"Truly Catalunya, Truly Spain" Top 5 Page for this destination Barcelona by bpwillet

Barcelona Travel Guide: 9,538 reviews and 21,845 photos

The icing and the Cake...

Barcelona is a city that is very European and yet very independent. There is plenty to see and do. Great masters of architecture have left their mark here and many artists have given rise to many unique and memorable works. The landscape is one of rolling hills and sandy beaches, to cobblestone medieval quaters to busy plazas. It is Spain's second city and is the autonomous region of Catalunya. It has its own language and customs and even collects a portion of national taxes. The city has a picturesque medieval quater and some impressive central promenades throughout the city. The curches and monastaries are works of art as are some of the more prevalent modernist works, like those of Gaudi, which are dotted around the city. Whatever you are looking for Barcelona has it all. Outstanding parks and incredible museums make this city a must on any agenda to Spain or while in Europe.

History

Romans first arrived around 218BC and created the town of Barcino which is within the Barri Gotic. Remains of the Roman walls and even a temple can still be seen around the medieval city. Even though the Romans stayed mainly to the south in the town of Tarragona, Barcelona was very prosperous and lived well off its own lands. By 415AD the Franks had began their push southward and made Barcelona a temporary base before moving on to Toledo. Then it passed into the hands of the Muslims and then by Louis the Pious in 801. This began the count rule and subsequently the Crown of Aragon by the mid 12th century. By the 13th century empire building was the focus of many of Barcelona's rulers and the city increased in size and stature, and became a mercantile base for most of the Western Mediterranean. Eventually the coutn-kings developed a parliment which lasted until about 1714, and its permanent home is still in Barcelona. WIth constant wars and inner famine and deaths Barcelona began to decline in the 14th century. By the late 1400's Catalunya became part of the Castillian state. This greatly affected trade and their status within the penninsula. Rule once again switched hands and Barcelona experienced a period of sustained growth throughout the 1800's but this was not without political or economical difficulties. By the 1930's most of the population was in upheaval and wanted their statehood back. After civil war and the rule of a dictator, Barcelona, finally gained new life and status. The hosting of the Olympic games in 92 has rehabilitated most of the city and has made it one of Europes top destinations.

Architecture as art

The first buildings of Barcelona were definitely Romanesque in the beginning. Now as you walk around you can see it is mostly Gothic and Modernist. Most of the Romanesque examples were destroyed to make way for the Gothic works that are present today, though there are still impressive examples of early Romanesque architecture around the Barri Gotic. Most of the Gothic examples in Barcelona are considered Catalan Gothic because of the simplicity compared to that of northern Europe. In the form of churches, they went wide instead of vertical like most European gothic churches. There are also choirs put right in the middle of many churches; very Catalan specific design. Though people mostly think of Gaudi when they think of Barcelona. Most of his works could be considered bizarre and "gaudy" but they truly are masterpieces. The materials were raw; brick, steel, colored tiles and glass for decoration. It must be hard to be a modern architect building in the shadow of those considered to be so great.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great sights, food, people, and weather; easy to get around.
  • Cons:The city is sprawling, take advantage of every opportunity.
  • In a nutshell:Everything and anything you could want.
  • Last visit to Barcelona: Jan 2004
  • Intro Written Feb 6, 2004
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Reviews (86)

Comments (22)

  • ladysail's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2008 at 6:45 AM

    Absolutely excellent travelogue!! Will be visiting Barcelona next month - March 2008 - and you've helped me to decide my itinerary. Thank you!!!!

  • taracat's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2007 at 10:14 AM

    Hi, I just loved 'the boys are back in town". Just what I remember seeing there. I wrote a small travelogue on a beading trip website. Maybe you will enjoy read9ng it at www.beadyeyedwomen.com. Let me know if you do. Cicily..... at my e-mail on this site

  • Jul 25, 2007 at 7:01 AM

    your info on barcelona is the best & most comprehensive i've read--pics are professional in nature-am going in sept and will use your info-regards, omax

  • suzannebowser's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2007 at 11:00 AM

    Big help. Had seen this place on television and wondered about it. Thanks for the tip

  • Feb 25, 2007 at 12:25 PM

    Stayed here Feb 07. Location and room fine, but on busy main road. Very noisy.

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2006 at 2:36 PM

    A great find here - have kept that furnished apt tip for when I get there. Will return often to your pages. Ciao, Carol

  • peliason's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2006 at 11:31 AM

    Thanks for the link on www.lovingbarcelona.com. Those apartments are extremely more ornate and hold character far better than a hotel! I am very likely going to book a stay through that site.

  • KristaB's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2005 at 2:28 PM

    You really love Barcelona. I am looking forward to my visit, thank you for your interesting and useful tips!

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2005 at 8:07 AM

    Great page on a great city Lots of tips & loads of info. Good work.

  • Feb 7, 2005 at 3:05 PM

    Great page, thanks for the tips.

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