A journey through centuries on Barcelona legendary city streets.
While Catalonia associated with uniqueness is a hot topic in Europe, just as the Spanish sun is, it indeed holds a special vibe.
Barcelona or BCN is probably the most famous for the centuries-old “work in progress” church Sagrada da Familia and football. However, the capital of Catalonia has so much more of the legendary vibe that you could expect. From cafes frequented by Picasso and Dali to bunkers and best-view spots of the city from far-away (and slightly secret) places, you can dive into Barcelona magic when visiting these 7 wonders of Barcelona.
The Bar Marsella
Want to have a glass of absinthe in a historical atmosphere, with tiles worn out by centuries of Catalonians stepping in and out, sitting and drinking absynthe while enjoying bohemia of Barcelona nightlife? Opened in 1820 in El Raval, and famous for its drinks, the Marsella Bar is now a cult spot for tourists. However, the legendary spirit of Picasso and more recent visits by Hemingway are the bets tell-teller signs that there is something about the place, not just a tourist-booklet blown-out cult place.
If you are not visiting Barcelona just yet, you can get the vibe from Woody Allen’s movie “Vicky, Christie, Barcelona” where the two (and some handsome Spanish men) are dining just before going to listen to Spanish guitar troubadour in the park. The Bar Marsella is one of the best places to go after midnight, and while you cannot spot any prostitutes and thieves right outside as in 19th century, the sleaziness of Barcelona’s nightlife has not changed much since then. As for that, you should take out cash – there is no-credit-card policy there.
Also, keep in mind that no singing or dancing is tolerated. If that’s a bar, it’s for drinking, talking and enjoying food. There is a cult status, and you shall be in line with it.
Biblioteca de Catalunya in Barcelona
Barcelona is the centre for culture and arts, but also for knowledge. The Library of Catalonia is housed in a historical building of Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu de Barcelona.
BCN Library of Catalunya Building Architecture
While the hospital has been around for long, built between the 15th and 17th centuries, the library itself found its place here only in 1939. Once being the largest hospital of Catalonia, it is also one of the most important gothic ensembles you can find in the city. The first stone was laid in 1401, but it took 13 years for the hospital to resemble the one you can see nowadays. Later, after a century of functioning, the hospital was optimized, and the building was upgraded.
The Legend of the Don Quixote, Roomed
What to see in the library? There is a lot of legendary pieces to be found – from Don Quixote to the oldest texts in Catalonian, the place is full of legends.
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, or El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha is probably the most interesting for those who used to read Don Quixote and his loyal servant’s Sancho adventures in their childhood days.
With one of the widest public collections worldwide specialized on Miguel de Cervantes’ work, one can easily find the manuscripts of the century-old writings of over 8.000 volumes, including originals of all first editions, except for La Galatea, and the 6 first editions of the Quixote from 1605, bibliophile copies and also publications of the Cervantine work in more than 20 languages.
What’s probably even more interesting, is the serial of manuscripts songbooks. Leather-bound on wood and with metallic corners, these are huge books, bounded in 16th to 19th centuries, and sized from 80 to 50 cm in width. Successfully resued during the Spanish civil war, these are must-sees, carrying history and culture throughout the centuries.
The Oldest Writing in Catalonian
The Homilies d’ Organya, the oldest Catalan language text is the oldest literary evidence dating 800 years back. The legend holds that the Homilies were written for being preached by canons of the collegiate of Santa Maria d’Organya during Lent by an anonymous clergyman, who was worried at communicating the word of God in a comprehensible manner. The manuscript, written on parchment and bound on a booklet of eight leaves still sits in the Biblioteca de Catalunya today.
Work in Barcelona Library for Freelancers
Today, the building houses 3 million documents, and you can also visit the library to catch up with your work during travels. The library is open from Monday to Saturday, and you can check the opening hours of Biblioteca de Catalunya before going.
Want to get into the mood? You should know that during the first years of the Franco regime, as told by the librarians, all library cards issued from July 1936 to February 1939 were retired, as indicated at the book of records as unusable, hence needed to be destroyed “Los números señalados al margen con una línea de lápiz encarnado que son desde 26.423-26.667 han sido inutilizados por ser de época roja y las tarjetas retiradas y destruidas”. You will easily find these and other historical curiosities of the Spanish Civil War all around Barcelona.
The Carretera de Les Aigües
While there is a lot to do in the city, Barcelona also has one of the best parks and nature spots to enjoy the views of the city. From afar, you can enjoy the city views at the Collserola ridge.
The name of the place originates in the water pipes that once ran along this path, retaining the horizontal layout. The 10 kilometres long trail stands 450 metres above the sea level at its highest point and is with a reason one of the most popular spots for cyclists and runners to enjoy the fresh air.
From Sant Pere Màrtir to the Carretera de la Rabassada, you can see Barcelona views as nowhere else. Go by the route of locals and get to see the sweeping, matchless views of the city, paved by water pipes. In the backdrop, if you want to get more of nature, is the Collserola Natural Park – a definite must-visit in case you are looking for a day in the woods.
The article will be continued – to read about other legendary places in Barcelona, click on the 7 Wonders of Barcelona: Why is Sagrada Familia still a Work in Progress?
Share this on Pinterest: