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Barcelona – a city rich in Beauty and History

A Spanish guitar player in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona
A Spanish guitar player in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona
Karyn Sig - Wikimedia Commons

Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the Llobregat River and Besòs River, Barcelona is Spain's second largest city. The city's history dates back some 4,000 years to the earliest settlements first established by farmers.

View from Tibidabo
Randi Hausken - Wikimedia Commons

Since those early times, Barcelona has become one of Europe's most diversified cities with a unique lifestyle and vibrant atmosphere. As a sophisticated metropolis, Barcelona welcomes visitors with open arms and is recognized as one of the most hospitable cities in Europe.

Sightseeing and Attractions

La Rambla is Barcelona's most famous boulevard filled with street performers, mimes and roaming merchants pedaling everything from watches to fine jewelry. The Palau de la Virreina, an 18th-century rococo mansion is home to the Culture Institute. The institute features a number of art expos and cultural functions. Another featured attraction on La Rambla is the Gran Teatre del Liceu, a renowned 19th-century opera house that first opened on April 4, 1847.

The Gothic Quarter makes up the old part of the city. Picasso had his residence here in Barri Gotic, working from 1895 to 1904. Gothic Quarter is located on the right side of the La Rambla and features a number of Gothic buildings dating back to the 14-15th century. Many of the narrow and winding streets are now home to much of the area's night life.

La Sagrada Familia is one of the most spectacular landmarks in Barcelona. Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona's renowned architect designed and began the construction of the basilica in 1882. The magnificent spires of the unfinished basilica seem to reach out to the heaven. On top of every facade there are two towers, totaling 12 in all, that are devoted to the Apostles. The tallest of the towers at 557 feet is situated in the center, dedicated to Jesus Christ. Gaudi passed away in 1926 just before his masterpiece was to be finished. Ever since then, controversy has continuously plagued the completion of the basilica. Final completion of the basilica is set for 2026, the centennial of Gaudí's death.

La Pedrera - Casa Mila (Mila House) is an apartment building and a UNESCO World Heritage site, built around 1906 and 1912 by the famed architect, Antoni Gaudi. The building is one of the architect's greatest and most aspiring achievements. The building is open to visitors with a roof top view of the city and a small museum devoted to Gaudi's work.

Tibidabo is the highest mountain in the Collserola mountain range forming a beautiful backdrop with spectacular views of Barcelona. Parc d'Atraccions, an amusement park offers Ferris wheel and roller coaster rides with an equally impressive view of the city. Visitors can take a lift from the park 115m (383 ft) up to a visitors' observation deck at Torre de Collserola telecommunications tower.

Museums

The Barbier-Mueller Museum of Pre-Columbian Art - the only museum in Europe dedicated entirely to Pre-Columbian societies. Located in a medieval palace, its collection is one of the very best of its type and provides visitors with an understanding into a prosperous world of the earliest societies relating to the Americas. The small museum features some one hundred items, including wood and stone sculptures, ceramics, tapestries and jade. The exhibits symbolize the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Chavin, Mochica and Inca cultures.

Museu Picasso is Barcelona's most visited museum with some 3,500 exhibits forming this permanent collection. Picasso's early work of art can be seen in the collection. The artist devoted a number of years (1901-06) in Barcelona creating some artistic works of art. The exhibits feature childhood drawings, images from the stunning Rose and Blue time period and the distinguished 1950s Cubist versions on Velazquez's Las Meninas (Ladies-in-Waiting).

Gaudi Casa-Museu was the former residence of Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) and is now a museum containing furnishings created by the artist. Other featured items include decorations, sketches and portraits of the artist. The museum officially opened its doors on September 28, 1963 and exhibits some of Barcelona's finest works of contemporary art.

For more information, visit http://www.barcelona.com/