Saturday, March 22, 2014

CATALONIA: TARRACO

Tarraco is the ancient name of the current city of Tarragona and it was one of the most important cities of the Roman empire.

Up to 14 monuments are included in the documentation of Tarragona as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Some of them are the amphitheater, the Roman Circus and the Praetorian Tower Forum, converted into royal residence in XIVth century.

Besides the remains of the Roman walls realize the strategic importance of the Roman Tarraco.


Scale model of Imperial Tarraco. The upper area was dedicated to the temple (current location of the cathedral), the second terrace was a large arcaded square where the Provincial Forum was, then the circus and below towards the Port there was the residential area. In the foreground is the amphitheater, which still exists. (Picture obtained from Wikipedia, Author: Amad Alvarez)


So, some of the most important monuments of Tarraco are:

  • Amphitheater
  • Tower of Pretorio
  • Circus
  • City Walls
  • Via Imperial
  • Aqueduct
  • Triumphal Arc de Berà



Amphitheater



Amphitheater of Tarraco in Catalonia
The amphitheater completed the trilogy of show buildings (theater, circus and amphitheater) which a distinctive Roman city and capital of one of the imperial provinces had to have



Amphitheater of Tarraco in Catalonia
The amphitheater of Tarraco was located outside the town, but close to the city and the Via Augusta, shortly before it goes into the city. It was also located beside the beach



Amphitheater of Tarraco in Catalonia
In the amphitheater of Tarraco were organized two types of activities: gladiator fights and the fights or hunts of wild animals



Amphitheater of Tarraco in Catalonia
The Christian bishop Fructuoso and his two deacons were burnt alive in the elliptical arena of the amphitheater of Tarraco. This led to the construction of a sixth century basilica dedicated to the cult of martyrs. 


Amphitheater of Tarraco in Catalonia
Inside the amphitheater of Tarraco, during the twelfth century was built the Romanesque church of Santa Maria del Miracle on the early Christian basilica.




Tower of Pretorio




Pretorian Tower of Tarraco
Pretorian Tower, the entrance of the Provincial Forum of Tarraco



Circus of Tarraco




Circus of Tarraco
The circus of Tarraco was, without any doubt, the most popular mass entertainment of the Roman world. In this site chariot races were disputed



Circus of Tarraco
The Circus of Tarraco was built in the late first century after Christ and was part of the great provincial monumental complex



Roman Circus of Tarraco
The Roman Circus of Tarraco was 325 m long and between 100 and 115 m wide


City Walls




City walls of Tarraco



One of the defense towers of the City Walls of Tarraco



Via Imperial


Via Imperial in Tarragona


Aqueduct of Tarraco




Aqueduct of Tarraco in Tarragona
In the forest a few kilometers north of Tarragona, a Roman arch bridge carrying an aqueduct has been preserved. It is known locally as "Devil's Bridge"



Aqueduct of Tarraco
The Aqueduct of Tarraco, which spans a valley about 4 km north of Tarragona



Arc de Berà



The Arc de Berà is a triumphal arch some 20 km north of the city of Tarragona. It stands on the line of what was the Via Augusta, now the N-340 road. It is a triumphal arch with a single opening consisting of a central body on a podium, decorated with fluted pilasters crowned by Corinthian capitals. It is thought it was dedicated to Augusts or to his genius



Near Tarraco there are many places to visit like:



Finally, clicking on the next link you will find more beautiful villages, beaches and landscapes in Catalonia.

Monday, March 17, 2014

BARCELONA: PALAU DE LA MUSICA CATALANA

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner as a home for the Orfeó Català. The Orfeó Català is a choir which has played a leading part in musical life in Barcelona since 1891.


Palau de la Musica in Barcelona
A closer view of the impressive inverted cupola of Palau de la Música Catalana



The Palau de la Música Catalana is an architectural jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau, which today represents an essential landmark in the cultural and social life of Catalonia. The whole building  corresponds to the Wagnerian idea (characteristic of Catalan Modernism) of the integration of the arts.

The building is designed around a central metal structure covered in glass, which exploits natural light to make the Domènech i Montaner's masterpiece a magical music box which brings together all the decorative arts: painting and sculpture, mosaic, stained glass and ironwork.




Palau de la Música in BarcelonaColumns of the main facade of Palau de la Música Catalana. This building was designed by Domènech i Montaner



Palau de la Musica Catalana
Auditorium of Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona. It also appears the inverted cupola on the ceiling



Palau de la Musica in Barcelona
Organ and Stage of Palau de la Música Catalana


Concert Hall of Palau de la Musica
Stage of Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona


Palau de la Musica in Barcelona
Inverted cupola in the auditorium of Palau de la Música Catalana is one of the most beautiful elements of this modernist building


Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona
In this picture you can see better all the details of the inverted cupola of the Palau de la Música Catalana



Palau de la Musica in Barcelona
Another view of the inverted cupola of Palau de la Música Catalana you can visit in Barcelona



Other modernist decorative element I saw in Palau de la Música Catalana


More fantastic modernist buildings you can visit in Barcelona are:





Besides, near Barcelona you can visit more modernist buildings in La Colònia Güell.



Finally, clicking on the next link you will find links to more beautiful places of Barcelona.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

BARCELONA AND CATALONIA: BEACHES


As we are in summer (northern hemisphere), I would like to show you the most charming beaches in Catalonia I have visited until now. If you like going to the beach, you will enjoy them, I'm sure.

In Catalonia there are two kinds of beaches: along the coast of Girona you can enjoy the imposing and wild landscapes of la Costa Brava while taking a bath in the clear and turquoise water of a cove. On the other hand, the long and sandy beaches of Barcelona, like the ones of Sant Pol de Marand Tarragona will make you think you are close to paradise.

Next, these are my favourite beaches until now. Of course, there are fantastic beaches in Catalonia I haven't visited yet, but I hope to do it soon.



Other beaches I hope to visit soon:
  • More beaches and coves in la Costa Brava

Begur - Sa Tuna beach


Sa Tuna Beach in BegurOverview of Sa Tuna Beach in Begur, probably the beach I like the most

Begur - Sa Riera beach


Sa Riera Beach in BegurTurquoise water of Sa Riera beach in Begur from the Ronda Way


Calella de Palafrugell - Port Bo beach


Port Bo Beach in Calella de PalafrugellPort Bo Beach in Calella de Palafrugell through a white archs



Platja d'Aro - Sa Cova beach



Sa Cova beach in Platja d'Aro

Sa Cova beach in Costa Brava, located beside Platja d'Aro


Sant Antoni de Calonge - Cap Roig beach




Cap Roig beach in Costa Brava

Cap Roig beach in Sant Antoni de Calonge


Tossa de Mar - El Codolar beach


El Codolar beach in Tossa de MarEl Codolar Cove from the old town of Tossa de Mar in La Costa Brava


Tamariu beach


Tamariu beach in La Costa BravaA lot of people enjoy the beach of Tamariu in La Costa Brava in summer


Palamós - La Fosca


La Fosca beach in Palamós


Blanes - Sant Francesc beach


Cala Bona (Sant Francesc) in Blanes

Cala Bona (Sant Francesc) in Blanes is another fantastic beach in La Costa Brava

L'Escala - Cala Montgó Beach


Cala Montgó in L'Escala
Cala Montgó in L'Escala

Llafranc beach


Llafranc beach in La Costa BravaLlafranc Beach and the marina, which also appears in the background


Sitges

Beach of Sitges in Barcelona
Sunset in one of the lovely beaches of Sitges, with the bell tower of the church in the background


Castelldefels beach


Castelldefels beach near BarcelonaCastelldefels long sandy beach from the nearby Garraf Natural Park


Barcelona Beach


Barcelona beachThe Vela Hotel (Vela means sail) has changed the views from Barcelona beaches


Empuriabrava beach


Beach of Empuriabrava in La Costa Brava
Sunset in Empuriabrava beach


From Camins de Ronda you can enjoy nice views of many beaches and coves in Costa Brava:



Besides, if you liked this pictures, clicking on the next links you will find more pictures of another fantastic beaches in La Costa Daurada, like:

Other fantastic beaches I have visited in Spain and Portugal are:



As you can see in the previous pictures, there are a lot of beautiful beaches in Catalonia where you can spend a lovely day enjoying fantastic landscapes while taking a bath. I strongly recommend visiting them!




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

BARCELONA: SITGES


Sitges is a lovely seaside small town located 37 km to the south of Barcelona with a long promenade, perfect for a walk in the afternoon. Its beach is crowded in summer and its beautiful old quarter is always lively. From the church, the view of the beach and the promenade, especially in the evening, is wonderful.


Romanesque church behind the Sitges beach
Palm trees along the promenade of Sitges between the beach and the church


The painter and writer Santiago Rusiñol, who fell in love with the light and the beaches, moved to Sitges in 1891. His house and studio, Cau Ferrat, which is now a museum, soon became a refuge for modernista and avant-garde artists from across Europe. Their festivals, exhibitions and performances transformed the small farming and fishing village into a bohemian tourist destination.


Beach and promenade of Sitges
Beach and promenade of Sitges from the church


From the beaches, the imposing church of San Bartolomé and Santa Tecla with its bell tower stand out against the skyline. As you walk through the steep narrow streets in the colina de Baluard, in the well-known "racó de la calma" (peaceful corner), you’ll be able to visit the museu Cau Ferrat, the Palau Maricel and the museu Maricel (a former hospital).  


So, you I recommend you visit the following places of Sitges and enjoy the views from them:

- Beaches of Sitges
- Promenade of Sitges
- Church of San Bartolomé and Santa Tecla
- Old Town of Sitges

  • Palau Maricel (Maricel Palace)
  • Cau Ferrat museum
  • Palau del Moro (Moor's Palace)

- Aerial view of Sitges
- Sunset in Sitges


Besides in Sitges the following events take place every year, which makes the city get crowded:

  • Carnival
  • Corpus
  • International Film Festival of Catalonia


Beaches of Sitges


Promenade and beach of Sitges
Promenade and beach of Sitges


Beach of Sitges
 Another beach of Sitges. This one on the other side of the old town


Promenade and beach of Sitges
Palms and colourful buildings on the promenade of Sitges


Beach of Sitges
Children playing on the beach in Sitges



Promenade of Sitges


Promenade of Sitges
I really like to walk among the palm trees of the promenade of Sitges 


Promenade of Sitges
Nice view from the promenade of Sitges


Bar in Sitges
From this bar of Sitges you can enjoy relaxing views


Promenade of Sitges
Another view from the promenade of Sitges



Church of San Bartolomé and Santa Tecla



Beach and promenade of Sitges
Church of San Bartolomé and Sant Tecla in Sitges from its promenade


Romanesque church of Sitges
Romanesque church of Sitges. Here the old quarter begins


Romanesque church of Sitges
A closer view of the romanesque church of Sitges. In the foreground, maritime motifs engraved on a streetlamp


Old Town of Sitges



Palau Maricel in Sitges
Palau Maricel in Sitges


Palau Maricel in Sitges
Courtyard of Palau Maricel in Sitges


Old town of Sitges
Carrer Fonollar beside Palau Maricel in the old town of Sitges  



 Maricel Museum and Cau Ferrat in Sitges
Behind the church of Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla you can walk along the most interesting streets of the old quarter of Sitges, where you will find the Maricel Museum, the Marycel Palace and El Cau Ferrat, where the modernist writer Santiago Rusinyol lived


Palau Maricel in Sitges
 Palau Maricel in the old city of Sitges



Old town of Sitges
Street of the old town of Sitges near Palau del Moro


Palau del Moro in Sitges
Palau del Moro in Sitges



Aerial view of Sitges


Sitges in Barcelona
Aerial view of the old town of Sitges and its beaches

Sunset in Sitges



Sunset in Sitges
View of the promenade of Sitges from the church in the evening


Sunset in Sitges from the church
Sunset in Sitges

I also would like to recommend you a restaurant in case you want to have lunch in Sitges:

- Restaurant-Pizzeria Galicia






  • Address: Carrer d'Angel Vidal, 20, 08870 Sitges, Barcelona
  • Phone: 938 94 00 91


  • Near Sitges there are two interesting places to visit: Castelldefels with its almost 5km long beach and Garraf Natural Park. From Sitges, you can get Castelldefels by train, but you will need a car to arrive at Garraf Natural Park.

    How to get to Castelldefels:
    • By train, Line R2 from Barcelona-Passeig de Gràcia or Barcelona-Sants Stations (45min).
    • By car, C-32 motorway and C-31 highway.

    Tourist Office:

    • Address: Plaza Eduard Maristany 2, 08870 Sitges
    • Tel. (+34) 93 894 4251
    • Fax. (+34) 93 894 1521
    • mail: info@sitgestur.cat

    The next link will show you the location of Sitges in a Map.


    Besides if you like beaches, below you have other beautiful beaches in Catalonia: 

    Beaches in La Costa Brava:



    Other fantastic beaches I have visited in Spain and Portugal are:




    Finally, clicking on the next link, you will find links to other beautiful villages and places in Catalunya. Like Sitges, Montserrat MonasterySant Miquel del Fai or Sant Pol de Mar are other nice places in Catalonia near the city of Barcelona I really recommend to visit.