Our third day at Barcelona was a Sunday. On Sunday Barcelona markets & most shops are more or less closed except few tourist shops along with few bakeries and pastry shops. On searching for information, we found Maremàgnum mall and some flea markets are open on that day. So we planned to visit Columbus Monument, Port Vell, Maremàgnum mall were all the attractions during the morning hours and booked our evening ticket to Sagrada Familia. As soon as we got down from the Metro, at Liceu (Green Line, L3) we saw the desolate and closed La Boqueria market.
Along the La Rambla we saw some human Live statues. This street is filled with street actors who paint themselves in various colour paints and props to amuse the spectators. Since it was early on a chilly windy day, the street was not yet get filled with them.
Most prominent landmark there is the Columbus Monument (Monument a Colom). The Columbus Monument is a 60-meter tall monument to Christopher Columbus at the lower end of La Rambla. It was constructed for the Exposición Universal de Barcelona (1888) in honour of Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas. The monument serves as a reminder that Christopher Columbus reported to Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V in Barcelona after his first trip to the new continent.
At the very top of the monument stands a 7.2-meter tall bronze statue atop a 40 meter tall Corinthian column. The statue was sculpted by Rafael Atché and is said to depict Columbus pointing towards the New World with his right hand while holding a scroll in the left. The statue is situated in a current way simply to have Columbus point out to sea underscoring his achievements in naval exploration. The statue is atop a socle, on which the word “Tierra” (land) is inscribed.
The column hung with a device bearing an anchor, stands on an octagonal pedestal from which four bronze winged victories or Phemes take flight towards the four corners of the world, above paired griffins. Four buttresses against the octagonal pedestal bear portrait medallions that depict persons related to Columbus. Seated against the buttresses are four figures that represent four realms of Spain: the Principality of Catalonia, and the kingdoms of León, Aragon, and Castile. Against the base of the pedestal between the buttresses are four additional statues.
The canted octagonal plinth is inset with eight bronze bas-relief panels that depict important scenes in Columbus’s first voyage to the Americas. Alternating with the bas-reliefs are eight coats-of-arms representing locations that Columbus visited. The base of the monument is a 20-meter wide circle, with four staircases. Each staircase is flanked by two lions.
Port Vell (Old Harbor) is a waterfront harbour in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, and part of the Port of Barcelona. It was built as part of an urban renewal program prior to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Before this, it was a run-down area of empty warehouses, railroad yards, and factories.
The Maritime Museum of Barcelona is located in the building of Drassanes Reials de Barcelona, the royal arsenal of Barcelona, dedicated to shipbuilding between the thirteenth century and eighteenth century. It shows the history of the navigation from the early days together with the history of the Spanish Navy since the Catholic Monarchs, in the 15th century, up to the present. It also hosts several navigation instruments, weapons, portolans and paintings. The museum was declared Museum of National Interest by the Government of Catalonia. The building is of Gothic style, its construction was carried out in a first stage between 1283 / 1328 and the second between 1328 / 1390. Subsequent reforms and extensions have been made, basically keeping the original structure.
Port Authority Building is now under structural repair. The demarcation of La Rambla’s southern end and the wooden bridge called Rambla de Mar is this bright yellow façade with “Port of Barcelona” emblazoned in the arched pediment. Junta d’Obres del Port was a passenger terminal and customs house when it opened in 1907. It now serves as headquarters for the Port Authority of Barcelona.
In front of the Port Authority Building is this unique statue of Rómulo Bosch i Alsina, who was mayor of the city at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a sculpture of great expressive force, very far from the neoclassical sculptures with which these types of characters are usually represented. This Catalan politician and businessman, besides having been mayor of Barcelona in 1905, was president of the port works council for about 10 years, being responsible for the design of Port Vell, the port that today belongs to the old part of the city, the district of Ciutat Vella. This sculpture, inaugurated in 1992, is the work of the Luxembourg architect Robert Krier.
Port Vell which translates to Old Harbor is a waterfront harbour in Barcelona. It was built as part of an urban renewal program prior to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Before this, it was a run-down area of empty warehouses, railroad yards, and factories. 16 million people visit the complex each year. A pedestrian walkway, Rambla de Mar, connects La Rambla to Port Vell. It incorporates a swing bridge, in order to allow ships to enter and exit the harbour.
Construction of the first “transversal” dock, where the Moll de Barcelona (Barcelona Dock) now stands, was completed in 1882. This dock later housed Torre Jaume I, the cable car tower for the Port Vell Aerial Tramway, built across the harbour for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, a World’s fair, but opened only in 1931. The Port continued to grow, stretching past Mount Montjuïc towards the Llobregat Delta with the construction of an inner harbour on the river bank, precisely where Barcelona’s first port activity had its origins.
The port’s Statute of Autonomy was approved in 1978 when the site took on the official title of Autonomous Port of Barcelona, and in 1987 work began on drafting the Strategic Plan, an ambitious project to develop the whole port. Under the Strategic Plan, the port is structured around three main areas: the commercial port, the logistical port and the old port. The plan pays particular attention to the last of these, the Port Vell, with a view to reviving a historic old site made obsolete by large-scale extension work in recent decades and relegated to serving traditional purposes.
Port Vell is now a focal point of the city and tourist attraction, containing the Maremàgnum. Maremagnum is much more than just a shopping mall. To begin with, it’s location already makes it special; almost completely surrounded by water and accessible through a sophisticated wooden lifting bridge – for pedestrians only.
It features a large variety of shops and boutiques including homeware, clothing, jewellery, toy shops, cosmetics and shoe shops, even one of the official Barça merchandising stores it’s here.
Every hour and sometimes at a special request, this wooden bridge opens for approximately 8 to 10 minutes in order to let the boats in the Marina sail to the open sea, meaning that all pedestrian circulation is closed during the passing of the ships. Unfortunately, due to rough sea, we could not see the opening of the bridge.
In the true spirit of the Mediterranean, Maremagnum is a very transparent structure, allowing the sun and the sea breeze pass through, making shopping into a very pleasurable experience. The Maremagnum offers a comprehensive range of shops and restaurants, boasting more than 50 fashion, footwear, jewellery, accessory and decor stores as well as shops selling confectionary, technology, toys and video games. All the shops open daily from 10 am to 10 pm. The centre is home to national and international brands such as H&M, MANGO, Jack&Jones, Lacoste, Swatch-Swarovski and Imaginarium, as well as F.C. Barcelona, which has its official shop here. Gastronomically speaking, the Maremagnum has something to suit all tastes. The diversity on offer means visitors can choose between restaurants offering the Mediterranean, Italian or Oriental cuisine as well as tapas bars, fast food, pubs and cocktail bars, etc.
The 2nd floor of the centre, known as theMaremagnum Terrace, is specially dedicated to dining and has an area where outdoor concerts and live shows are held. The entertainment offer is completed by the Cinesa Maremagnum cinema, which has several screens. The Maremagnum is located on the Moll de Espanya, close to other attractions such as Barcelona Aquarium, one of the world’s largest aquariums, housing over 11,000 fish and 450 species of marine creatures, and the Port Vell Imax, a cinema screen equipped with three gigantic film projection systems (Imax®, Omnimax® and Imax®3d).
After a lot of shopping, we wanted to have lunch. On the way, we saw this curious art deco umbrella shop, Casa Bruno Cuadros. It used to be an umbrella shop of Barcelona in its time. Its style, similar to modernisme with its use of colour and the delicacy of its decorations, makes it unique.
It was 1883 when the architect Josep Vilaseca undertook the refurbishment of the Casa Bruno Cuadros and the umbrella shop on the ground floor. It was just a few years before the 1888 Universal Exhibition and Barcelona was in the throes of expansion, with interesting buildings being built all over the city. The Catalan home-grown art-nouveau movement, modernisme, was gaining momentum and, with it, the taste for Oriental decorations. The Casa Bruno Cuadros of Barcelona, known by locals as the Casa dels Paraigües (House of Umbrellas) is an example. Vilaseca combined the prior style of modernisme with all kinds of architectural elements inspired by other cultures in an eclectic building which amazes everyone who walks along La Rambla. The Casa Bruno Cuadros’s balconies and the top-floor gallery are replete with Egyptian imagery. The façade features elaborate sgraffito work and stained-glass windows as well as reliefs of umbrellas and fans made of cast-iron. Orientalist motifs impregnate the outer walls which feature intricate carpentry, enamelled glass and paintings of people taken from Japanese prints. The Casa Bruno Cuadros’s most opulent decorative element is the ornate Chinese dragon on the corner of the façade. It was used to advertise the shop, together with the umbrella below it. The building was refurbished in 1980, and a bank now has its premises in the stunning umbrella shop of Barcelona.
We realized after having food at one of the roadside sitting places that, La Rambla is not a good place to have a meal. That giant goblet of sangria for €15? It’s not going to do much for you apart from giving you a terrible sugar hangover the following morning. Also make sure to avoid the neon-yellow, frozen paella served by the boatload along La Rambla. After a terrible meal accompanied by loads singing Hare Krishna devotees with loud boom box we returned back to the room for a short rest before heading to The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a large unfinished Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. That is the story left for my next blog.