Have you ever seen ‘Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona’, ‘All About My Mother’ or ‘Gaudí Afternoon’? All of these films involved women wandering around Barcelona, in search of love, redemption and happiness. The backdrop was more like a strong lead character in the film. This is because Barcelona has a beating heart and soul, that is magical enough to seem human. Anyone heading off on a trip to Spain must spend a few days wandering through this city’s beautiful streets.
Part of Barcelona’s effervescent magic, is the work of seminal landscape architect Antoni Gaudí. Along with other artists of Catalan Modernism, he created public art and buildings that are distinctively different from anywhere else in the world. Gaudí blazed the trail for subversive Catalan street art which still lives and breathes on the walls of Barcelona today. Taking a tour through Barcelona’s architecture, submerges travellers in this hotbed of creativity.
Casa Batlló was a building renovation commissioned by its wealthy owner in 1904. The Casa Batlló has an elegant, undulating facade like waves. Along with intricate iron railings in the shape of masks. Ceramic fragments of yellow, green and blue, known as trencadís, resemble a dragon’s back. On the left-hand side of the building is a cylindrical turret with anagrams of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Gaudí’s four-armed cross. Casa Batlló is a work of illuminating beauty that is best enjoyed under the warmth of the Catalan sun, rather than peering into a coffee table book.
This was Gaudí’s magnum opus and possibly his most well-known monument. The Sagrada Família is a cathedral that still remains unfinished because of Gaudí’s untimely death in 1926. Gaudí once famously joked, ‘My client, is in no hurry’, referring to God. Gaudí died tragically when he was run over by the No.30 tram. It took Barcelona police hours to discover who he was, as he looked so impoverished, from living on the streets towards the end. Authorities hope to finally finish the cathedral in time for the centenary of his death in 2026. Steeped in mystery, tragedy and iconoclastic beauty, the Sagrada Família is a crowing glory of Spanish history and definitely worth a visit.
Those who visit Barcelona on a Spanish holiday will find inspiration on every corner. Travellers should prepare themselves to fall in love with the curvy, feminine form of the city, not unlike a female character in an Almodóvar film.