the bottom floor. FNAC, also located on the square, is the largest vendor of music, books and concert tickets in Barcelona. The mega-store is located inside the Triangle, a collection of stores inside a triangular building with entrances on Carrer Pelai and Plaa Catalunya. There is another FNAC located on the bottom floor of the L'Illa Diagonal, a very popular shopping centre. Another big attraction at the Triangle is Sephora, an immense, two-story shop that sells every imaginable perfume as well as a great variety of other cosmetic products.

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Heading towards the Gothic Quarter, you will run into the Portal de l'ngel and Portaferrissa. These are two of the city's busiest shopping streets, lined with all kinds of shops, the majority of which specialise in clothing and accessories. The narrow, winding streets leading to the cathedral are home to a more alternative variety of stores, such as silversmiths, vintage clothing shops, art galleries and antique shops. The Gothic Quarter and the Born have seen an enormous boom in their shopping sector over the course of the last few years. This period marked the closure of many old, traditional stores, which were quickly replaced by designer shops that saw these classic, historical surroundings as an excellent contrast to their modern styles. The area that was once known purely for its history has transformed into one of the hippest and classiest neighbourhoods, home to brands such as Custo Barcelona, La Comercial, Gimnez Zuazo, Carhartt, Pura Vida, Outside, etc. Bear in mind that these shops are quite pricey, but they are worth a peek even if you don't intend to shop. A stroll through their aisles is a great way of getting acquainted with the latest fashion trends emerging in Barcelona. The Rambla has largely ceded to the invasion of all things tourism and is, with the exception of a few, individual stores, dominated by souvenir shops. Here you can pick up Mexican hats, flamenco dolls and bulls complete with tiny flags, all souvenirs that have long perplexed Catalans since they have absolutely nothing to do with their culture. However, the fact that they have been around for a very long time seems to indicate that they are a lucrative business. The Raval is the obligatory shopping district for anyone remotely hip. Designer shops have cropped up amidst the traditional, neighbourhood stores and diverse, international restaurants. These shops tend to sell brands that are only known to a niche clientele or people who are on the absolute cutting-edge of fashion. The classic, big-name fashion houses such as Carolina Herrera, Salvador Ferragamo, Loewe, Cartier, Chanel, etc. still prefer the luxurious elegance of the Passeig de Grcia, Rambla Catalunya and Diagonal (specifically the section stretching from Passeig de Grcia to the Plaa Francesc Maci). Fashion connoisseurs can also indulge in famous Spanish designers such as Antonio Mir, Adolfo Domnguez, Muxart and Purificacin Garca, who all have stores in this area. On the other hand there are shops like Zara, which have built up entire fashion "empires" and have shops in each of the main shopping districts. Zara's prices are far more reasonable than those of its designer counterparts, which makes it an outstanding option for both men and women who want to wear the latest fashion trends without spending their life savings. If you happen to be in Barcelona during the months of January and July, you are just in time to take advantage of the sales season. Every store in the city lowers its prices, and everyone develops their own, particular strategy for making the most of the good deals. Some throw themselves into the fray right at the start so that they can make sure to get what they are looking for. At the other TakeoffGuides 2005

dedicated to the art of illusion. It has a complete exhibition of everything sold at the store of the same name, located on Carrer Princesa 11. The collection includes descriptions and various items used for this magical trade. However, seeing these objects isn't enough, which is why the museum complements the exhibition with guided visits, courses, live demonstrations and semi-theatrical performances. These activities demand your complete attention - it might be magic, but you can always learn a new, little trick. Sport lovers shouldn't miss out on a visit to the Museu de l'Esport (Buenos Aire, 56-58, corner with Diagonal, near Plaa Francesc Maci). The centre started out as a museum about Catalonia's athletic history and ended up collecting items, including shoes, rackets, and medals, belonging to some of the most renowned athletes of the 20th century. end of the spectrum are the people who prefer to play the odds and wait until the very last minute in order to pay the lowest prices. And this difference is not too shabby - oftentimes the final discount is 40% less than the initial price reduction. If you prefer functional shopping over leisurely browsing, then you can always stop in at one of the city's shopping centres. They definitely lack the charm of the shopping streets but make up for it by being extremely practical. The shopping centres, much like large shops throughout the city, accept credit cards. Barcelona is home to several shopping centres, including Barcelona Glores, next to the new Agbar Tower, Maremagnum in Port Vell, Diagonal Mar next to the new Forum area, Bulevard Rosa, with entrances on Passeig de Grcia and Rambla Catalunya, Pedralbes Centre on Avenida Diagonal past Plaa Francesc Maci, L'Illa Diagonal close to the Maria Cristina underground station and La Maquinista, the city's largest shopping centre, located in the Sant Andreu neighbourhood. Whatever it is that you are looking to purchase, you are more than likely to find it at one of these centres. However, if you choose to venture into the centres at the weekend or during sales, come prepared with lots of patience and expect to be rubbing shoulders with strangers throughout much of the day! ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN Travelling with children is a world onto its own and finding fun things for them to do is an important order of business. Barcelona is rich with fun activities for younger visitors (many are described in the Routes section where you can also find telephone numbers, addresses and timetables), which might surprise and delight their parents as well. One of the most unusual museums is the Museo del Rey de la Magia (The Museum of the King of Magic). Located on Carrer Oli 6, in the Born area near the Picasso Museum, this museum is In terms of outdoor activities, children are in for a world of fun. Barcelona has a lot of green areas, and some have special treats in store for their youngest visitors. The Laberint Park in the Horta neighbourhood is one of the city's most unusual parks. In addition to being a quiet, relaxing area, the park has a labyrinth at its centre, shaped out of cypress hedges more than three metres tall. The endless, green corridors twist and turn and it is easy to become disoriented. However, it is all in good fun and everyone who has made their way in, has always found their way back out. Grown ups have to pay 1,90 admission every day of the week except Wednesdays and Sundays, but children always get in for free! Another wonderful park for children is the Castell de l'Oreneta Park. This park is located on the Collserola Mountain and be accessed via the Can Caralleu road, the Biada Passage and the Ronda de Dalt off-ramp. The surprise awaiting children here is a ride in an authentic, miniature steam train. The tiny engine still uses coal combustion and covers a one and a half kilometre long trajectory through tunnels and across bridges. The train only runs on weekends and can be combined with a visit to the Pony Club. The club is another fun, weekend thing to do and allows children to get to know and even ride the friendly, little ponies.

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Centres datenci al client Centros atencin clientes Customers service centres

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Estaci Estacin Station

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Estaci Martima Estacin Martima Seaboard station Catalunya Sants-Estaci Peu del Funicular

Estaci terminal Estacin terminal Terminus station

Tramvia Blau Tranva azul Blue tram

Estaci de correspondncia Estacin de correspondencia Connecting station

Passeig de Grcia El Maresme | Frum

Funicular Funicular Funicular railway

Hospital de Bellvitge Bellvitge Catalunya Trinitat Vella Fondo Catalunya Fontana

L6

Sant Gervasi

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