Sunday, May 7, 2017

Visiting Barcelona [Part 2/5]: La Rambla, Old Town and Park Guell


Our adventure through Barcelona continues, as we arrive at the entrance to La Rambla. The La Rambla walking lane is the main tourist spot of the city. It pierces the Old Town of Barcelona and it's mostly interesting to visitors for the many shops, restaurants and cafes. To me it was a gateway to the old town of the city with various side streets offering glimpses into the real treasures of this part of Barcelona.

In this post I will show you the walking lane La Rambla, and many sights of the Old Town of Barcelona. In the end I will take you to the Park Guell which offers great panoramic views of the city. I hope you will enjoy the second part of our Barcelona Travel Series.

This is only a part of a 5-part travel series to Barcelona:
Part 1: Sagrada Familia
Part 2: La Rambla, Old Town and Park Guell
Part 3: Montjuic Castle and Port Olimpic
Part 4: Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and Park Ciutadella
Part 5: Sunset on Barceloneta Beach


La Rambla

La Rambla can be crowded, especially during the height of the tourist season. A tree-lined pedestrian mall, it stretches for 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. To the north of La Rambla lies Plaça de Catalunya, a large square in central Barcelona that is generally considered to be both its city center and the place where the old city and the 19th century-built Eixample meet. You can see the place in the first image of this post. Inside the La Rambla beware of pick pockets, though I didn't have any problems of that sort.


Placa Reial

The Place Reial lies next to La Rambla and is a well-known tourist attraction, especially at night. On the plaza are a large number of restaurants and some of the city's most famous nightclubs including Sidecar, Jamboree and Karma. We went here to take a break from all the walking and sat down in one of the many cafes here. The square is also known for its many outdoor venues and is a popular meeting place during the summer and the annual La Mercè festival in September, when open-air concerts take place, and during other celebrations such as New Year's Eve, often being very crowded.

In the image below you can see my dad looking into the camera as he is enjoying a cold and refresing beer with our fellow co-travelers.


The Old Town of Barcelona

Within Barcelona's Old Town, the political and geographic centre of the city is located. The Ciutat Vella (Catalan for “Old City”) tells stories from almost all eras of Barcelona's history: starting 133 before Christ with the Romans, and the dominion of the Visigoths, the Moors and the crown of Aragon through to the Spanish Civil War and the modern Barcelona.

Thousands years of history seem to be combined like it has never been different. You can find remaining parts of the old city walls next to some of Picasso's art work, next to rediscovered pillars of the old Roman Forum and even more treasures that remained of the city's history.

The La Rambla separates the district Raval from the Gothic district. A part of the medieval city wall used to run along the La Rambla. When the city was extended and the defensive wall was torn off, Barcelona's most famous strolling promenade was formed. The Gothic district is the political, cultural and also the touristic centre of the city. The former Roman settlement Barcino, which is counted as the largest Roman dig outside of Rome, is located here. Below is an image of the Cathedral of Barcelona. The construction of this magnificent cathedral begun in the 11th Century on the foundations of one of the Moors destroyed basilica. From 1448 to 1298 only the nave was completed.

I roamed the old city streets, amazed by all the sights. I came across this little square (image below) and saw children playing. Then I realized that the building to the side was a school. I would have never guessed.


La Boqueria Market

Up next I visited the famous La Boqueria market (actually called Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria). It is located on the north western part of the La Rambla. Established in the year 1217 as a meat market, in the beginning, it was not enclosed and had no official status, being regarded simply as an extension of the Plaça Nova market, which extended to the Plaça del Pi. The current name is believed to derive from the Catalan boc, meaning "goat", therefore a boqueria would be a place where goat meat is sold.

Later, the authorities decided to construct a separate market on La Rambla, housing mainly fishmongers and butchers. It was not until 1826 that the market was legally recognized, and a convention held in 1835 decided to build an official structure.  A new fish market opened in 1911, and the metal roof that still exists today was constructed in 1914.


The amounts of food here are very impressive. From neatly arranged fruit to the most abstract looking fish, you can pretty much find any produce here. I picked up some strawberries, mango and kiwi and ate it while roaming the market. Inside you can also find many bistros to sit down and enjoy lunch or a coffee.


Columbus Monument

The Columbus Monument is a 60 m (197 ft) tall monument to Christopher Columbus at the lower end of La Rambla. It marks the end of the La Rambla and entrance to the Port of Barcelona. The monument serves as a reminder that Christopher Columbus reported to Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V in Barcelona after his first trip to the new continent. The statue was sculpted by Rafael Atché and is said to depict Columbus pointing towards the New World with his right hand, while holding a scroll in the left.

Park Guell

The day in the Old Town of Barcelona came to and end, buy my friend Belma and I were not tired yet. So we decided to venture out for a side journey to the Park Guell, which was located close to our hotel. The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí” (whose work you saw in the Sagarda Familia in Part One of this travel series). The park is located on a hill and it's overlooking the whole city.



With urbanization in mind, Eusebi Guell assigned the design of the park to Antoni Gaudi. Park Guell is the reflection of Gaudi’s artistic plenitude, which belongs to his naturalist phase (first decade of the 20th century). During this period, the architect perfected his personal style through inspiration from organic shapes.


Since October 2013 there is an entrance fee to visit the Monumental Zone (main entrance, terrace, and the parts containing mosaics), but the entrance to the Park remains free. Gaudi's house, "la Torre Rosa,", containing furniture that he designed, can be only visited for another entrance fee (one image down). There is a reduced rate for those wishing to see both Gaudí's house and the Sagrada Familia Church. The focal point of the park is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. The curves of the serpent bench form a number of enclaves, creating a more social atmosphere.





Thank you all for visiting. What was your favorite sight of Barcelona from the second part?

End of Part Two
To be continued...



 

27 comments:

  1. 11, 21 and 24 are my favorites. they are ALL amazing. what a beautiful place this is... I had to giggle at the photo with your dad drinking beer, 2 of the four are on their cell phones... a most common site here...

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    1. Thanks Sandra. Yeah people and their phones. That's a whole new subject these days. :)

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  2. Wonderful sights and scenes! Beautiful architecture!
    My favorites: the fruit and vegetables for sale - so pretty!
    And eggs, are those eggs? I've never seen them displayed like that
    Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Yes, those are eggs and they are pretty indeed. Those displays are amazing to me as well.

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  3. ...Mersad, what a diverse array of colorful sights, thanks for sharing them today!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Tom!

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  4. Cannot pick a favorite. Look forward to seeing it for myself.

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    1. Thanks Marcia. Looking forward to seeing Barcelona through your lens.

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  5. Beautiful photos, Mersad! I love the first one very much.

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    1. I knew you would because of the flowers. Thanks Marit.

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  6. Beautiful! Lovely!! Thanks for the great tour. I am hard pressed to pick a favorite----I like each and every image.
    MB

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  7. Stunning! What a beautiful town and area--OMG!! :)

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    1. It really is, you will see more grandeur in the next part.

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  8. Very interesting a detailed architecture.

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    1. It really is. You will especially see that in part 4!

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  9. Yes--- you do a wonderful job of capturing places. I'd love to see it!

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  10. I like this entire series. I hope to visit Barcelona. I always enjoy your photos. Great composition and color, always!

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    1. Thanks Michelle. I also hope you get to visit one day.

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  11. I like the trip to the park because you got away from the crowds.

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    1. There are a lot of people there as well, but not nearly as much as in the old town.

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  12. Beautiful photos! What an amazing view of the city from Park Guell, Mersad! Barcelona looks so dense and full of interesting sights to see. The markets are very attractive and I love the architecture.

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    1. You are naming all of the reasons I love the city as well. There is simply so much to see and to do there.

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  13. Wunderschöne Bilder sind es! Das dritte ist mein Liebling!
    Liebe Grüße

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  14. Stunning images, as always, Mersad. Adjectives fail me. :)

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  15. Beautiful city! Loved that church on the hill. Awesome fruits and vegetables...so colorful and delicious-looking! It was good getting a view of your Dad too. Looks like the perfect place for a family vacation!

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