Barcelona's history and architecture on our social programme

Photo of statue

Statue commemorating Raquel Meller one of the stars of the Barcelona music hall scene in the 1920s and 1930s (see Tuesday, below) | Photo: Tom Walton

Do come and see the Sagrada Familia with us on our social programme this week but, apart from Gaudí, it's Barcelona's history, just as much as its architecture, that makes it such a fascinating place. Come and explore!

  • Tuesday 12th | Come with us this afternoon to visit the Raval, the district on the right of the Ramblas as you head down towards the port. One of the best places in Barcelona to go to find street art (see photo, above), it was a rather seedy red light district but is now home to the CCCB and the MACBA and Fernando Botero's fat cat, and (in keeping with its past) to the protagonists of many of Barcelona's novelas negras. Our walk will also take us down to the Avinguda del Paral·lel (so named because it lies parallel to the Equator). Inaugurated in 1894, and running down to the port from Plaça Espanya, it was once the centre of Barcelona nightlife, with theatres and cabarets and music halls (16.00).
  • Wednesday 13th | It's five years now since the 300th anniversary of the siege of Barcelona but the Barcelona 1714 route is still a historically fascinating one. The remains of the city blocks demolished to build the post-siege fortress now to be seen at the Born Centre Cultural are particularly interesting. Come along if you're interested in the history of the city (16.00)!
  • Thursday 14th | One you just must see: the best known Gaudí building in Barcelona, the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, though it's supposed to be finished in 2026 (see this video if you can't wait that long!). If you want to go inside, note that it costs a minimum €15 (and book online if you want to do that) but is definitely not something to be missed (16.00). See also some of the cool pictures to be found on the official Sagrada Familia Instagram feed.

Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door, unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

The buildings of Barcelona, their history and architecture

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllò: just one of the houses on Barcelona's most famous block | Photo: Tom Walton

Barcelona's buildings, and their history and architecture, probably one of the most fascinating things about the city. Come with us on our social programme this week and see:

  • Tuesday 22nd | Our walk this afternoon takes us to the Manzana de la Discordia, the block on Passeig de Gracia with three of Barcelona's best examples of Modernista architecture — the Casa Batlló (Gaudí, in the photo above); the Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch); and the Casa Lleó i Morera (Domènech i Montaner); as well as to the Casa Milà (also by Gaudí), which is further up the street on the other side. Shoutout for the Casa Mulleras (Nº37, 1898-1906) by the astonishingly prolific Enric Sagnier (1858-1931) (16.00).
  • Wednesday 23rd | It's hard to believe, but Via Laietana is little more than 100 years old. Driven through the heart of the old city between 1908 and 1913, it's now one of Barcelona's busiest streets — and just a two-minute walk away from IH. Come with us and discover more of its history this afternoon (16.00).
  • Thursday 24th | It's one of the things that makes Barcelona so amazing, isn't it — the contrast between the old and the newer, like what we saw Tuesday and Wednesday. Contrast that with what we'll see on today's walk, which takes us into the Call, the area of narrow streets (which is what Call means) just off the Plaça Sant Jaume that was Barcelona's historic Jewish quarter. One of the most medieval parts of the Barrio Gótico. Come with us and explore (16.00)!
  • Friday 25th | Come get yourself some extra Spanish practice at our Friday Club language exchange (in the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

What's on in September in Barcelona

MNAC

The Palacio Nacional, housing the MNAC's 1000 Years of Art – one of the many things to see around the Plaza España | Photo: Tom Walton

The first week in September (such a lovely time of the year in Barcelona!). On our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 5th | The barrio of Barceloneta was built on reclaimed land and dates back only to the 18th century but once housed Barcelona's fishermen and then, later, factories. Both are now long gone and have been replaced by a lot of noisy tourists, but the district still retains a peculiar, original flavour (16.00).
  • Wednesday 6th | Transformed for the 1929 Universal Exhibition, the Plaza España is within walking distance of so much: the Las Arenas shopping mall in the former bullring (great view from the top!); Miró's Dona i Ocell (no sniggering!); the outstanding art collection at the MNAC (housed in the Palacio Nacional, built for the Exhibition); the former factory, now art museum of the CaixaForum and lots more besides. We won't actually be going into the latter, but you might want to, afterwards (16.00).
  • Thursday 7th | It's a couple of years now since the 300th anniversary of the siege of Barcelona but the Barcelona 1714 route is still a historically fascinating one. The remains of the city blocks demolished to build the post-siege fortress now to be seen at the Born Centre Cultural are particularly curious. Why is next Monday a holiday? Come along and find out (16.00)!
  • Friday 8th | It's a long weekend (we're open tomorrow morning, but closed on Monday 11th) and what better place to kick it off (as well as practise your Spanish) than at our Friday Club language exchange? In the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00.

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | In the Spanish League, we have the local derby, Barça vs Espanyol (Saturday, kick-off 20.45). If any of you still do the pools, that would be a dead cert for a home win 😉 ! ¡ Hay que ser un poco friki para ser del Espanyol !

Coming up later this month | The Merçè (September 22-25) is Barcelona's Festa Major. Full details of what's on.

For more on what's on in Barcelona in September, see Barcelona Turisme's Agenda (.pdf document).

La Mercè: Barcelona's festa major

Festa!

La Mercè. Party time in Barcelona! | Photo: Tom Walton

As well as what we have on our social programme this week, don't miss what's on at the Mercè (see Thursday, below).

  • Tuesday 20th | Come for a stroll around the Raval, the district on the right of the Ramblas as you head down towards the port. One of the best places in Barcelona to go to find street art, it was a rather seedy red light district but is now home to the CCCB and the MACBA and Fernando Botero's fat cat, and (in keeping with its past) to the protagonists of many of Barcelona's novelas negras (16.00).
  • Wednesday 21st | Our trip this afternoon takes us down to the Plaza España to see the 1000 years of art in the outstanding collection at the MNAC, the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña (16.00).
  • Thursday 22nd | It's Barcelona's festa major, La Mercè, this week (full programme, information in Catalan). Come along with us this evening and we'll show you what it's all about (NB, we're meeting at 18.30).
  • Friday 23rd | Come get yourself some extra Spanish practice at our Friday Club language exchange. In the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00.

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | Spanish League, Barça vs Atlético Madrid (Wednesday, kick-off 22.00).

Last chance this week: at the Palau de la Virreina (La Rambla 99, closed Mondays), there's a wonderful exhibition of photographs of Barcelona, 1860-2004, which covers the city's expansion and its sometimes tragic history.

Barcelona's fascinating history on this week's social programme

Picasso

Pablo…? | Photo: Tom Walton

Barcelona is a wonderful place if you're interested in history and on our social programme this week we've got a couple of trips you'll really like:

  • Tuesday 7th | Although in Roman times Barcelona was far less important than Tarragona, 100km down the coast, the Romans left behind the remains of the city of Barcino that they founded in 15 BC: the Roman Temple and the traces of the Roman walls on top of which the city's medieval walls were largely built are among the things you'll see on our walk this afternoon (16.00).
  • Wednesday 8th | Our walk this afternoon takes us to see some of Picasso's Barcelona: it includes some of the most picturesque of the streets of the Barrio Gótico (Petrixol, Avinyó…);  places like the 4 Gats restaurant (a bohemian taberna in Picasso's time); the Estación de Francia (from where he first travelled to Paris at the age of 21); and the Carrer de Montcada, where the Museo Picasso now stands (16.00).
  • Thursday 9th | It's hard to believe, but Via Laietana is little more than 100 years old. Driven through the heart of the old city between 1908 and 1913 [see video], it's now one of Barcelona's busiest streets. Come with us and discover more of its history this afternoon (16.00).
  • Friday 10th | Join us on the terrace and in the bar after class today for our very popular Friday Club language exchange (19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.