It’s Easter again. So it would also be the perfect time to travel a little bit and enjoy more the beauty of our world. This time we flew to Barcelona — one of the beautiful pearls in Mediterranean.
Barcelona is the biggest international city in Spain. Located at the sea and among hills and forests it’s also one of the most luxuriant ports in Mediterranean. The coast line there goes from Northeast to Southwest and almost all the streets are built horizontal or vertical to the line. Sitting in the plane and taking a look down, you’ll find the city just like a huge latticework.
In my eyes, Barcelona is a city where you’ll see the architecture and urbanism are nicely combined. Barcelona is also famous for another name, the city of Gaudi. Perhaps many people have already heard of the name Antoni Gaudi, the brilliant Catalan architect, whose passion, both religious and aesthetic, yielded buildings of extraordinary sensuousness, kind of melted, it’s the lyrical art Nouveau with Gothic spirit. There’re many buildings designed by Gaudi and all of them are so special that can be seen nowhere in other cities. They look different but very natural, colorful and full of crazy ideas. Their physical forms, colorful mosaics influence your emotions and seem to try to tell you their own stories.
The most well-known houses by Gaudi should be Casa Milà (La Pedrera) and Casa Battló. Gaudi used quite a lot of organic, ornamental shapes and patterns and integrated all aspects of art and spirit in them. Casa Milà has very special chimneys, kind of animal-like and kind of human face. But I really like the roof of Casa Battlò. I guess the idea may come from a reptilian creature, for it’s like the back of a gigantic dinosaur, making me somewhat think of the dragon killed by St. Georg. (There’s also a statue in the house.) The façade is also decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles starting from golden orange moving into dark green. What is more interesting, the people in Barcelona call it the skeleton house because of its balconies resembling the animal skeletons.
And another world-famous symbol of Barcelona was designed by Gaudi too, namely the Sagrada Familia. I’ve heard a lot about it before. Maybe it’s the only large church still under construction since hundreds of years. Gaudi has worked on its design for over 40 years and devoted his last 15 years in building the church. Gaudi started to build it in 1884 until he was killed in a traffic accident in 1926. The church was supposed to have 18 towers, symbolizing different people — 12 Apostles, 4 Evangelists, 1 for Virgin Maria (125m) and the highest one for Jesus Christ (170m). The church is never finished and hopefully should be done in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death. I have to admit that this maybe the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen. It contains an abundance of religious and natural symbolism. Inside on the columns you’ll also see four glory torches with animals on them, symbolizing the four essential elements — fire, earth, water and air.
If you like more architecture, you can also take a walk in Park Güell, a small park full of colorful mosaic decorations, figures and houses designed by Gaudi.
Except of the wonderful architecture, the life in Barcelona comes from the famous street “La Rambla”, the lively pedestrian walk to the port, passing the sections of flower markets, bird stands, and street performers. One of them was quite interesting, he sat in a strange “bike” with a skeleton girl, each time someone threw a coin into his plate he would start to ride that bike and that “girl” began to make really awkward noises.
At the end of “La Rambla” is the 60m statue of Columbus. On the top of the monument Columbus holds his telescope and sailing diary, pointing to the sea far away. Who knows? Maybe he was trying to show you the direction of America, which he discovered before. 😉
Walking along the streets and passages in Barcelona, you can always feel the art. No wonder it’s also considered to be a city of the art. It’s not very common that a city can wonderfully both combine classics with modern, the culture with the nature. This is not a city of charm; it has a deeper sort of grace, one that comes from understanding that the magnificence of the everyday is the most exalted thing of all. I’m sure everyone who travels there will have a wonderful unforgetable journey.