BARCELONA ICONIC LANDMARKS
THE OLYMPIC RING IN MONTJUÏC
It was the nerve centre of the festivities Olympic Games in 1992. Next to the imposing Olympic
Stadium, the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, and the sports complex, the Palau Sant Jordi, stands the
striking Communications tower designed by the Valencian engineer and architect Santiago Calatrava. A 136-
metre-high, steel sloping structure, its outline is reminiscent of an athlete’s body and its base is covered
in broken mosaic tiles (trencadís), in clear reference to one of the techniques used by Gaudí. The
orientation of the tower means that the shadow of the central needle projected on to the adjacent Plaça
d’Europa acts as a sundial.
TORRE AGBAR (AGBAR TOWER)
Located in Plaça de les Glòries, this new landmark on the Barcelona skyline was added in 2003. It has
been depictured as an enormous bullet-shaped cylinder emerging from the ground and pointing skywards,
with a glass surface in which the colours of the Mediterranean are reflected.
It was the result of collaboration between the Atelier Jean Nouvel and the Barcelona-based b720
architectural practice. Like a geyser bubbling up from the depths of the earth, the Torre Agbar, which is
the headquarters of the water company Grup Agbar, has an eye-catching outline. It stands 144 metres
tall and provides an imposing observation deck over the new Barcelona.
One of the city’s most popular leisure areas. Located opposite the Olympic Village, it was built in 1991
during the redevelopment of this area of Barcelona. It was the site of the sailing competitions during
the 1992 Olympic Games.
The two skyscrapers on either side are the Mapfre Tower and the Hotel Arts, with Frank Gehry’s
spectacular goldfish sculpture at its base.
THE COLLSEROLA TOWER
Like a needle pointing towards the sky, the Collserola tower has been an iconic part of the Barcelona
skyline since the year of the Olympics, 1992. It has become a major landmark which combines modernity
with the most spectacular views of Barcelona and its surrounding area, from its observation deck, which is
the highest in the city (445 m).
Designed by the British architect Norman Foster, the tower is a steel-framed structure, comprising 13
platforms, was hoisted up a concrete shaft and a 38-metre-long tubular steel mast.
You’ll need to use private transport or the Tibidabo Funicular to get there, but the journey has its final
reward. A ride to the skies above Barcelona.
The church of the Sagrat Cor, designed by Enric Sagnier and built between 1902 and 1961, and the
Collserola Tower, which dates from 1992, can be seen silhouetted against the Barcelona skyline. They
are accessible by the blue tram, or Tramvia blau, a vintage means of transport that came into service in
1901 and runs as far as the lower funicular station, which was built to provide access to the amusement
park at the top of Tibidabo, 512 metres above sea level. The park combines the flavour of vintage rides
and amusements with more modern attractions.
LA PEDRERA (1906-1912), also known as CASA MILÀ
Located in Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona’s Eixample, this building is the culmination of Antoni Gaudí’s
career. Its curved, sinuous forms are the main elements inside and outside. Its façade resembles the
moving sea, the waves interacting with the seaweed-motifs on the wrought-iron balcony railings. The large
stone blocks are a type of skin that covers the skeleton of a building free of load-bearing walls.
A modernistic building tailored to the new social needs, without forgetting his main source of inspiration:
nature and organic forms.
THE COLUMBUS MONUMENT
It stands at the end of Barcelona’s Rambla, near the sea. You can take the lift inside the column to
the viewing gallery at the top, 60 metres above the ground.
This major landmark on the Rambla was built in 1888 for the Universal Exhibition as a tribute to
Christopher Columbus, who chose to disembark in the port of Barcelona on his return from America.
Inside, a lift raises the 51mts high of the column, made of cast iron and Corinthian style, to the viewing
And in its top, dominating the sky of Barcelona, the statue of Christopher Columbus is holding a
navigational chart in his left hand, and pointing to the route to America with his right.
ARC DE TRIOMF
In 1888 Barcelona hosted the Universal Exhibition. The Arc de Triomf was built as the gateway to the
fair which was held in the Parc de la Ciutadella. The monument is classical in shape and proportions
and features ground-breaking sculptural and decorative finishes replete with symbolism.
The architect Josep Vilaseca designed a monument of classical style and proportions as an allegory of
Barcelona’s respect for the nations and provinces taking part in the exhibition. As a counterpoint, Vilaseca
chose to build the arch from brick and decorate it with sculptural motifs evocative of the neo-Mudejar
style that was very much in vogue in Spain at the time. The combination of red brick with the series of
friezes around the arch, make it a singularly beautiful landmark.
There are reliefs on one side symbolising agriculture and industry, and commerce and art on the other.
At the top of the arch the shields of the 49 Spanish provinces are presided over by the coat of arms
of the city of Barcelona
Antoni Gaudí’s best-known work and has become an undisputed symbol of Barcelona. Extravagant,
ambitious and controversial, this unique modern temple has been under construction since 1882, and is
expected to be completed by 2030.
MUSEU NACIONAL D’ART DE CATALUNYA
The museum MNAC is housed in the Palau Nacional, a landmark building dating from the 1929
International Exhibition of Barcelona. It is located on Montjuïc Hill, a privileged setting which boasts
unique, magnificent views of Barcelona.
The MNAC takes visitors on an uninterrupted journey through a thousand years of Catalan art, from
the 10th to the 20th centuries, through its four permanent collections: Romanesque and Gothic art,
Renaissance and Baroque art, Modern art, photography, drawings, prints and posters and the Catalan
Numismatic Department and a gallery featuring work by Picasso.
The cultural supply of the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya is completed with a rich calendar of