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Visit Eixample, Barcelona
Barcelona is capital of the Barcelona province in the Catalonia region of Spain.
Whilst the old town, the Barri Gotic is one of the best examples of a medieval city in Europe it is probably Eixample which gives Barcelona its current fame and makes it one of the most visited cities in Europe.
Eixample has the largest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe (the Art Nouveau movement was called the Modernista movement in Catalonia) and contains numerous faboulous examples of Gaudi's work.
The Eixample is the main shopping and business district of Barcelona.
Visit Eixample, Barcelona
One of the main streets in Eixample is the Passeig de Gracia. This is a beautiful shopping street full of beautiful, but very expensive shops. You will quickly be surrounded by lots of people walking by with Dolce and Gabanna belts, Armani handbags etc.
At the southern end of the Passeig de Gracia is the famous Illa de la Discordia. So called because in one small block four of Barcelona's Modernista architects each designed a very individual building.
The most famous, the Casa Batllo by Anton Gaudi, is largely covered in blue green mosaics and has balconies likened to malevelent eyes or bones. The nickname of the house is the house of bones. Queues can be long to get into the Casa Batllo but be assured it is well worth the wait. It was not open to the public until 2002 but since undertaking a superb restoration it is now open and is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Casa Lleo Morera, by Lluis Domenech i Montagner has an incredible Modernista interior which is open to the public. On the roof of the building is a very ornate tower.
The Casa Amatler by Puig i Cadafalch has a very Moorish influence. Its has a stepped triangular roof.
The Casa Ramon Mulleras is relatively 'tame' in appearance compared with the other three modernista buildings on the Illa de la Discordia.
In the next block is the Fundacio Antonie Tapies building. The building has one of Tapies' works mounted on the roof - an enormous wire cloud formation. Very impressive! The building was built in 1879 by Domenech i Montaner. Inside is an excellent collection of Tapis work and also works by other contemporary artists.
From here continue northwards and take a look at the Vincon home decor store as you go. This Barcelona's famous design store.
Perhaps the most famous building on the Passeig de Gracia, and one of the most famous in Barcelona is Gaudi's Casa Mila, known locally as La Pedrera (the stone quarry).
As with the Casa Batllo the queue was long. Indeed there were even signs saying how long the wait would be at each point in the queue - like you find at Disneyland. It is of course worth the wait. The inside of the building is very nice but it is the rooftop with its fabulous chimneys which is the main attraction.
After the Casa Mila take the Avinguda Diagonal to the Cas Terrades, a huge and extremely ornate apartment blocks. It has so many spires that it is known as the 'House of the Points'. These spires are beautifully decorated. The Casa Terrades was built by another Modernista architect - Puig i Cadafalch. The building is Cadafalch's largest project and is an intriguing mix of Gothic, Renaissance, medieval and Modernista architectural styles.
Of course the main Modernista sight to see is Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece - the Sagrada Familia. This building is straight out of fairy tales and Gaudi devoted the latter part of his life to its construction. Indeed he spent his last 16 years living as a recluse on the site and is now buried in its crypt. The building is astounding and work continues today to finish it.
The Sagrada Familia was voted one of the top twelve 'Treasures of Spain' in a national TV and radio competition in 2007.
At the end of a long day's sightseeing for the chocoholics amongst you one of Barcelona's culinary treats is their hot chocolate. We ordered one but it wasn't hot chocolate it was real melted chocolate! heaven! Modernista architecture and melted chocolate - what more can I say. The Day became an instant success.Why on earth do they not sell these near us we would move into our local bar if they sold these delicious treats.
More Places to Visit in Barcelona
See: Barcelona old town / Barri Gotic, the Gothic Quarter.
See: Montjuic for beautiful views of the city.
The beautiful Monestir de Montserrat is an easy excursion from Barcelona.