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Home » Tourism & Travel Guides » Travel Guides » Barcelona Travel Guide » Itineraries » El Eixample

Barcelona Travel Guide

El Exiample

El Eixample or "Enlargement" is the central area of the city of Barcelona and is formed by a grid take layout of streets with diamond-shaped intersections. It reflects the expansion in the city during the last third of the 19th century.

Our walk begins at the Plaça de Catalunya(23). Proceeding up the Passeig de Gràcia, between the Plaça de Catalunya and the street of Gran Via de les Cortes Catalanes, we see some characteristic neogothic structures. Before arriving at the Gran Via, on the street of Casp we can stop to look at three notable buildings: the Tívoli Theater(24), now a cimena, the Casal de Sant Jordi, the work of Francesc Folguera, and last of all, the Casa Calvet(25) by Antoni Gaudí at number 48.

At the intersection of the Passeig de Gràcia and the Gran Via, there are two unique buildings. On the left of the Passeig de Gràcia, we see the former Palau Marcet, now a cimena, and on the right, Joyería Roca (Jewelry Store) designed by Josep Lluís Sert. After taking a right at the Gran Via and proceeding to the intersection of C. Pau Claris, are find the interesting modernist Vilardell pharmacy(26). After turning left on C. Pau Claris, continue walking until you reach Ptge. Permanyer, with its low houses and English-style gardens.

Gothic Quarter
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Returning to Passeig de Gràcia, on the left-hand side between C. Consell de Cent and C. Arragó, we encounter the famous Mançana de la Discòrdia, (apple of discord; "mançana" meaning both apple and city block), so named because of the contrasting architecture of three of its buildings, all from the first decade of the 20th century. The Casa Lleó Morera(27), is the work of Lluís Domènech i Montaner, with its modernist floral façade; the Casa Amatller(28), a few steps up, is a neogothic building built by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and decorated with polychrome ceramic on the façade; and finally the Casa Batlló(29), the work of Antoni Gaudí, with its sparkling mosaic façade using dragon-like forms and punctuated with round ceramic plaques. A few yards further down the street of C. Aragó is the iron and brick building by Domènech i Montaner housing the Antoni Tàpies Foundation(30). The roof of the building is crowned with a sculpture by the artist.

Standing at the intersection of Passeig de Gràcia and C. Provença, we encounter the world-renowned Casa Milà(31) by Antoni Gaudí, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Know also as La Pedrera (The Stone Quarry) it is an authentic abstract sculpture where the curve prevails. It is presently the site of the Caixa de Catalunya Foundation. The two courtyards can be visited, in addition to the roof with its fantastic array of chimneys and ventilators.

At the corner of Av. Diagonal and Rambla de Catalunya, we find the interesting Casa Serra(32) by Puig i Cadafalch. A right turn at Av. Diagonal will take us to Casa Comalat(33), the modernist building by Valeri who designed some interesting wooden galleries, and opposite it, the small Palau Baró de Quadras(34) by Puig i Cadafalch, the current site of the Music Museum. After turning right at C. Roger de Llúrica and crossing C. Mallorca, we come to Palau Montaner(35), the work of Domènech i Montaner, decorated with polychrome ceramic. On C. Mallorca, between C. Roger de Llúrica and C. Bruc, we find Casa Thomas(36), an unusual neogothic structure designed by the same architect. At the intersection of C. Roger de Llúria and C. Aragó, we can view the 12th century Gothic Church of La Concepció(37), transferred between 1871 and 1888 to its present site. Next to it is La Concepció Market(38), an interesting structure of iron and glass.

From C. Aragó, take C. Bruc until arriving at the intersection with C. València, where the noucentist Conservatori Municipal de Música(39), (Municipal Conservatory of Music) designed by Antoni Folguera can be found. On C. València at the corner of Passeig Sant Joan, we see the Church of Las Salesas(40), neogothic creation by Joan Martorell which brought about the renewed use of polychrome ceramics. At number 108 on Passeig de Sant Joan, we find the Palau Macaya(41), by Puig i Cadafalch, seat of the "La Caixa" Foundation.

Either C. Provença or C. Mallorca will lead to the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia(42) (Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family) initiated by Antoni Gaudí. The unifinished church is a symbolic structure with three main façades representing the Nativity on the east, the Passion and Death on the west, and the Glory planned on the south. The scheme of four towers on each façade represents the twelve Apostles. The dome crowning the apse is the symbol of the Virgin. The naves are supported by a complicated structural system of inclined columns and parabolic arches. The wall of the apse is adorned with unusual and original plant and animal motifs. The Nativity façade is also decorated with organic forms, and its four 107 m. spires with polychromes mosaics crown the three doors of the façade. The west façade is in an advanced stage of construction, undetaken by a group of architects who are following Gaudi's original design.

Metro: Lines 1 (Catalunya), 2 (Passeig de Gràcia), 3 (Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia and Diagonal), 4 (Passeig de Gràcia) and 5 (Diagonal).

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