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Barcelona is the second largest city of Spain and a capital of Catalonia. Today it is considered as one of the worlds major global cities. Founded by Romans and later being one of the largest Mediterranean cities in the Aragon Kingdom, it have a large historical and cultural heritage behind. Many of Barcelona's artworks are included in UNESCO's world heritage. Here are my TOP 15 list of things you have to see in Barcelona.
La Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of Gaudi.The unfinished “Holy Family” church is a testament to Antonio Gaudi’s vision: the art of the impossible. This building is the best-known example of modernism and has become the symbol of Barcelona.
La Rambla – a beautiful shopping and walking boulevard, where you can see crowds at any hour of the day. Here you will see many historical buildings, cafes and food market. You will meet friendly human statues in costumes and face-paint from fairies and legends. The name La Rambla is derived from Arabic, signifying a dry riverbed – which it was until 14th century. The stream was paved over and it developed into a pedestrian-only boulevard. About half way down the boulevard, to the left as you face the port, is the Placa Reial, a big square with cafes, palm trees and arcades, designed by Antonio Gaudi.
Casa Mila (La Pedrera) architecture. Antonio Gaudi’s avant-garde apartment building Casa Mila which is also known as la Pedrera (Stone Quarry) for its wavy mass of limestone. The exterior looks like carved out of nature: It undulates like ocean waves along the Passeig de Gracia and around the corner to Provenca Street.
Blue Tram to Tibidabo. High above Barcelona is Tibidabo Mountain that has been a popular getaway destination for Barcelonans since the early 1800s for its cooler temperatures and panoramic views of the city and the sea. The historic Blue Tram carries visitors to an overlook with bars and restaurants, neo-Ghotic church and an amusement park.
Visit Palau de la Musica, yet another modernist masterpiece, built in 1908. A daytime guided excursion addresses the architecture, but there is nothing like experiencing a concert here.
Port Olimpic and Mediterranean beaches - The long stretches of sand are lined with palm trees, public sculptures, bars and restaurants, as well as paths for walking and biking. The strand and yacht harbour has developed in 1992 when Barcelona was preparing for Olimpic games.
Barcelona Aquarium – L’Aquarium de Barcelona is Europe’s second largest aquarium with 21 glass tanks with different marine habitants. The highlight is a long , glass enclosed tunnel, which creates the effect of fish and sharks swimming around and over you!
Mercat de la Boceria – probably Europe’s largest and most dynamic food market. Walk among the more than 300 stalls and several small bars and restaurants to see and smell an amazing gastronomic scene.
Park de Ciutadella with Zoo – Barcelona’s largest city park is a great place to relax with a lot of green space, huge mammoth’s sculpture, a large pond and boats, a massive Gaudi-designed fountain, and a nice old greenhouse. In the park is located also zoo with more than 4000 animals.
Arc de Triomf – it was built for the Universal Exhibition in 1888 as a huge entrance gates into Parc de Ciutadella . The massive red brick Arc de Triomf stands on a wide pedestrian boulevard, lined with palm trees , that leads right into Parc de Ciutadella with many exhibitions, Barcelona Zoo and catalane house of parliament. One of much-photographed landmarks of Barcelona.
Parc de Guel, an open-air park on the hillside, designed by Gaudi, with sculptures, mosaic benches, palm trees, mosaic covered lizard fountain and more. From there you can see much of Barcelona laid down beneath your feet, including La Sagrada Familia and the Tween towers on the beach. There you can visit also the Casa-Museu Gaudi, a small museum about Gaudi’s life and work.
Visit an old town Barri Gothic. Barcelona was founded in 15 A.D. by the Romans. It expanded outside the ancient walls in 11th century, but sections of them still remain. There you can visit also Catedral de Barcelona – a great example of gothic architecture – built in 14th century.
Barceloneta – Mediterranean beach….Ohh, and you can even rent a bicycle! Or visit Palau de Mar, the Musum of Catalan history…
Pablo Picasso museum – Pablo Picasso has spent much of his youth and early creative years in Barcelona on his way to becoming the most famous artist of XX century. This museum is the largest collection of his artworks in Spain, holding 2500 paintings and sculptures. The Picasso museum occupies several 15th century palaces on a nice pedestrian-only street lined with medieval mansions.
Get a taste of Catalunya…Visit the old monastery cleaved in mountain Montserrat or visit the white town Sitges or birthplace of Salvador Dali…Sample Read More
Coliseum (Colosseum) – the Flavian amphitheatre (A.D.72-80) never fails to impress. At the height of Roman Empire, games were held here very often. In times of special celebration games could last for weeks or months. Free tickets were distributed to 65 000 Romans who could be seated in arena very easily, thanks to an efficient system of 80 numbered entrance/exit passageways.
Capitoline Hill and Roman Forum. The most sacred of Rome’s hills wa given its present look in the 1500s, when Michelangelo designed the star-patterned square and surrounding buildings of the Capitoline museums. The bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius is a copy, the original from 2nd century is inside the museum. Don’t miss the great panorama to Roman Forum from the south-facing terraces. These are the ruins of 2000 years old temples, law courts and victory monuments where the Western history has been made for almost 1000 years.
Pantheon(‘temple to all gods’) – it was designed and possibly built by Hadrian from A.D. 118 to 125, in a form governed by circles and squares – shapes which the human body most naturally occupies. It is the best preserved and most elegant ancient building in the city, if not in the world.
St. Peters Basilica – the major Christianity centre and largest church in the world, built by architects Donato Bramante and Michelangelo in 1506-1626 to replace an older basilica built by Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, in 349 A.D. In this very place on Vatican Hill the Saint Peter, the chief apostle , was buried in 64 A.D.
Visit Sant’Angelo Castle, a majestic building on the right bank of Tiber river! During its almost 2000 years of history it has been first a mausoleum, than became a part of the city wall and later was turned into fortress, before it functioned as a papal residence and at last as a barracks and military prison. Nowdays it is a national museum. It was built by Roman Emperor Hadrian 123-139 A.D.
Trevi Fountain – largest and most famous Baroque fountain in Italy, standing 85 feet high and 65 feet across, with a number of statues and ornaments It can be found in Rome’s Piazza di Trevi . It was built by architect Nicola Salvi (1732-62). Water flows from the mouth of the dominating figure--Neptune, god of the sea--standing atop a shell-shaped chariot drawn by two sea horses and two gods. The horses represent the changing mood of the sea. The larger statue on the left is a representation of the goddess Abundance, above whom is a bas-relief depiction of Agrippa, the son-in-law of the 19 B.C. emporer, approving the plans for construction of the aqueduct. On the right is the god Salubrity, topped by a representation of the virgin directing soldiers toward the water.
Piazza del Poppolo – ‘the Peoples Square’, a large and popular urban square next to old cities wall and decorated entrance gates. In the very center of Piazza del Poppolo stands an marble 36 meters high obelisk to Egyptian pharaoh Sety I created by his successor Ramses II. The square holds also 2 nice fountains, decorated with statues of old Roman gods.
Visit the Spanish Steps and climb up the hill from Spanish square to the Trinita dei Monti church at the top. Spanish steps consists of 138 steps and is the widest monumental staircase in Europe.
Catacombs of San Callisto – nineteen kilometres (12 miles) and four levels of hand-dug tunnels make up the underground network of Rome’s largest catacombs where are placed the tombs of half a million Christians, buried here from 1st to 4th centuries A.D. Deep within the complex, a labyrinth of 9m high (30-ft)tunnels , whose walls are perforated up to the ceiling with tomb niches, experience is very impressive.
Tiber Island – this island in the middle of river Tibra , between the Ghetto and Trastevere is an oasis of calm. Check out the lower promenade with its great views to the river and ancient bridges nearby.
Visit Galleria Doria Pamphilj . Masterpieces collected by the Doria Pamphilj family – one of the most influential in Roman history – include works by Caravaggio, Guercino, Raphael, Titian and Velazques.
Visit the Crypt of the Capuchin monks to experience really unforgettable emotions! It is located in Rome, Italy, beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccin on Via Veneto, near Barbarini Square. The bones in this crypt are nailed to the wall and arranged in patterns: cross, floral, arch, triangle and circle, as well as forming objects. A large clock is composed of vertebrae, foot bones and finger bones. The single hour hand represents the idea that time has no beginning or end. The crypt started back in 1631, when the Capuchin monks (who got their name from the hood attached to their cloaks, “capuce”) brought with them the bones of their deceased brethren after their original church was destroyed by the flooding of the Tiber river.Sample Read More
London is surely the largest city in the European Union with population over 8 million, many historic places, museums, architectural features and parks, shopping centres and historical street markets – it would take a book to encompass everything. I had to pick just a few most significant in my view.
Kensington Gardens – Originally a part of Hyde Park, the 111 hectare (274 acre) Kensington Gardens were partitioned into an exclusive preserve of royalty in the 18th century, and were opened to the public only in early 1800s. Originally laid out in Dutch style (emphasizing water, avenues and topiaries), the attractive gardens are especially popular with families.
London’s Eye Take photos from the top of the London Eye. The top of this Ferris Wheel is the best place to get a perfect shot on London’s far-reaching landscape. The Tickets better to buy on internet.
Westminster Abbey - Westminster abbey is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in Europe. Some 3300 memorials to kings, nobles and an assortment of church worthies are here to view.
Big Ben. The iconic Clock tower at the eastern end of the Palace of Westminster has come to be known as Big Ben, though that this appellation really refers to the largest bell in the clock’s chime. The 14-ton bell, installed in 1858, is believed to be named for the commissioner of public works of the time – Sir Benjamin Charles. Big Ben tower is 96 meters high.
Houses of Parliament – the immense 3-hectare (7.4 acre) Palace of Westminster is a splendid example of Gothic Revival architecture and dates back to 1840 (the original palace was completely destroyed by fire in 1834)
Tower of London Built by William the Conqueror in 1066, this fortress was added to by subsequent generations of kings and queens up to the Victorian Age, and is now an incomparable collection of buildings that reflect the range of England’s architectural styles over the past millennium. The Tower has a bloody past marked by power struggles, executions and cruelty.
Tower Bridge has spanned the Thames since 1894. It’s a beautiful neo-Gothic bridge with skeleton of steel girders clothed with ornate masonry using Cornish granite and Portland stone designed to harmonize elegantly with the neighbouring Tower of London. Tour participants can also ascend to the bridges top level for a bird’s-eye view of the Tower of London and Thames, 43 meters (141 ft.) below.
Tate Britain The Tate Britain, located on the bank of Thames, is one of England’s most prestigious art museums. The Tate features a collection consisting chiefly of British art from the 16th century to the dawn of 20th century. The notable British artists whose works you can see here include satirist William Hogarth, illustrator William Blake, portraitist Thomas Gainsborough, traditionalist Joshua Reynolds and others. The Tate Gallery was opened in 1894 thanks to generous donations of money and art from sugar mogul Sir Henry Tate.
Tate Modern – Britain’s premier modern art museum, located on the opposite bank of Thames. Here you will find some of the world’s most important and exciting art represented in works by Dali, Matisse, Picasso, Duchamp, Klee and others. Think of the most ground-breaking artists of the last century and you will most likely find some of their works here.
Visit the Buckingham Palace, the queens famous abide in London (if the yellow-and-red Royal standard is flying, it means she’s there). It is located in a calm place in between two great parks – St. James’s park and Green park – with a statue of Victoria in front of the palace.
Trafalgar Square – the square is named after Britain’s most revered naval hero, Horatio Viscount Nelson, who fell at the Battle of Trafalgar (the most fierce naval battle of the Napoleonic wars) in 1805. His statue stands on top of a 44 meter (144-ft.)pillar of granite guarded by kingly lions at the base. Street lamps around are decorated with small replicas of the ships he commanded. The square is the scene of many rallies, demonstrations and celebrations, and it’s perfect for people watching.
St. James’s Park – arguably the prettiest park in London. The former swamp was tidied up in 18th century and now it’s a very nice park with a duck and pelican pond, lots of squirrels asking to be feeded, and numerous paths lined up with flower beds.
Greenwich – visit the Royal Observatory and National Maritime museum here, put your feet on the Prime Meridian of the world! The Royal Observatory was founded in 1675 and designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It is the home of the Prime Meridian (Longitude 0° 0' 0") and GMT - Greenwich Mean Time. You can also learn all about the world famous Harrison marine timekeepers, modern methods of astronomy and much more. A few steps from there you can also visit a National Maritime museum, the Old Royal Naval College and Royal Hospital from the 17th century.
Canary Wharf – If you want to see a completely different, non-traditional, very modern and may be futuristic London, you should go to Canary Wharf! It’s about half an hour from the historical centre of London, one of the two major financial centres of London. It contains many of the UK’s tallest buildings and is a home to the world or European headquarters of numerous major banks, professional services firms, media organizations. The best way to get there is by Docklands Light Railway (DLR)- the first automated regular train service in London without a driver.Sample Read More
Cathedrale de Notre-Dame – one of the world’s most iconic cathedrals. Founded in 1160 by Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, Notre-Dame witnessed the passing of wars of religion and centuries of kings (Napoleon also was crowned as emperor here in 1804). By the 19th century it had fallen into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition until author Victor Hugo led a successful campaign for its restoration.
La Conciergerie. The fairy-tale towers that soar above the north end of the island Ile de la Cite near the pont Neuf lead you to the fortress where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before her execution.Its intimidating look is largely because of an makeover in 1850s, but most of the building is much older – several parts date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when it was a royal palace.
Musee de Louvre This was once the world’s largest royal palace. In 1527 Francois I demolished most of the old castle to build a new one. The new building of the Louvre was completed over centuries. The long gallery (where the Mona Lisa is now) was first used as a museum in 1793. Now it’s one of the world’s largest museums, the Louvre stretches for almost a kilometre.
The Pompidou Centre – Paris’s most avant-garde building and one of the world’s leading modern and contemporary art museums. The permanent collections cover 20th and 21st century art, with some 40, 000 rotating works.
The Marais – have a stroll around the winding medieval streets in the Marais district – traditionally the cities old Jewish quarter and home to magnificent 17th and 18th century mansions (called hotels). You can spend hours perusing its charming boutiques, tiny Jewish bakeries and absorbing museums. Here in Marais is the oldest square of Paris – Place de Vosgues – remarkable for it’s perfect symmetry, formed by 36 red-brick-and-stone arcades with sharply pitched roofs. In 1615 a 3-day party was held here to celebrate Louis XII’s marriage to Anne of Austria.
Hotel des Invalides – the imposing les Invalides complex , with its symmetrical corridors and beautiful Dome church, was built in 1670 by Louis XIV as a military hospital (it still is in parts) and a showpiece of the Sun King’s military power. Nowadays inside, along with accoutrements of Napoleon’s life and death, is the Musee de l’Armee (Museum of Army), with enough weaponry to mount another revolution. In the Dome church you can see also Napoleon’s tomb with giant statues representing his victories.
Arc de Triomphe – the world’s largest Arc of Triumph was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 to commemorate the victories of his Grand Armee. The monument is engraved with the names of hundreds of generals who commanded French troops in Napoleonic victories. The arch was finished in 1836 after Napoleon’s death. His remains brought from St.Helena in 1840, passed under it on the journey to his final resting place at the Hotel des Invalides.
The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) – the symbol of Paris. It was built by Gustav-Alexandre Eiffel (also the author of Statue of Liberty in USA) in 1889 for the Universal Exhibition. It is 317 m (1,040 ft.) high, weighs 7,000 tons and is well seen from anywhere in Paris. From the top of the Eiffel Tower you can see for 65 km (40miles). Inside the tower’s lacy ironwork are restaurants, bars and historic memorabilia. But to get the best view of the Tour Eiffel itself (and the best photo opportunities) it is advised to go with metro to Trocadero and walk from the Palais the Chaillot gardens across the river Seine!
Montmartre – one of the most historic and interesting neighbourhoods in the North of Paris, located on the hill which is 130 meters high. Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed Basilica the Sacré Coeur on its top, seen from afar, as well as a district for artists and nightclubs. Many artists had studios or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. The other, older, church on the hill is Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded.
Le Pantheon was built as a church , dedicated to the patroness of Paris Sainte-Genevieve between 1757 and 1791. But due to the French Revolution it was turned into a memorial to accommodate the remains of the great persons of France, i.e. Pantheon. The majestic 83 meter high Dome of Le Pantheon stands on the top of 61 meter high Sainte Genevieve hill on the left bank of river Seine. Le Pantheon now houses among others the remains of Pierre and Marie Curie, the physicists who discovered radioactivity, Voltaire, Rousseau and Victor Hugo, three famous French writers and philosophers.
Disneyland Paris – with 50 million annual visitors, Disneyland Paris is the number-one tourist attraction in Paris. It’s also a blessing for travellers with kids who have wearied of the museums and churches and just want to go on the rides for one day! There is not much difference between this amusement park and those in Florida and California. The two main parks are : Disneyland Park with its five lands – Adventureland , Fantasyland, Discoveryland, Frontierland and Main Street, USA – and Walt Disney Studio Park, split into lots.Sample Read More