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BARCELONA, SPAIN

The Gothic Quarter, Gaudi, Familia Sagrada and much more

sunny 15 °C

ADIOS RIOGORDO
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SATURDAY 28 JANUARY - Chill out day and SUNDAY 29 JANUARY - watching the best Australian Open tennis final between Federer and Nadal.

MONDAY 30 JANUARY TILL FRIDAY 3 FEBRUARY

Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is known for its art and architecture. The fantastical Sagrada Família church and other modernist landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí dot the city. Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró feature modern art by their namesakes. City history museum MUHBA, includes several Roman archaeological sites.

We booked a 2 day pass on the Barcelona BusTuristic Hop On Hop Off buses. Our hotel, the Hotel Olivia, fronts one side of the Placa Catalunya, the main square in the centre of this city of 1.7 million people in the metropolitan are with more than 4.6 million in the surrounding areas. We had stayed previously in this hotel which fronts the area between La Ramblas and Via Laeitana which define the Gothic Quarter (Barrio Gotic).

The Gothic Quarter is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. It stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from the Mediterranean seafront to Ronda de Sant Pere. It is a part of Ciutat Vella district.

The quarter was built primarily in the late 19th and early 20th century, though several buildings date from medieval times. Remains of the squared Roman Wall can be seen around Tapineria and Sots-Tinent Navarro to the north, Avinguda de la Catedral and Plaça Nova to the west and Carrer de la Palla to the south. El Call, the medieval Jewish quarter, is located within this area too.

The Barri Gòtic retains a labyrinthine street plan, with many small streets opening out into squares. Most of the quarter is closed to regular traffic although open to service vehicles and taxis.

Here are some photos we took today around this area. Firstly, remains of the old Roman wall from 4 AD, Gaudi Museum and Cathedral of San Jaume.
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Below are some random shots of interest. Firstly, the Barcelona Railway Station with hundresds if taxis, the Old bull Fighting Ring now converted to shops, the 1929 World Exhibition Site and the Stadium used firstly for the 1929 Expo then enlarged for the 1992 Olympics.
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Above photo is of the Christopher Columbus Memorial near the Aduana de Barcelona, the Customs Building built in 1902.
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The above sculpture in El Cap de Barcelona by Roy Lichtenstein.

Here we are "on the buses'.
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Barcelona has some wonderful examples of interesting and diverse architecture and art. Gaudi, Joan Miro, Roy Lichtenstein, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry are just the tip of the talents who have cintributed to making Barcelona the spectacular city it is. Of course, much of this was ignored until the 1992 Olympics.

Below is the Futbol Club Barcelona. It is the largest stadium in the world with a capacity of 100 000.
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Above photo is of Joan Miro's sculpture! Dona i Ocell "Woman and Bird") is a 22-metre high sculpture by Joan Miró located in the Parc Joan Miró in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The sculpture was covered in tiles by the artist's collaborator Joan Gardy Artigas. The sculpture is part of an artwork trilogy commissioned from Miró to welcome visitors to Barcelona.

My favourite is possibly Antoni Gaudí who was a Spanish Catalan architect from Reus and the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí's works reflect an individualized and distinctive style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família.

Gaudí's work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion. Gaudí considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry. He also introduced new techniques in the treatment of materials, such as trencadís which used waste ceramic pieces.

Under the influence of neo-Gothic art and Oriental techniques, Gaudí became part of the Modernista movement which was reaching its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work transcended mainstream Modernisme, culminating in an organic style inspired by natural forms. Gaudí rarely drew detailed plans of his works, instead preferring to create them as three-dimensional scale models and molding the details as he conceived them.

Gaudí's work enjoys global popularity and continuing admiration and study by architects. His masterpiece, the still-incomplete Sagrada Família, is the most-visited monument in Spain. Between 1984 and 2005, seven of his works were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Gaudí's Roman Catholic faith intensified during his life and religious images appear in many of his works. This earned him the nickname "God's Architect" and led to calls for his beatification.

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La Pedrera shown above wasdesigned and built by Gaudi between 1906 and 1910.

Gaudi designed Casa Batllo which was built in 1904. It is the building in the middle. To the left is the Casa Amattler by Puigi i Cadafalch to the right is Domenich Montaner's Casa Lleo i Morera.

We had most of one day at La Sagrada Familia. The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family) is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Gaudí's work on the building is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica, as distinct from a cathedral, which must be the seat of a bishop.

Construction of Sagrada Família commenced in 1882 by architect Francisco Paula de Villar with Gaudí becoming involved in 1883 after Francisco resigned as the head architect. Taking over the project, Gaudí transformed it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete.

Sagrada Familia's construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project's greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centenary of Gaudí's death.

The photos we took really don't do justice to the sheer scale, majesty and innovational brilliance of this building.

Below are two pictures of the Passion Facade. The eastern facade is the Nativity Facade.
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Below two photos show the Nativity facade.
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Gaudi designed the interior pillars to represent trees in the forest. He was inspired by nature and sculptures from nature of birds, lizards, grasses, fruits and seeds are used extensively.
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The stained glass eindows maximise light. The eastern side represents sunrisewith light and bright colours while the western side represents sunset with warmer colours. Below is the Apse with a simple altar.
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The photo above is a view looking up to the light source above the altar.

Below is the crypt 10 metres below the Apse. In fact it is so big it is used as the parish church. This view looks through windows at floor level down into the crypt with Gaudi's tomb.
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Front entrance allowed horse-drawn carriages to enter the home through one door and exit through the other.
The Palau Güell (Catalan pronunciation: [pəˈɫaw ˈɣweʎ], English: Güell Palace) is a mansion designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell, and built between 1886 and 1888. It is situated in the Carrer Nou de la Rambla, in the El Raval neighbourhood of the city of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí".

The home is centered on a main room for entertaining high society guests. Guests entered the home in horse-drawn carriages through the front iron gates, which featured a parabolic arch and intricate patterns of forged iron-work resembling seaweed and in some parts a horsewhip. Animals could be taken down a ramp and kept in the livery stable in the basement where the servants resided, while the guests went up the stairs to the receiving room. The ornate walls and ceilings of the receiving room disguised small viewing windows high on the walls where the owners of the home could view their guests from the upper floor and get a 'sneak peek' before greeting them, in case they needed to adjust their attire accordingly.

The main party room has a high ceiling with small holes near the top where lanterns were hung at night from the outside to give the appearance of a starlit sky.
The photo above is of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 when he consecrated the church as a Minor Basilica.

Here are some close ups of the doors on the Nativity side designed by Japanese sculptor Sootoo who has worked at this site for the last 40 years.
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These are the doors from the Passion facade.
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In the afternoon we visited Park Guell, a public park, where Gaudi's house is now a Museum. It was built in 1906 and he lived there for twenty years.
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Gaudi also designed the gatehouses and gates for Park Guell.

Wednesday, we rambled down the La Rambla. It is an area in the Gothic Quarter rambling streets.

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We returned to the Picasso Museum to see once again the 58 paintings by Picasso done in late 1957 known as Las Meninas. The Museu Picasso houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. With 4,251 works exhibited by the painter, the museum has one of the most complete permanent collections of works. The museum is housed in five adjoining medieval palaces in Barcelona's La Ribera and is located on Montcada Street in the (Bank District) of Barcelona. It opened to the public on 9 March 1963, becoming the first museum dedicated to Picasso's work and the only one created during the artist's life. It has since been declared a (museum of national interest) by the Government of Catalonia.

Highlights of the collection include two of his first major works, The First Communion (1896), and Science and Charity (1897). In particular, the Museu Picasso reveals Picasso's relationship with the city of Barcelona, a relationship that was shaped in his youth and adolescence, and continued until his death.
Montcada Street
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Las Meninas is a series of 58 paintings that Pablo Picasso painted in 1957 by performing a comprehensive analysis, reinterpreting and recreating several times Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez. The suite is fully preserved at the Museu Picasso in Barcelona and is the only complete series of the artist that remains together. This is a very extensive survey work which consists of 45 performances of the original picture, nine scenes of a dove,three landscapes and a portrait of Jacqueline.

The first picture is Velasquez's Las Meninas and the following are just three of Picasso's interpretations.
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Today was our last full day in Barcelona. I did a search of the "must see" places and came across the Palau Guell. It turned out to be a truly must see and our visit would have been poorer if we had missed it. It is on the Noue de Rambla in a very ordinary street. The outside does not do the interior justice.The front entrance allowed horse-drawn carriages to enter the home through one door and exit through the other.
The first picture is the street view, the second is a view from inside through the wrought iron gates designed for seeing out but not in.
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The Palau Güell is a mansion designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí for the industrial tycoon Count Eusebi Güell, and built between 1886 and 1888. It is situated in the Carrer Nou de la Rambla, in the El Raval neighbourhood of the city of Barcelona. Count Guell was estimated by Forbes Magazine to be in the teelve richest people in contemporary history with a net worth in today's money of 70 billion Euros.

The home is centered on a main room for entertaining high society guests. Guests entered the home in horse-drawn carriages through the front iron gates, which featured a parabolic arch and intricate patterns of forged iron-work resembling seaweed and in some parts a horsewhip. Animals could be taken down a ramp and kept in the livery stable in the basement where the servants resided, while the guests went up the stairs to the receiving room. The ornate walls and ceilings of the receiving room disguised small viewing windows high on the walls where the owners of the home could view their guests from the upper floor and get a 'sneak peek' before greeting them, in case they needed to adjust their attire accordingly.

The main party room has a high ceiling with small holes near the top where lanterns were hung at night from the outside to give the appearance of a starlit sky.

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The next two photos are from the roof. There is a viewing platform with views to Monjuic and across the city. Gaudi created coulourful chimney pots for the more than a dozen chimneys in the palace.
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In the morning we fly to London for the next eight days.

Posted by Kangatraveller 11:32 Archived in Spain

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