Page Five

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

December 4, 1998


1:50pm - Sagrada Familia

Begun in 1882, and not even half finished, is one of Barcelona's most characteristic buildings, the Sagrada Familia, by Barcelona's most famous modernist architect, Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926). When completed it will have a central tower 200 feet above the towers seen in the left hand picture. It gains a great deal of criticism from some quarters, and praise from others. This year it was actually awarded a negative prize by a prominent designers forum, who said it was one of the ugliest designs in Barcelona!
The picture on the right shows one of the three facades, The
Nativity facade. Each facade is by a different sculptor - this one by the Japanese sculptor, Etsuro Sotoo.
Within the structure is a maze of paths and spiral stairways which you can navigate, providing some spectacular views - you can almost go anywhere within the building's towers. The bridge you can see in the left hand picture is one of these paths (you may be able to make out about five people on it).



3:30pm - The Famous Ramblas

Running through the very heart of Barcelona are the Ramblas, a group of parallel streets with a central pedestrian area in the centre, formally a seasonal riverbed. Lined with florists and street performers, the avenue is a hive of activity, 24 hours a day. This is where Catalans come to celebrate and protest.
The picture on the right is of the
Boqueria Market on the Ramblas with its interesting Modernist metal and glass work.

December 5, 1998


9:15am - The Work of Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926)

Hidden within Barcelona are some of the best works of this modernist architect. On the left is Casa Batlló with its skeleton-like facade. The top and roof of this building contains all of Gaudi's favourite materials, ceramic tiles and glass mosaics. On the right is Casa Milá, also known as La Pedrera (The Quarry), which is considered to be his most accomplished work and the pinnacle of modernist architecture.



10:02am - Parc Güell

Parc Güell was originally intended to be an English style garden city. This enchanted world was projected by Gaudi, however most of the work was actually executed by his extraordinary disciple, Josep Maria Jujol. The dragon on the left keeps watch over the stairs to the garden. It is distinctively Gaudi, with its colourful ceramic tile mosaic and smooth curves. After the dragon the stairs bifurcate and lead up to the monumental hypostyle hall, the columns of which can be seen to the left of the right hand picture.



12:45pm - Barcelona's Gothic Quarter

Located at the southern end of the Ramblas, in the heart of the city, is Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. The picture on the left is of the Carrer del Bisbe, and on the right is the impressive Gothic Cathedral. This is a fine example of Catalan Gothic architecture, started in 1298 (although the complicated facade is predominantly 19th century).



1:10pm - Picasso Mural

This Mural by Pablo Picasso is situated opposite the Cathedral.

Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain

December 6, 1998

10:20am - Montserrat

After an hours train journey from Barcelona, we arrived at the base of Montserrat - it's name literally means serrated/sawtooth mountain. This picture shows the cable car which leads up to a Benidictine Monastery, which is just visible to the right of the bottom point of the blue sky.
It is hard to imagine that this monastery (or at least some of it) was actually built so far up this mountain, over 700 years ago.



11:30am - Monserrat Monastery

This is the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat, which is more than 700 years old. The Renaissance church on the site was built in the 16th century and was extensively restored in the 19th century, when many of the other buildings were built.
Carefully hidden from these photographs are the hundreds of people around the place. The crowds make it difficult to appreciate the area, and to see everything. They have built some really ugly buildings on the site (like a hotel and a really touristy cafe) which somewhat detract from the overall beauty of the place - I have also hidden them from view.



12:50pm - The View From Above Montserrat

After a funicular train ride up the mountain and a short walk we arrive at the top. The view of the surrounding Catalan countryside is certainly impressive.


Go to Page Six

This page was last edited on December 19, 1998 03:52:26 pm
© Copyright, 1998-1999
Paul Michael Martin