Continuation of the trip which started on
3/2/2023 - Amsterdam (part 1)
3/4-5/2023 - Amsterdam (part 2) 3/6-12/2023 - London (part 3)
On the Sunday ( 3/12) we flew out from the UK, we missed the protest against the Israeli Judiciary Revolution, that simultaneously took place by the British Embassy in Tel-Aviv and by the Parliament in London,
The protesters hoped to raise awareness and have the British Gov 's influence on the Israeli crippling current Gov ,which has been, while masking its true intentions, in fact galloping toward instilling dictatorship,
Friends shared some photos from the protest in London which unfortunately we missed.
It was a great relief, weather wise, to arrive from cold grey rainy London to a blue clear sunny sky with pleasant temperature of 68 F in Barcelona, and get reed of the access warm wear.
The first taxi driver at the Barcelona airport , though had big enough car, invented a "space problem" only to avoid shlapping our "growing " luggage. However the second one who drive us to the hotel, compensated with his nicety and efficiency.
My previous visit to Barcelona from 09/ 2017 covers several sites, that can be found (here) . Unfortunately the tourists volume, at that 2017 visit, was so impossibly dense, that after a day and a half, we left town and escaped to Valencia, which in 2017 was not, yet, set completely , on the mass tourist destination radar.
On this March 2023 visit, I can remark that the city wasn't empty , however the volume of visitors was definitely tolerable, so this time exploration of town was much more enjoyable..
At the Yellow Top North East corner
This most charming northern coast seaaside city which is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, is also the second most populous municipality of Spain, with a population of 1.6 million within city limits, and with the urban extension the number reaches to almost 5 million, That makes it one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea
It is known for being a transport hub, major cultural, heritage economic, industrial and financial center in southwestern Europe, main biotech hub in Spain.and
fabled architecture (Gaudy) , original artists (Miro Dali) as well as a world-class drinking and dining scene.
The Catalan people are bilingual, wild about singing in choirs, playing in bands and dancing the Sardana. In addition to climbing on each other shoulders to create a pyramid as
one of their eccentricities,
The other is 300 years of stubbornly putting a struggle for their national independence.
The total number of Catalan speakers is over 9.8 million (2011), with 5.9 million residing in Catalonia.
Catalans are Romance ethnic group formed by the people ( a mix of Iberians , Phinichians, Carthaginians and Romans) from,or with origins in, Catalonia, who form a nationality in northern Spain and are recognized as a "nationality”. They enjoy a high degree of political autonomy, leading to reinforcement
of a Catalan identity. Due to the continued identification with a distinct identity, many Catalans support Catalan nationalism or Catalan independence in Spain.
The traditional religion in Catalonia is Roman Catholicism.
The Catalan language is a Romance language. It is the language closest to Occitan, and also shares many features with other Western Romance languages such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Aragonese.
Mnay of the traditional symbols of Catalonia coincide with Aragon.
List of famous Catalans
The square in the heart of Barcelona, where we stayed at the Pulizer Hotel and which is mentioned also in my Posting from 2017 (here) looked different this time
Placa Catalunya - Monument to Francesc Macià,
Francesc Macià i Llussà was President of the Generalitat de Catalunya from 1932-1933
The buildings around the Placa
The view of the square from the Hotel Pulizer
Walking along Passeo de Gracia which diverts off the square
Large buildings shopping / department stores along Passeo Gracia
This major elegant avenue, one of the city's most important shopping and business areas, contains several of the city's most celebrated pieces of architecture in the central part of Eixample, district.
This center artery, stretches from Plaça Catalunya to Carrer Gran de Gràcia
It was the place moneyed bourgeois families chose to live. where on either side of the street, they constructed imposing buildings jewels of Catalonia's home-grown art nouveau, modernisme, and the later movement, noucentisme, were created by architects as Gaudí (La Pedrera and the Casa Batlló), Puigi Cadafalch (casa Amatller), and Domènech Muntaner (Casa Lleó Morera), the leading known three,
Just before reaching Avenida Diagonal the impressive large building housing the Oficina de Información turística de Catalunya en Barcelona, with a quaint tranquil garden behind it, is worth stopping by, as it is a good source for getting great travel info.
Once reaching Avanida Diagonal one of the largest and most important avenues in Barcelona we turned around and walked back down on Rambla Catalunya toward Placa Catalunya
Rambla de Catalunya is a much quieter Rambla than the main Las Ramblas and it is comfortable to walk on its pedestrianized walkway under it's shaded trees and in between its less mobbed restaurants, bars and shops (used more by the locals)
Funky sculptures and Lucciamo's- Great Ice-Cream Store on Rambla Catalunya
Parallel to Rambla Catalunya is the Carrer de Balmes Ave.,which was explored as well
Named after the Catalan philosopher and ecclesiastic Jaume Balmes, the street is one of the most important avenues as well as the longest road stretching from the sea towards the mountainside.
Seminari Concilar De Barcelona
Situated on the corner of Balmes and Diputació St, is an impressive building from 1882, planned by the Catalan architect Elies Rogent, whose
original project was planned for the creation of a Museo de historia natural that included a meteorological and astronomical observatory, a botanical garden and a physics cabinet.
In 1882 the Museu de Geognosia i Paleontologia del Seminari Conciliar de Barcelona was inaugurated under the direction of the canon and professor of Geology and Paleontology, Jaume Almera.
The Bari Gothic Old Town
The Tourist Information Office of the City offers few English Speaking Walking Tours,
that pre-registrating to them, can be done at any of the street's Tourist Info red i booths, Among them is that of the Gothic Old Town (20Euro senior rate) which I decided to join.
The meeting point was at the tourist Info office by the Cathedral on Placa Nova- Square
From Placa Catalunya the pedestrian Avenida Portal de l'Angel in the Ciutat Vella district, and part of the large shopping area, spans and leads from Avinguda Diagonal to Barri Gòtic.
It is one of the city's most visited streets and is always crowded with tourists and
locals, all year round.
The image of an Angel at the gate is seen upon entering the street, located in a niche of the Banco de España building. This image was made in 1957 by Ángel Ferrant (Madrid, 1891-1961), (more)
In addition to other beautiful building in this street, there is a large El Corte Inglés department store just opposite a building that has a giant thermometer in its façade,
Off Avenida Portal de l'Angel in the narrow alley called Carrer de Montsiio an impressive elegant 19 C building in which the famous popular 4 CATS restaurant is housed, carries the esteemed post of the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc
(meaning "Saint Lluc Artists' Circle" -an arts society which was founded in Barcelona)
Reflecting the Modernism era of the 19C the pinkish structure carries motives of back to nature decorative elements, in iron rode railings, sculpture, painted glass, ceramic, and woodwork with Catalan folklore. and Saint George sculpture clung onto the building.
Is the site where - Barci the old town with its walls, 4 gates, defense towers, leading to the Forum, along the Cardus and aqueduct (now only remains can be seen) of the Roman city, was born, as the letters sculptured in the square indicate.
Founded by the Romans who during the rein of Emperor Augustus (27BC-14AD) established a new colony Bracino on the coastal plains, between the Llobergt and Besos rivers.
The original walled-in city started on the small hill called Mons Taber and had the usual rectangular layout of the period where at the Forum, the 2 main streets Decumanus and Cardo form now the Placa de Sant Jaume - Municipality square
The Cathedral on Placa Nova
This square is where the looming Barcelona Cathedral, is erected and the one which becomes a market with antique dealers (every Thursday from 9h to 20h) and one that hosts. Festivals and Sardanas dances.
The origins of Barcelona's Plaça Nova can be traced back to 1358, when it was the site of the city's hay market
The Gothic Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia
which is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, Catalonia, was constructed between the 13-14 C over 150 years with its new gothic facade refurbished in 1888
The roof is notable for its gargoyles, featuring a wide range of animals, both domestic and mythical.
The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona (since 3rd AD), a young virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, suffered martyrdom during Roman times in the city.
The cloister, attached to the Cathedral which was completed in 1448 encloses the "Well of the Geese" (Font de les Oques), with 13th live Geese (the 13 living yeas of Saint Eulalia) roaming around freely the cloister's outdoors ground.
Another Patron- Saint George
The graves at the cloister's floors, are carved with images depicting symbioses of the important middle ages professional Guilds like the Backers, Shoe-makers and Tailors, , as well as skulls of those who supported the Cathedral and got this honorable burial
Saint George - statue -a soldier in the Roman army on his horse another Co-Patron of the city, decorates the cloister's fountain.
Since Augustus time the remains of military defensive walls against barbarism left visible 2 circular towers which flank the gate that leads into the heart of the Gothic Quarter. These are the result of renovations carried out during the 12th C, although the origins of the defense towers and wall can be traced back as far as the 1st BC and the 4th AD.
A replica of a section of the Roman aqueduct emerges from the side of the Archdeacon's House - Casa de l'Ardiaca,(located in front of the Cathedral) marking one of the points where water was conveyed to the city.
Walking the narrow curved allies of the Gothic town lined with 14th and 16th c buildings
On the way to the Jewish section at the Gothic town
The Jewish Quarter - El Call
Starts at the northwestern corner of the Plaça Sant Jaume the name's area “El Call” comes from the Hebrew word - kahal, - community/congregation
Small numbers of Jews arrived in Barcelona soon after 70 CE arriving in Europe fleeing Roman repression. Jews were officially property of the crown
The quarter was the heart of the city's Jewish community from the 7th to 14th c
Medieval Barcelona was approximately 15% Jewish, with most (4000) living in this Jewish quarter., during the 13th c., Many worked as doctors, scientists, scholars, merchants, or money lenders for the Catalonian aristocracy and crown.
Until the assault that heralded its fall in 1391, medieval Barcelona housed the largest Jewish community not only in Catalonia but in the entire Crown of Aragon and was obliterated 100 years before the Spanish expulsion.(1492)
The Jewish quarter was effectively eradicated during Antisemitic mob violence on the quarter as part of the pogroms of 1391 across Spain and following the Black Death wave, which spared death rate of Jews, thanks to Jewish purification/hygiene practices.
Salomon Ben Adert - Carrer/St.
Solomon Ben Adret, -Leader of Catalan Judaism, a distinguished Talmudist authority and Rabbi, An alley is named after him at the quarter.
plaque on house
"The Holy Rabbi Samuel Hasareri - living eternally. Year 692. It (the stone) was found with other remains from the time that Jews were living in this house, and upon whose ruins Sant Domènec was founded and raised. Year 1820."
In the center of this qurter is Spain’s oldest synagogue - Sinogoga Major de Barcelona and one of the oldest ones in Europe. It has Roman foundations and is thought to have existed in some shape or form since the 5th c .
The entrance's small door leads down to the original street level of the Roman Foundations.
It was forgotten building for many years used as a storage and Tapas Bar, until rediscovered and and finally opened to the public in 2002.
Remains of the female Jewish public baths can be seen nearby in the basement of the pleasant Café Caleum at the intersection of the streets Banys Nous (which means New Baths) and Palla.
Just around the corner, the inquisition court building can be seen
The Inquisition site and plaque
Engraved brick Stones with Hebrew inscription, which were used as a recycled building material, during the middle ages, were taken from the Jewish Graveyard at the
Sants Montjuic district, and can be seen on the buildings' walls of the Gothic old town.
Plaça Sant Jaume - "St. James" -City's political and Social center
City Hall - Casa de la Ciutat
The small square in the middle of the Gothic Quarter is where once the Roman Forum stood and where the main streets of Roman Barcino converged, The Cardus -now Carrer de la Llibreteria and Carrer Call and the Decumanus - now Carrer Ciutat and Carrer del Bisbe
It has been the city's political center almost since its inception and where the most important buildings in the lives of Barcelona and Catalonia: stand :
City Hall and the Palau de la Generalitat. - the seat of the Catalan Government
The current appearance of the Plaça Sant Jaume dates from 1823, a period when it was remodeled and renamed from the Plaça de la Constitució.
It is also the site of the church of Sant Jaume (and other buildings)
Just off the square on the same side as the Palau de la Generalitat.
there is a very good ice-Cream place not to be missed
Llibrrrteria 7 +34933105045
Other shops from around the square
Temple of Augustus The Roman Temple dedicated to Augustus and built during the Imperial period in the colony of Barcino was the central building on Tàber Hill, (currently in Carrer del Paradís number 10) the highest point in the Roman city
By the 4th AD, the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans under the Christian emperors. and demolished, Its ruins were not discovered until the late 19th c when 3 of its columns appeared on the construction site and a fourth column was then exhibited at the Plaça del Rei and was later added to the structure, as seen nowadays.
The very tall Columns on the shocking green background are very impressive
Placa del Rei. -The Royal Square with palaces / History of the City museum
A non-impressive 14th C medieval square surrounded by Gothic and Renaissance buildings and enclosed on all sides except the South-West corner.
The large complex of the Royal Palace consists of three buildings and towers:
- Fat-del-Tinnell (Salo del Tinell) - Palace and main building of the complex, built by the king between 1359 and 1370 and was used as a main hall for meetings and receiving guests.
- the Palatine chapel of Santa Agata or St. Agatha (Capella de Santa Agueda), a facade which covers the area from the Eastern side, was built in 1302 as the Royal chapel..
- extreme left side of the main Palace stands the 5 story rectangular watch tower of king Martin (Mirador del Rei martí / Mirador del Rei Marti) above the Salo del Tinell. from 1555, with a series of arched window-openings.
-Under the watchtower is the Spanish viceroy's building - the Palace of the Governor or Palau del Lloctinent , built in 1549-1557 in the style of late Gothic Renaissance, on the left side adjacent to the Salo del Tinell. There is a a nice patio on the entrance floor and an iron engraved door which connects to the king's palace.
The Building serves as an Archive to the city now a day.s
The Roman City which is buried 4 m under the Rei Square Complex was discovered during archaeological excavations at plaça del Rei, and can be explored by entering the
Barcelona City History Museum (MUHBA) Recommended.
Ciutat Vella - Garden part of the old Royal Palace of the Counts,
Stairs down this patio adorned with a beautiful fountain in the middle of exuberant orange trees.
At the opposite end of the Garden an entrance leads to to an Art Museum
Museu Frederic Mares
Plaça Sant Iu, 5
Founded in 1948 this art and sculpture museum holds the most important collection of Hispanic sculpture from XII to XIX in Spain.
There's a fine collection of Romanesque and Gothic religious art.
The Kiss Mural
The Kiss Mural - “The World Begins With Every Kiss,” within the old city's walls
The ultimate symbol of love at the I'sidre Nonell Plaza, just next to the Cathedral .
Created by photographer Joan Fontcuberta and ceramist Toni Cumella in 2014, the
mosaic of tiny photographs, which each represent “moments of freedom.” was a response of over 4,000 Barcelona residents, Within a matter of days, to a call from the artist on Instagram, asking them to send their photographs, which today form part of this collective work of art.
Placa Reial - Royal Plaza (off the Las Ramblas)
To the plaza we also arrived in the early evening with a great Israeli guide - called Mai who offers "Free" Walking Tours (Tip as much as you wish) operated by:
Ttavelona 0034666263804. WhatsApp
This charming and popular small square was re-designed by Francesc Daniel Molina i Casamajó in the 19th C, and also features the Three Graces fountain,, Palm trees and streetlamps- unique lampposts designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí,
It was originally the site of the Capuchin convent of Santa Madrona,building
(demolished in 1835) and now. hosts several hotels restaurants and festivals.
Most vibrant spots, particularly at night,. some of the city's most famous nightclubs, including Sidecar, Jamboree, Karma and the historic and reinvented speakeasy cocktail bar Nou Pipa Club
"La Ramblas" - The famous Pedestrian walkway through the heart of the city center. is mentioned enough in my 2017 posting (here)
Vila De Garcia Neighborhood - fun to walk through
Placa de Lesseps
Passig De Cracia,, above the Diagonal street leads to the Neighborhood.
Originally in the 17thc an old village with few, isolated farmhouses, three convents and the odd villa that the wealthy built as summer houses, with the industrialization, the area it was incorporated in the 19th C and now is a charming neighborhood in the city characterized by small, narrow widening streets, many small squares with many specialized stores, cafes and restaurants (more)
Carrer d' Asturies
On Placa del Diamant
Sagrada Familia -UNESCO Hermitage
This iconic Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) monumental church, an opulent masterpiece (started in 1882,) known as Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, and is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world, towering in the Eixample district.
Combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted the remainder of his life to the project,
He is buried in the church's crypt.
At the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete
On 7 November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church and proclaimed it a minor basilica
Visit to Montjuic Hill
To the Montjuic Hill we arrived one morning by the Funicular, with the same great Israeli guide - called Mai who offers "Free" Walking Tours (Tip as much as you wish) operated by:
Ttavelona 0034666263804. WhatsApp
Montjuic - “Jewish Mount”,
Located high in the south of the city, and has a character like of a verdant park, it is one of the most significant and emblematic araes of the cit offering panoramic. sea and city views, mountain walks, and history.
The view from the Hill- Top
It is 185 m. high and the shape of a cliff that sinks into the sea. Its name in Catalan, means “Jewish Mount”, a reference to the Jewish Sephardic community of medieval Barcelona that bought it to bury their dead, when the area was outside of the living city
Many of its attraction is owed to World Expo of 1929 and Olympic Games of 1992. that the city of Barcelona hosted for the first time at Montjuic Hill.
The Park de Montjuïc facilitates important cultural, sports and leisure facilities, located among green spaces and splendid gardens.
The Olympic Torch Lighting Statue
The Main Olympic Game Stadium
The Olympic Complex
The Catalan National Art Museum (MNAC), the Joan Miró Foundation, the Magic Fountain, the Olympic Ring, the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, the Olympic and Sports Museum, the Jardí Botànic, the Poble Espanyol are all there.
Catalan National Art Museum (MNAC)
From the Museum on the Hill top a wide range of stairs leads all the way down to the large impressive Placa Espanya, with impressive structures built for the 1929 Expo, situated on both of their sides, as well as the remarkable Bull Fight Arena, which is converted to Market Central - a popular shopping center
View toward Placa Espanya from the Museum on the Hill's Top
At the foot of Montjuïc Hill, Placa Espaya- a very important square was built on the occasion of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, ,
Modernist German Pavilion The Shopping" Las Arenas" Monument in the Square
Design-Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Restaurants also mentioned in the posting of 2017 (more )
On this visit we liked a lot these two
La Flauta -Sea Food/ Tapas
Rambla Catalunya 91-93
Great quality and large variety
Boca Grande Restaurant
passage de laConcepcio 12 93 467 51 49
Hotels we Stayed at:
Calle Bergara, 8 (+34) 934 81 67 67. 64. email@example.com.
A design hotel right next to Plaza Catalunya . Great location, nice modest hotel and very good breakfast.
Carrer de la Diputació 234-236,
Situated at one street from the famous Passeig de Gràcia and Ramla Catalonia in the Eixample district , an attractive very reasonable boutique hotel
Torn de Pa - French Cafe
Close by to the Sansi hotel, on
the corner of Rambla Catalunya/
Carrer de la Diputació, there is a small Coffee shop with great morning breakfast/patisseries, we enjoyed very much frequenting
More wonderful architecture in the city
To be Continued.....to Tarragona