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World Watch: Barcelona is the place for art freaks

If you are an art freak, or dream of Roman, Gothic and Neo-classical architecture, Barcelona is the place you should head for.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2005 13:20 IST

If you are an art freak, or dream of Roman, Gothic and Neo-classical architecture, Barcelona is the place you should head for

Stylish and uber- sophisticated with an amalgamation of Gothic, Roman and Neo-classical architecture, Barcelona is a traveller’s haven, miles away from tourist clichés. While the best time to visit the city is spring and early summer, this city rocks all year round.

Gaudi’s paradise Famous Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi’s Gothic style architecture infuses the city with a surreal charm. One can spend hours gazing at the sensuous design style of Gaudi’s that had established him as the leader of the Spanish Nouveau Art movement.

Worth seeing are: n Casa Batllo: The facade looks like it has been made from skulls and bones. The ‘skulls’ are in fact balconies and the ‘bones’ are supporting pillars. n Casa Mila: This was a multi family housing complex with futuristic and expressionistic forms. n Colonia Guell: This chapel combines traditional architecture with the originality of the architect. n Park Guell: Planned as a housing complex this has now been transformed into a gorgeous park. n Sagrada Familia: This temple of the Holy Family, construction of which started in the late 19th century will continue till 2040. Despite being an unfinished structure, the grandeur is breath-taking.

Las Ramblas Walking down the 1.2 km promenade through the city centre one can see stalls, restaurants, bars and street performers of all kinds till the early hours of the morning.

The walk stretches from Monument la Column to Placa de Catalunya. Wander into gullis and streets en-route and discover shops of all varieties. Museums If you want to feast your eyes on Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque art then visit the neo-baroque-styled Palau National (the National Palace) which houses the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.

Museum lovers can visit Picasso’s Museum which has over 3,500 of his works that document not just his signature style but also his relationship with the city. Outside the palace is Font Màgica or the Magic Fountain. The biggest of Montjuïc’s famous fountains, Font Màgica splashes an irresistible extravaganza of music and light. Also in the neighbourhood is a faux Spanish village, Poble Espanyol, and the 1991 Olympic complex.

If you are satiated with your visits to heritage buildings, walk across to the Port Vell complex which has shops, cinemas, bars and restaurants. Behind this is Barcelona’s aquarium, the largest aquarium in Europe where one can walk down an 80 metre long tunnel locking eyes with Mediterranean sharks.

First Published: Dec 29, 2005 13:20 IST