Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, located on the spectacular Mediterranean coast. With its sun-drenched beaches, bustling markets, and tapas on every street corner, the former Olympic city is a brilliant mix of uptown sophistication and down-to-earth cool. It’s also an architectural mecca, and many of the city’s most famous attractions have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The work of Antoni Gaudí is especially striking, and the visionary architect’s work can be seen throughout the city. From one of Barcelona’s most unusual homes, Casa Batlló, to the whimsical Park Güell and yet-to-be-finished masterpiece La Sagrada Família, the breathtaking basilica that became his life’s work and obsession, Gaudí’s architectural footprint in Barcelona is undeniable.
Barcelona regards its past with pride. It is the capital of Catalonia, a region with its own language, character and history, and its old centre constitutes one of the greatest concentrations of Gothic architecture in Europe. The Gothic Quarter is at the epicentre. Take a stroll through the old streets and there’s a photo op at every turn. The behemoth Catedral de Barcelona, notable for its 14th-century cloister, gargoyles and gloom exterior, dates back to medieval times. The Palau de la Música Catalana, the landmark music hall by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a contemporary of Gaudí’s, with its intricate stained glass and marble staircases, has mesmerized concertgoers for more than a century. Barcelona’s story of nearly 2,000 years is clearly etched into the Roman remains, Gothic churches, and Modernista architecture that so prominently adorn this cosmopolitan city.
Photos by Joshua McVeity.