Barcelona’s Public Art

“Barcelona is Gaudí’s” –Kamand Kojouri

Our second day in Barcelona started with a city tour. The local tour guide took us to the different iconic architecture which were mostly the Catalan Gothic style and the Modernisme. This second one was a cultural movement at the end of the 19th century protagonized by Antoni Gaudi.

One of the most famous of Gaudi’s architecture is La Sagrada Familia, a large unfinished Roman Catholic church that has been under construction since 1882.

If you were to visit only one church in Europe, then Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is it. It is Spain’s iconic and most visited landmark and although it is still a long way to be finished, La Sagrada Familia was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, because of its unique architecture. This was originally intended to be a church, but in 2010, it was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI as a basilica.

The first stone was set in 1882 and in 1883, Antoni Gaudi joined the project.

Once Gaudi took over the project, he added the Gothic and Art Nouveau touch, which is completely his. However, he died at the age of 76, in 1962, when the building was only about 25% finished.

Gaudi was certain that he wouldn’t finish the project and according to him:

“There is no reason to regret that I cannot finish the church. I will grow old but others will come after me. What must always be conserved is the spirit of the work, but its life has to depend on the generations it is handed down to and with whom it lives and is incarnated.”

The spires of Gaudi’s architectural work was inspired by turtles, seashells, fruit, trees and other natural form. These steeples have fruit motif and resembled apples, oranges, grapes, etc.

In 2013, Jordi Fauli the current head architect, claimed that the basilica was already 65% finished. And according to him, this is set for completion on 2026, after 144 years of construction. But I guess, with the pandemic this may be delayed even more.

Sorry I have not gone inside but looking forward to when I can go back.

Casa Batllo was originally built in 1875, but not resembling the way it looks like today. It was bought by a rich businessman named Josep Batllo i Casanovas in 1903 and he decided to hire architect Antoni Gaudi for its renovation. Gaudí’s work on Casa Batllo was from 1904 to 1906.

Casa Mila is an unconventional building designed by Antoni Gaudi. The name Mila came from the fact that it was a home to the Mila family, occupying the main floor and rented out the rest of the other apartments. It is also known as La Pedrera, (stone quarry) because it resembles an open quarry in appearance.

The following are sculptures and architecture that are not by Gaudi, but they are all very eye-catching as well.

The Las Arenas de Barcelona is now a commercial shopping complex. The structure was first built and used as a bullfighting arena.

The Aduana Building at Port Vell in Barcelona is a Neoclassical building in the Square of the Gate of Peace opened in 1902,

The Aduana Building at Port Vell in Barcelona is a Neoclassical building in the Square of the Gate of Peace opened in 1902,

The architecture of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya was beautiful by day and fabulous by night when the Dancing Fountain lighted up and entertained us.

Bird’s eye view of Barcelona taken from the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

The Josep Maria Jujol designed water fountain in the centre of Placa d’Espanya.

Beside it are the Venetian Towers

A monument to Francesc Macia is a sculpture made in 1991 by Josep Maria Subirachs at Placa Catalunya. It is an upside down staircase which symbolises the step by step construction of Catalonia’s future. 

The Ohla Hotel designed by Catalan artist Frederic Amat.

An ornate lamppost in the Art Nouveau style in the streets of Barcelona.

And yes, in one of the restaurants in La Rambla, the tapas and the Paella were to die for…

In connection to Photographing Public Art Challenge


  1. Dora says:

    Such breathtaking beauty! The sunlit aura of Spain comes across so wonderfully in each of these shots.

    1. Teresa says:

      Thanks so much Dora and as usual for your lovely comment. Barcelona is really very artistic!

  2. Marsha says:

    I bet you went nuts there with so much to photograph. I would have. Your cover shot is so interesting with all the colors and those amazing balconies. What are all the eye pieces on the Ohla Hotel? The varieties of this city may be the most diverse of any city I’ve ever seen. The fact that building were started and finished over centuries of time might contribute to that. A totally fascinating post, Teresa. 🙂

    1. Teresa says:

      I was really like a kid in a toy store…looking left and right to see all the beautiful buildings…with mouth wide open haha

      1. Marsha says:

        That’s how I felt reading it. You and Sarah need to get together and create a visual history course. Your photos are almost out of this world – out of mine anyway. 🙂

        1. Teresa says:

          Haha … yes Sarah, I am not even in the least near her experiences.

          1. Marsha says:

            Me either, but your posts were similar explorations of architecture this week. 🙂

          2. Teresa says:

            Especially now… all of a sudden everything is on a standby especially here in Australia. I wonder when we can all go back to travelling? I am running out of photos from my archives haha

          3. Marsha says:

            Now there is a disaster. My friend Terri Webster Schrandt is visiting tonight. We went through our archives on our phones and shared some we remember from our past blog posts. Her husband took my phone and went on a tour of Coles Grocery Store. I haven’t shared many of those pictures on my blog. He was immersed in them for about 15-20 minutes. You never know, a picture that you forgot you had might charge someone else’s imagination. 🙂

          4. Teresa says:

            Now there you go… good things come out of unexpected situations.

          5. Marsha says:

            Yes, so it pays to be consistent with our voices online so we never mill an opportunity to share. 🙂

  3. picpholio says:

    Barcelona is a beautiful city and Gaudi is just a genius!
    Have a nice weekend.

    1. Teresa says:

      Genius indeed. All his work are just extraordinarily great 👍🏼

  4. Toonsarah says:

    What a great tour of Barcelona architecture!

    1. Teresa says:

      Thanks Sarah…glad you liked it!

  5. Cee Neuner says:

    Teresa, what an outstanding post filled up with wonderfully creative and detailed public art. WOWZA 😀

    1. Teresa says:

      Thanks so much Cee. Barcelona is it! 👍🏼

  6. Gaudi was a genius. We were just awed by Sagrada – so much detail, so much symbolism. So enjoyed reading this as it brought memories (and happiness that we got to see it before the pandemic hit).

    1. Teresa says:

      Thinking of going back in a few years because we failed to go in the Sagrada. Sorry for the late response.

      1. No worries. I was MIA myself for quite a bit 😉

  7. Julie says:

    Spain is one of the places on my bucket list!

    1. Teresa says:

      A must see. Wish you can go soon!

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