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is there a spot where you can enjoy the wide variety of spanish architecture all in one place? the answer is yes, at the poble espanyol in barcelona. this emblematic village houses 117 buildings reflecting the typical spanish architecture coming from all fifteen autonomous communities in spain. this special town was built in 1929 by the modernist architect puig I cadafalch for that year´s Barcelona international exposition (as was the national palace of montjuïc that was mentioned in one of our earlier posts). the poble is located close to the fontana magica on the montjuïc mountain.

hearing a conversation that goes like ´´pardon me but how do I get to andalucia?´´ and ´´that is easy, you just go to mallorca and that it is the first street on the left!´´ is not unusual when visiting el poble espanyol. entertainment is key in the 5th most popular tourist attraction in barcelona because there is something to do for everybody.

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el poble espanyol from a bird´s-eye view

lovers of modern art & nature can enjoy the fundación fran daurel, which is a permanent collection of over 300 artefacts from spain´s most famous artists among which picasso, dalí, miró and barceló. moreover, visitors can see the famous sculpture Entorn-Contorn from josep guinovart and the beautiful sculptural gardens that offer stunning views over barcelona. this green oasis on the high up the hill is large enough (5000m2) to spend a whole afternoon strolling around and enjoying nature.

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the sculpture gardens on the montjuïc mountain

shopping & craft lovers can enjoy themselves in el poble espanyol as well since there are 22 shops that are open every day, some of them offer workshops while others sell ceramics, paintings or jewellery. other activities include, music instrument building, espadrille making and glass crafts. consequently, you can spend a whole day strolling around the village visiting all the different shops and trying out different typical spanish activities.

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traditional shopping street in el poble

families can spend the day doing a treasure hunt, which is available in english, spanish, french and catalan. this activity is perfect for kids that are between 3 and 12 who are in for a little game. while unveiling the mysteries of el poble espanyol kids can walk around the ´´town´´ and get to know the most significant spanish monuments in one afternoon. additionally, on sunday a special programme for families is offered and even though it is in catelan, the experience is supposed to be nice due to the many visual aspects, including puppets, music and even magic.

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activities for kids at the main square of the village

flamenco lovers can eat their heart out at tablao de carmen which is located in the andaluz area of the village because this type of dancing originally comes from the south of spain, from andalucia. some say that the best flamenco show in town is performed here so that would be another reason to make the trip uphill to enjoy music, dance and spanish songs. shows are performed two times a night, there is one show at 19.30pm and other one at 21.30pm. there is a possibility to enjoy some tapas while watching the show. finally, a ticket for this show includes a short visit to el poble espanyol so visitors can experience both attractions.

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a tablao del carmen show

as stated before there is something for everybody this statement also relates to the many options visitors have to eat out in the ´´village´´ because there are plenty of restaurants and bars.  all restaurants offer a range of regional specialties in a very rustic admosphere. in summer visitors can sit outside on one terraces on plazas while eating a delicious paella accompanied by a glas of nice catalunian wine.

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terrace on one of the plazas in el poble

then, to fully capture the spanish experience, there is a possibility to rent an audio guide, which is available in english, catalan, french, italian and german. walking around with the audio guide will make this visit a very informative one when walking around plaza mayor, the nerve center of poble espanyol, approaching a magical andalusian patio, visiting a typical spanish house, resting up in a “pazo gallego” (galician country house) or when discovering a catalan monastery.

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el poble´s church

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the national museum of catalan art (mnac of barcelona) is, along with the museu d’art contemporani de barcelona (macba), one of the most important museums of the city of barcelona. it is a museum with an extensive collection of romanesque artefacts. this collection is considered to be the most complete one in the world.  it is therefore, seen as the biggest attraction of this beautiful museum.

if one looks at the history of the museum itself, one will find out that it was solely established in 1990. the current state is a result of the merge of the collections from the former museum of modern art, of which the establishment dates back to 1945, and the museum of catalan art, built in 1934. the building of the mnac consists of several separate buildings however, most famous is the stunning main building, the national palace of montjuïc, that was built for the international expo of 1929.

palace of montjuïc and oval hall

palace of montjuïc and oval hall

exhibition-wise, the mnac the museum shows the general history of catalan art from the romanesque period up until the mid-twentieth century. the owner´s discourse of the romaneque as well as the gothic collections stands out particularly since their provenance (the chronological line of previous owners) has been mostly catelan, which is unusual when compared to the other artefacts exhibited in the museum. the renaissance and the baroque collections are indeed, mostly characterized by a more international discourse of owners as the most famous painters in this field are e.g. el greco, velázquez and rubens.

without a doubt, the most famous artefact exhibited at the national museum of catalan art is the pantocrator climent de taüll, stemming from the romantic era. this painting attracts many visitors. of all the works displayed in the mnac romanesque works of art are the most prominent.

mnac dome and the pantocrator climent de taüll

mnac dome and the pantocrator climent de taüll

when planning your visit to the mnac in barcelona, we suggest to take the following aspects into account:

opening hours
• summer opening hours (may 2 to september 30): tuesday to saturday 10 am to 8 pm sundays and holidays from 10 to 3 pm.

• winter opening hours (october 1 to april 20): tuesday to saturday 10 am to 6 pm sundays and holidays from 10 to 3 pm.

• on monday the national art museum of catalunya remains closed. the same goes for january 1, may 1 and january 25.

interior of the mnac

dome and interior of the mnac

tours and special events
to fully explore the notable works of the museum different audio tours are offered. moreover, previous to your visit you can do a virtual tour on the museum´s website in order to have an idea of what to expect and plan your trip.

we recommend the exhibitions:

the graphic work of a forerunner by the painter antoni viladomat i manalt (1678-1755). this exhibition runs from 10/05/2014 until 02/11/2014.

this exhibition is an ambitious project that is simultaneously held in various venues around the country. it relates to the year 1714 with regards to the artistic activity of that time. the project consists of a total of five exhibitions and shows, for the first time in history, the complete oeuvre of this artist.

pearl oysters-maker and oval-maker. baroque avant-garde and agrarian. based on works from inter alia: joan brossa, salvador dalí, pablo picasso, antoni tàpies and jacint verdaguer. this exhibition runs from: 09/10/2014 until 11/01/2015.

This exhibition will be set up in the context of the celebration of the tricentenary of 1714. the artist, perejaume, has prepared a project for the museu nacional that focusses on the connections between artistic tradition and avant-gardism in catalan art. it takes a cross-cutting look at catalan artistic creation.

works from the 2 featured exhibitions

works from the 2 featured exhibitions

a very nice event to attend is the special dance event ´´come to dance?´´ that takes place once a month on a saturday afternoon and is combined with free admission to the museum. on those days everybody is invited for some jazz dancing in the beautiful oval room of the museum. the upcoming dates for an afternoon out are:

• 13th september , from 17 to 19 pm. on stage: flat floot floogie boys

• 4th october, from 16 t0 17.45 pm. on stage: stradixie’s

• 15th november, from 16 t0 17.45 pm. on stage: juli aymi’swing

• 13 december, from 16 to 17.45 pm. on stage: saphie wells & swing cats

during and after the visit
if you are tired, we suggest to have a bite to eat or enjoy a nice glass of wine on the rooftop of the museum or in its café/restaurant. the rooftop charge is 3€ but definitely worth the money because of the stunning views over the city that can be enjoyed from here.

outside
if you are visiting the museum during the weekend, consider to go see the beautiful fontana magica in front of the mnac after your visit. at night a spectacular water show accompanied by beautiful music is presented and many tourists make the trip uphill to enjoy this magical happening.

as part of your trip to barcelona, we definitely recommend to visit this special museum with afterwards some time to relax and enjoy the beautiful watershow and the stunning views from the top of the montjuïc mountain!

fontana magica and the come to dance event

fontana magica and the come to dance event

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in case you find yourself in the capital of spain, overwhelmed by the increasing heat, you may want to find interesting and exciting places where you can spend your days and prepare for even hotter madrid nightlife.. there is certainly a number of great options for any taste, however, in this artice we have prepared a little insight into what the city can offer to travellers interested in culture and art.

first of all we want to encourage you to explore the so-called the golden triangle of art which consists of three art museums that are among the most important museums in the world: the prado museum (museo del prado), the reina sofía museum (museo nacional centro de arte reina sofía) and the thyssen-bornemisza museum (museo thyssen-bornemisza).

 

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the prado museum,
is among the most prestigious art museums in the world, storing more than 8000 masterpieces from the spanish, flemish and italian schools, starting from the middle ages to the 19th century.

the accent is put on spanish artists, including the magnificent “las
meninas
” by velázquez which happens to bealso the best-known work displayed at the museum.

in addition to permanent exhibitions this summer you can also enjoy two temporary exhibitions: “el greco and modern painting” and “evil vanishes. egusquiza and wagner´s parsifal in the museo del prado”.

the museum is located on paseo de prado, with the nearest metro stations being banco de españa and atocha.

the opening hours from monday to saturday are from 10am to 8pm; on sundays and holidays from 10am to 7pm.

prado

 

the next museum on the “art walk” list is the reina sofía museumsofiacol2.jpg, which is the house for around 20´000 masterpieces, dating from late 19th century to today.

once there you must definitely see the masterpiece “el guernica” by pablo picasso. museum also has an extensive collection of other spanish artists, such as as joan miró and salvador dalí.

nevertheless, if you are more interested in international artists,. the collections also include works by artists like francis bacon, damien hirst, max ernst, lucio fontana, etc.sofia.jpg

 

the programme of museum includes all types of artistic disciplines, divided into three collections: “the irruption of the 20th century, utopia and conflicto (1900-1945)”, “is the war over? art in a divided world (1945-1968)” and “from revolt to postmodernity (1962-1982)”.

this summer we recommend you to visit also the temporary exhibitions that include works by richard ham
ilton
and kerry james marshall.

the museum is located on street santa isabel, 52 with the closest metro station being atocha.

opening hours from monday to saturday are 10am – 9pm, on sunday 10am – 7 pm. the museum is closed on tuesdays.

 

 

 

 

 

last but not the least important museum in the golden triangle of art is the thyssen – bornemisza museum which housesaround 1000 arthyssencol1.jpgtworks from the 13th to 20th century.

it is interesting to note that the museum initially started of as a personal collection by baron hans heinrich thyssen-bornemisza and his father, baron heinrich.

thyssen supplements the madrid´s art temple with unique works of such underrepresented areas as the early italian school, impressionism, german expressionism, russian constructivism, , pop art, etc.

if you visit thyssen this summer, you have the opportunity to see two temporary exhibitions, a mixture of conventional and contextual exhibitions. these are – “pop art myths” and “alma-tadema and victorian painting in the pérez-simón collection”.

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thyssen is located in palacio de villahermosa, paseo del prado, 8 which is near the metro station banco de españa.

until september 14 the temporary exhibitions are open from 10am to 10pm on tuesdays to saturdays and from 10am to 7pm on sundays and mondays.

 

 

although the three aforementioned museums are the very cornerstones of madrid´s art collections there are even more interesting cultural places to see, e.g. the arts centre matadero or caixaforum – the live space for old, modern and contemporary art, music and poetry .matcaixa.jpg

across spain would like to invite you to be our guest and explore the never-ending artistic and cultural opportunities the city has to offer, be it either by yourself or by choosing any of our several guided tours and art gallery routes.

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‘i want to write a love letter to barcelona and from barcelona to the world’       woody allen

 

there is, perhaps, no better way of presenting a city full of art than through the eyes and voice of an artist. love him or hate him, woody allen has the talent of bringing a city’s best to light, making it a veritable character in his films. after new york and london, in 2007 it was barcelona’s turn to shine in vicky cristina barcelona.

watching the film before visiting the city is like a travel guide. it is full of references to barcelona, all its attractions bathed in a wonderful golden summer light, places that remind you of some photos you have seen somewhere, music that you have heard before but never knew who plays it. it is an open invitation to visit a fascinating city.

the film locations carry the plot and the actions of the characters, indeed barcelona becomes a character in itself, the third lady in the title. when you visit the city, you recognize the colourful flower stands on las ramblas, you recognize the weird eccentric rooftop of la pedrera, the national museum and its terrace, the sagrada familia, the miro foundation, the views from parc guell. woody allen has ticked all the must-see places and used them smartly in his film. but these places, you have to seem them to understand why they are so attractive and fascinating for millions of visitors. 

 

pedrera

rooftop of la pedrera

 

guell

park guell

 

lizzard

the park guell lizard 

 

mnac

the mnac – national museum of catalonian art

 

ramblas

las ramblas

 

tibidabo

tibidabo attractions park – ´antique and charming, and overlooking all of barcelona´

 

joan miro

joan miró foundation

 

the city and the movie embody the ´european, tragic, romantic and free-thinking view on life´ (woody allen through the voice of cristina). poets, painters, photographers, golden lights, summer romances, bicycle rides in the nature, love, flamenco, wine tastings, cafes, sweet shops, picnics, these are the bits and pieces that fill the movie with a magical barcelonese air, but of which you don’t become aware until you have seen them with your own eyes. in the film they pass by like postcards in a window, in real life they are tangible images and experiences that become memories.

 

and the music, the music! classics from spanish must-knows, which make up a delightful and well thought soundtrack. 

entre dos aguas (played about three times)

asturias

and of course, barcelona (with video from the movie)

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