The name Barcelona evokes several things in us: the football club, the Olympic venue, second largest and most famous of Spanish cities, the separatist hot spot, the city of the architect Antoni Gaudi, Catalonian culture?and so on. So, on an August summer day in 2013, we set out to find out what makes this city so famous among all the places in Spain. It is the sixth largest city in the European Union and located on the cool blue Mediterranean, between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Bes?s . It had Roman presence and also a long bout of rule by the Moors, who ruled it for less than a century before being overthrown by Christian forces who captured it after a prolonged siege in 801A.D.
City Center…full of monuments
A cruise ship in the harbour
Montessarat..the Monastery in the mountains
Historic and superb
Relic of Spanish glory Another example of modernism
This one is called the ‘Smiling Lobster’!!!
Even a govt. building is beautiful
Antoni Gaudi creation called’Casa Battlo
La Rambla…the street full of tourists all the time
The Roman , Muslim and the Spanish influence is visible all over the city. The summer Olympics held in the city in 1992 also added on to the fame of the city. Though the people of the city call themselves as Catalonians (not Spanish) and speak a distinct dialect which is called as Catalonian, there is not much resentment visible on the surface. A thriving city full of tourists , malls, crowds everywhere with the famous La Ramble overflowing with crowds all day a round?it is a City of Life . The famous vegetable and sea food market La Boqueria is full of shops selling a large variety of fruits and sea food.
La Bocqueria..fish and fruit market
Exotic dry fruits
Fresh sea food
Crawling lobsters and shrimp
Fresh juicy mangoes
City palace and the dancing fountains
The city is also known as city of Antoni Gaudi who made the city famous due to his eccentric buildings and architecture. ?Sargada Familia? is a massive Church for Jesus and his parents which has his stamp of authority all over it. This church is still under construction and nobody knows when it will be completed! Still the vast crowds throng this marvel of architecture all day long. ?Park Guell? in the city is a testament to the works of Gaudi since his home and many of his creations are well preserved there.
The lighting changes fast
The music also goes on and so do the fountains
Another view of musical fountains
As the music reaches its crescendo…the fountains also try to peak
Sargada Familia ..a close look
It is indeed towering Magnificent..is the only word Entrance to the Church
The towers are inspired by mountains nearby..as they say
The massive cranes are at work
The gaudi touch in the architecture
The imposing structure under construction..nobody knows when it will be over
The city palace at the center of the city makes a beautiful sight at night when the dancing fountains are switched on. They sway, swoon and wallow according to the music and the magnificent fa?ade of the Palace provides the perfect background to the breathtaking performance of the fountains well lit with multicolored lights.
No visit to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the Benedictian monastery called Monsterat located an hour away from the city on the mountains. Legend is that the circular formations of this mountain inspired some of Antoni Gaudi?s works. The church on top is massive and houses the famous Black Madonna. Buses go right up to the top?and there are regular trains taking you to the top in addition to the cable cars. View from the mountain top is out of the world.
Montessarat..the Monastery in the mountains
Lovely view of the valley from top
Monastery at close quarters
These cylindrical mountains inspired Antoni Gaudi in Sargada Familia
Typical circular structure in the mountain
Inside the Church
The awesome roof…
Beautiful stain glass windows
Monastery seen from outside
Another view of the valley
For the more adventurous..there is cable car
Bull fighting areana converted to shopping center!!
Park Guell..a Gaudi masterpiece
Each structure in Park Guell is testimony to Gaudi’s brilliance
And so is this one
Bull fighting is banned in Catalonia and all the bull fighting arenas have been converted into shopping centers , Malls and Commercial centers.
A visit to Barcelona therefore is a must for any discerning traveler to Spain. I can vouch for it after visiting it last month! The enclosed pictures tell their own story anyway. Most cruise ships touring Mediterranean make regular stop in Barcelona.
Acknowledgements: Wikipedia for history of Barcelona
About the Author:
Commander GP Mallya (retd) is a native of Kinnigoli and alumni of Pompeii Junior College, Aikala, Mysore University (NIE, Mysore) and Pune University. He served in the Indian Navy for 22 years as Marine Engineering Officer until premature retirement in 2007 and moved to South Korea to work for Samsung Heavy Industries, where he continues till date. He stays in Korea with his wife. His interests include Travelling, GK Quiz, writing, photography and music. He also contributes travelogues regularly in online magazines. He can be reached at .
Author: Commander Giridhara P. Mallya (Retd.)