Looming over Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882 and is nowhere near completion. The giant spires and grandeur are the design of Anton Gaudi who began construction of the gothic church. As a privately funded venture tourists can become sponsors of the church by paying for a tour of the finished sections come 2010.
While much of Barcelona is in the gothic style some parts differ greatly. More of Gaudi’s work, and that of his rivals, can be seen in the Paseo de Gracia. Gaudi’s re-visitation of a 19th century home shows off some of his best work as the Batlo House. Immediatly next door, his rival, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, created the Amatlles House using a cubical design. A stroll further down the lane lands visitors at Lleo Morera House designed by Domenech I Montaner. This art nouveau approach to architecture adds a third perspective to the Spanish style.
Further afield, the Montserrat Monastery in Catalonia is one of the world’s most beautiful monasteries sitting at the base of a 4,000ft summit. Legend has it that construction of the house of worship was halted when they were unable to move the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat. The architect then built the large building around Her. This miracle has made the monks’ home a site of pilgrimage for many Christians.
For some, the exterior architecture is irrelevant when deciding a building’s beauty. It is the ambiance within that makes a place worth noting. Many of Spain’s restaurants have re-done their interiors to reflect traditional Spanish values. The Posada de la Villa brings the family hearth into the dining room and features wattle and daub style walls with high backed dining-room-table chairs. The menu offers traditional or Castilian food which brings an unforgettably Spanish smell into the air.
Don’t Just Read it, Experience it!