A beautiful and flamboyant modernist building, dating back to 1905. It was built for choir music, very trendy a century ago. If you mind the longish queue, it is one of the must to visit! Here is the Wiki article about it.
No, no moon photo today, but one from Parque Guell, which used to be free, but isn’t anymore. Oh well, it is really, I mean really, worth a visit.
Some detail of Gaudi’s Casa Batlló, on a screen. Surreal.
A nice place to a coffee, is the little bar at Casa Batllo, on Passeig de Gracia
I confess, I don’t know anything about this building on Gran Via, except that it wasn’t built by Gaudi. Should anyone know more, please let me know. I would guess it is from the same time frame, around 1890-1915.
I was asked about the spires on the header of this blog. No, they are not part of a church, they are on the roof of a private house, the Palau Guell, or Guell Palace. A private house with a difference, as it was built for Eusebi Guell by his good friend Antonio Gaudi.
Here is the entrance:
Now, the interior of the house is very dark and gloomy, hard to get a good shot without a flash or a tripod (forbidden). Here is what I could manage…
It gets a little lighter on the upper floors.
Many more of those spires on the roof, with a fantastic view over the old town.
Barcelona’s Champs Elysees is the Passeig de Gracia, with it’s many many noble mansions. Wouldn’t you want this house on your Christmas wishlist???
This stunning building on Passeig de Gracia is Casa Amatller. Built in the Modernisme style and designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, one of the great Catalan architects at the beginning of the 20th century. It is just next door to Casa Batllo, of which you can see a small part in the upper right corner. You can see much more of it here.
The lamps on Plaza Real were designed by Antonio Gaudi himself.
After a short interlude on the beach (really hot here), back to the Palau for a quick drink. Right in front of you, through the door…
That’s right, here it is. Enjoy your champagne!
The Palau de la Musica Catalana… So many things to say about this absolutely magnificent building, a must see, should you ever come to Barcelona.
The Palau de la Música Catalana , (English: Palace of Catalan Music) is a concert hall in Barcelona. Designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth). It was inaugurated February 9, 1908.
The project was financed primarily by the society, but important financial contributions also were made by Barcelona’s wealthy industrialists and bourgeoisie. The Palau won the architect an award from the Barcelona City Council in 1909, given to the best building built during the previous year. Between 1982 and 1989, the building underwent extensive restoration, remodeling, and extension under the direction of architects Oscar Tusquets and Carles Díaz. In 1997, the Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Hospital de Sant Pau. Today, more than half a million people a year attend musical performances in the Palau that range from symphonic and chamber music to jazz and Cançó (Catalan song).
And once a year, you can visit it for free… So get ready for a small series about this marvel!
After Tuesday’s post, I realized/remembered that Barcelona is actually full of dragons! The modernists loved them, Gaudi made some, the most famous one being the one in Park Guell. So here is one which figures on the monumental vases on both sides of Passeig Lluis Company. There are many many more, you jusr have to know how and where to find them. We will!
The title of this post refers to the Hunt-Lenox Globe, a map made around 1503-1507, the world’s third-oldest world map. In modern day China, called East India on the map, it says HC SVNT DRACONES, or here are the Dagroians, described by Marco Polo as living in the Kingdom of “Dagroian”. These people… feasted upon the dead and picked their bones” (B.II. c.14).
Dragons appear on a few other historical maps.
- The T-O Psalter world map (ca. 1250 AD) has dragons, as symbols of sin, in a lower “frame” below the world, balancing Jesus and angels on the top, but the dragons do not appear on the map proper.
- The Borgia map (ca. 1430 AD), in the Vatican Library, states, over a dragon-like figure in Asia (in the upper left quadrant of the map), “Hic etiam homines magna cornua habentes longitudine quatuor pedum, et sunt etiam serpentes tante magnitudinis, ut unum bovem comedant integrum.” (“Here there are even men who have large four-foot horns, and there are even serpents so large that they could eat an ox whole.”) The latter may refer to the dragons of the Chinese dragon dance.
- The Fra Mauro Map (ca. 1450) has the “Island of Dragons” (Italian: Isola de dragoni), an imaginary island in the Atlantic Ocean. In an inscription near Herat, Fra Mauro says that in the mountains nearby “there are a number of dragons, in whose forehead is a stone that cures many infirmities”, and describes the locals’ way of hunting those dragons to get the stones. This is thought to be based on Albertus Magnus’s treatise De mineralibus. In an inscription elsewhere on the map, the cartographer expresses his skepticism regarding “serpents, dragons and basilisks” mentioned by “some historiographers”.
- A 19th-century Japanese map, the Jishin-no-ben, in the shape of Ouroboros depicts a dragon associated with causing earthquakes.
One of the cafes behind the City Hall, with a very art deco style.
In Ciutadella Park, between the Zoological and the Geology museum stands this building called the Hivernacle, or winter glasshouse. It was designed by Josep Amargós in 1884. The structure is an excellent example of the iron and glass based architecture from the same period that saw the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
Underneath, a fish-eye sight of the side of the Hivernacle.
The bar at the entrance of the Palau de la Musica. Nice, no? You might notice the ‘no filming’sign on the side. Well, no photos either, as we have been firmly told by one of the minders. We played the not-knowing tourists, of course… Well, we didn’t know, we noticed the beauty of the place, not the ugly little signs next to the trash cans.
What used to be Barcelona’s slaughterhouse is now a very nice park, with lots and lots of palm trees, and this sculpture by the famous barcelones artist Joan Miró i Ferrà. It is called (in Catalan) Dona i Ocell, woman and bird. He created it in 1982, just one year before he died, aged 90.
It is 22 meters high, made of concrete, and covered in ceramic tiles styled by Joanet Gardy Artigas.
I chose to publish the photo on a big scale, so you can appreciate how big this thing actually is.
The Spanish Town (Catalan: Poble espanyol; Spanish: Pueblo español), where we met the Illustrious Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, is an outdoor open-air architectural museum, located on the mountain of Montjuïc.
It was constructed in 1929, for the Barcelona International Exhibition, that was held in Barcelona that year.
Josep Puig i Cadafalch had the idea for the museum: a town in which the architecture, style, and culture of various locations from around Spain were preserved in a single place. The aim was to produce an ‘ideal model’ Spanish village, a synthesis of monumental Spain. The architects that designed the town were Francesc Folguera and Ramon Reventós. In total, the town was built in 13 months, and although it was only needed for 6, for the exhibition, it was not demolished and was kept open as a museum.
The museum occupies a total area of 42,000 m² or about 138,000 ft² and contains 117 buildings, with streets and squares reproducted to scale.
The tower above is a copy of the Torre de Utebo, near Zaragoza.
The Poblenou water tank, built in 1906. I don’t know much more about it, but I suppose the style can be called modernist, as it has been built very much during the same period of time.
Even water tanks are beautiful in Barcelona, yeah!
Gaudi’s genius. Beauty that goes well into details. Here are some from Casa Batllo, on Passeig de Gracia.
A few more details of Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, aka the bone house. It is one of Barcelona’s main tourist attraction.
To see more of Gaudi’s magnificent works, just click on the Gaudi label below.
I still don’t have much time to browse your blogs, but, as I am finally going back to work tomorrow, after 100 days of convalescence, I should, strangely enough, have more time.
2 new blogs coming up soon!!!
Not many straight lines to be seen in this building! It is the Casa Batllo, on Passeig de Gracia, a house renovated by Antonio Gaudi. We will bring you more of this unique place in the next few days.
This is, by the way, post 500. We’ve come a long way.
We passed the Palau de la Musica yesterday, and I just can’t resist showing you the facade.
This is for My world Tuesday. Click here to see more.
I am having a very busy week, barely any time to browse your blogs. Will be back asap.
Yep, that’s me 3 days ago. Came home today, after a remarquably fast operation (4 1/2 hours) and recovery at hospital, exactly a week. I still feel I’ve just been run over by a bus, AND beaten up by 20 thugs for a couple of hours, but the doctors say it will pass. Eventually.
But anyway, this is inside the very modern intensive care unit, ICU, with some extremely capable and friendly staff. Thanks to all of them!
Will be back blogging, but maybe on a slow burner for a while. Thanks for all your get well wishes!
Photo courtesy of Mandy, obviously!
As my health is quite poor at the moment (gonna be fixed soon!), haven’t been out for a photoshoot in ages. Therefore, thanks to the guy or girl who invented the notion of archives!!!
So… This is just another of Gaudi’s amazing mosaics, to be found in Parque Guell.
The Casa Bruno Quadras (or Cuadros) was built in 1883, a few years before the 1888 Universal Exhibition in Barcelona. The architect Josep Vilaseca combined the prior style of modernisme with all kinds of architectural elements inspired by other cultures in an eclectic building which amazes everyone who walks along La Rambla. The Casa Bruno Cuadros’s balconies and the top-floor gallery are replete with Egyptian imagery. The façade features elaborate sgraffito work and stained-glass windows as well as reliefs of umbrellas and fans made of cast-iron. Orientalist motifs impregnate the outer walls which features intricate carpentry, enamelled glass and paintings of people taken from Japanese prints. The Casa Bruno Cuadros’s most opulent decorative element is the ornate Chinese dragon on the corner of the façade. It was used to advertise the shop, together with the umbrella below it. The building was refurbished in 1980, and a bank now has its premises in the stunning umbrella shop of Barcelona.
After yesterday’s stone bridge built by Antonio Gaudi, let us remain with this great man a while longer.
One of his absolute masterpieces was the Casa Mila, better known as ‘la Pedrera’ the stone quarry.
Owned by a bank, it used to be Rosario Segimon and Pere Milà’s home. A rather magnificent home. Built for them by Gaudi from 1905 till 1912.
It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Open to visits (10 euros, which is cheap for Barcelona), it also hosts a museum and modernism shop, and an exhibition center which is usually free of charge. We saw a very nice Maillol exhibition there last winter.
On the photo, you can see one of the somptuous gates.
Want to know more? Here is what Wiki says to it.
Monsieur Louis la Vache has a thing about bridges. After being invited to join his meme, I thought: hmmm… Bridges in BCN??? Very few of them around.
Then I started looking… And you know what? I found some bridges!
Here is a particularly fancy one, created by none other than Antonio Gaudi (Barcelona’s architectural god) himself. It is situated in Parque Guell, and as you see, you can even have a picnic underneath!
We have been asked several times how we do it. Well…
First, the material. Mandy uses an old Fuji S3500, 4 MP. Rob uses mostly SLDR, a Sony @230, 10 MP, with several lenses, a Sony 17-55 mm, another Sony 55-200, and a 10 years old analogic 75-300 mm Minolta lens, with is usable on a SLDR and becomes a very nice digital 112 to 450 mm zoom (see the moon photos, for example).
Almost none of our photos are SOOC, straight out of the camera. We use a lot of enhancement programs, like GIMP, Artizen, some versions of Photoshop, Paint.net, Picassa, Raw Therapee, etc. We will go very soon into HDR, once we have a good handle on it (have a look at this one!).
We do not ‘cheat’, we simply think that these tools are really good, they do a lot to improve the quality of what we do. They are available, so we use them.
All we hope to do is a good quality blog, with good quality photos, a bit a humor now and then. And we truly hope you enjoy our… work? No, it is and will always be a hobby.
On the very first place in what we try to do is the intense satisfaction of creating a thing of beauty. This makes us happy, and that’s all we want.
Words, words words. Let us stop them and just enjoy some more bridge photos, here .
La Casa Fuster. Should you be looking for a better place to stay on a romantic holiday in Barcelona, I suppose this is the place!
It is one of the best examples of modernism. Built in 1908 by Gaudi’s contemporary Lluis Domenech i Montaner, it was a gift from the Señor Fuster to his wife, with the underlying intention to make the city of Barcelona more beautiful. Nice guy!
Now, for the last 10 years, it has been a hotel. Click here for more info.
This is a turret on top of a former textile factory (yes, even factories are nice here). The factory became a warehouse, then stables and garages for the national police force.
It is now one of the many (73 at the last count) museums in town, the Caixaforum. Modern art, temporary exhibitions (right now one about the great Federico Fellini).
Puig i Cadafalch completed the Casaramona factory in 1911, culminating his art-nouveau period with it. The building features the simplicity and clarity of the thoroughly worked-out masterpiece: its bare brickwork is topped by Catalan vaults resting on castiron columns and enclosing light-filled, spacious workshops. Its response to the triumph of the horizontal that was characteristic of the local Gothic style is presented through the rhythm of its battlements on the one hand, but also and more particularly through the bold aspect conferred on the building by its two slender towers. It was awarded the City Council’s prize for the best industrial building in that same year.
The architects Arata Isozaki, Francisco Javier Asarta, Roberto Luna and Robert Brufau all played their part in the refurbishment and extension work.
A couple of lamps at the MNAC, with a very distinctive modernist style, what they probably would call Art Nouveau in Paris, I suppose.
For the invisible man we posted yesterday, it must be quite easy during summer: I suppose he just takes his clothes off, puts on some suncream, and keeps the hat, supposing, of course, that he really is invisible. If he isn’t, no big problem: enough people roam the streets totally naked in the summer in Barcelona. Legally.
Must be much more difficult for this Dragon Man, in his very fancy, and seemingly very hot costume.
And a warm welcome to Regina from Kilauea, Hawaii, our 250th follower!
Yes, we saw him, with our own eyes! In the Parque Guell!
Underneath the Parque Guell’s main square, underneath the serpent bench, Gaudi built a very special kind of music room. Supported by 86 doric columns, the vaulted ceiling reverberates the sounds, and it is a good place for buskers and other musicians. The 2 photos above show some of the decorations on the ceiling.
2 more views of the columns themselves.
The Parque Guell, 17ha or 42 acres, was originally meant as a city. As every city, it has a main square, with a fantastic view over the city and the Med.
And there is a public bench. Just one. Well, it is the longest in the world, 826 meters, half a mile. The bench is in the shape of a sea snake, and decorated with broken tiles, in a technique known as trencadis. Here is a view of a part of it.
And some more detailled views of the tiles.
I have a couple of days off, the weather today is awesome, so we decided to go to Parque Guell, on a photo shoot. Parque Guell, or Guell’s park, was built between 1900 and 1914 by Antonio Gaudi, and named after Count Eusebi Guell, Gaudi’s patron. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Well, the park is a fantastic place. We took over 230 photos, so we do have plenty to show you, a bit later.
Let’s start with the dragon, aka the lizard, aka the thing. You’ll find his picture in absolutely every single guide book about Barcelona. I was a bit reticent showing it earlier, as I didn’t really want this blog to be just another tourist thing. But it didn’t happen, so here it is.
You’ll almost have to queue to get a picture of the dragon alone, as EVERYBODY wants to be on a picture with it. Anyway, 10 minutes, and a bit a cropping to get to this. Enjoy!
Much more about the park in the next few days, or here, as soon as I choose and post something.
I am starting today a small series about the MNAC, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The Museum is celebrating it’s 75th anniversary, with an exhibition called ‘Convidats d’Honor’, guest of honor. It’s a kind of best of the museum’s pieces, and it is worth the visit, believe me!
The first piece we want to show you is this wonderful catalan art nouveau dressing table, the finest we’ve ever seen. Wouldn’t you love to have it in your boudoir??? We would! Without the people in the mirror though.
The header, by the way, is another rendition of the museum’s cupola. The best way to see it is to sit down on one of the too comfortable sofas put there for this purpose. Lean back and enjoy, in other words!
Further derails of the Palau.
Reflections on the Palau de la Musica Catalana, the Palace of Catalan Music. It is a very interesting building, modernist but with a lovely touch of art nouveau. Covered with glass…
There is much more to say about the institution, as it is unfortunately in the centre of the biggest scandal to shake Barcelona in the last 10 or 15 years. Apparently the management of the Palau used many millions of euros for their own… needs, travels, cars, houses, etc. Are they in jail? No, they just had to surrender their passports… As I said, BIG scandal. And a big loss for the wonderful Catalan culture.
Welcome back to Passeig de Gracia, the street full of weird and wonderful buildings.
This is Casa Amatller. Built between 1898 and 1900 by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, for the chocolate king Antoni Amatller, and inspired by 17th century dutch townhouses. The sculptures are by Eusebi Arnau. Another fine example of modernism. Very very touristic, of course, very long queues to actually visit the building. Haven’t had the time yet to do it, but I will, asap. And I’ll take some pictures, promised!
Much more info about this museum here.
No, it isn’t, believe it or not! This is the Casa Batlló, built for a middle-class family (!), and remodeled by Gaudi. Not a lot of straight lines in there, very organic! Locals call it the bone house.
The building itself is situated in Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s Champs Elysées, and is an absolute tourist magnet, as you can imagine! For myself, I just love it! Then you wonder where Hundertwasser got his ideas from!
Here is a detail of the house:
Want to know more about it? No problem, just click here! Wiki will help!
The Casa next door is about as crazy. More about it… later, in another post.