Barcelona Tour Guide
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Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous community in the northeast section of Spain. It is the second most populous city in Spain with over 1.6 million people. Spain is made up of 17 autonomous regions, with each region given limited power free from the central government. Barcelona was founded as a Roman city. It was conquered by the Visigoths in the 5th century and again by the Arabs in the 8th century. In the late 10th century, Barcelona was pillaged by the army of Almanzor. Most of the people were either killed or enslaved. In 1469, King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castille married leading to the unified country of Spain with Catalonia becoming part of it. Today, Barcelona and Catalonia remain part of Spain but tensions have risen over the years. In 2017, Catalans went out to vote on a referendum that would give the region its' independence. Spanish courts tried to block the vote leading to violence. The vote still took place but it was declared to be illegal and suspended by the Constitutional Court of Spain.
Fun Fact Barcelona was the host city for the 1992 Summer Olympics
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Top Historical Places
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Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
The Magic Fountain was designed by Carles Buïgas in 1928 for the 1929 Universal Exposition. It sits on the former site of The Four Columns. The fountain uses 3620 jets and over 700 gallons of water to create the impressive visual display. Check the hours ahead of time as the days and times vary by the time of year.
Barcelona is famous for its grand architecture, which includes some impressive works by Antonio Gaudi, including Park Guell.
Walking through Park Guell feels like a stroll through a real-life fairytale. From the entrance is the Dragon Stairway, an icon of the park with the famous dragon sculpture separating its three sections. At the top of the park is a terraced area for enjoying a jaw-dropping view of the park with the magnificent city serving as the backdrop.
The park can be very busy and only a limited number of guest are allowed to visit each hour. Make sure you purchase tickets ahead of time.
The Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic Church and Basilica that is mostly unfinished. The Basilica is an active construction site and has been in the process of being built since 1882. It is estimated that the building structure will be completed in 2026 and the decorations by 2032.
Today, you can visit the completed portions of the structure. These areas include the Nave, the Crypt, the Museum, the Gift Shop, and two of the towers (Passion and Nativity). Although the original structure was completely funded by private patron donations, today the construction of the church is paid for by ticket sales to the site. You should purchase tickets in advance to book the day and time that matches your travel schedule.
Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor
The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, or the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is a Roman Catholic Church that sits on the summit of Mount Tibidabo. Although the Church is of Neo Gothic design, it is a relatively new church, opened and completed in 1961.
On the top of the church is a massive statue of Jesus Christ made from bronze and standing 23 feet tall.
If you visit on a nice day, you'll be welcomed by panoramic views of Barcelona. This is not the easiest location to get to. You can take a a combination of the funicular and the bus depending on how adventurous you are. We found that the bus from the funicular to the church to be crowded when we went. The buses were small and required an extended wait before we found one with room to get on. You will want to take a taxi there and back if you don't have much time.
My family moved to Barcelona in 1895 after my sister passed away. I've always felt a special connection to the city. Today, the Museu Picasso in Barcelona holds over 4,200 pieces of my work.