Tag Archives: sightseeing

Over 150 buildings in Barcelona open to the public this weekend! – 48h Open House

Hitch-Hikers' Handbook

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand on top of the famous Arc de Triomf or visit the chambers of Barcelona Town Hall? Now you have the chance to do it during the 48h Open House event!

Arc de Triomf, Barcelona, Spain

Between 19th and 20th October over 150 buildings in Barcelona will open its doors to the public! Barcelona is one of the main European cities in terms of the architectural beauty and now you have a unique opportunity to visit its buildings for free! This event is not aimed solely at architecture buffs, but at everyone who would like to “explore and understand the value of a space, designed and well built”.

Casa de la Ciudad, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, Barcelona Town Hall, Spain

Open House event began in London in 1992, and since then it has been introduced around the world’s major cities like New York, Tel Aviv, Melbourne and now also Barcelona.

Links & more information:

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Santuari de Sant Josep de la Muntanya

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Looking into the future

Celebrating a new millennium

A bit random, I know, but reaching 1,000 views is a kind of significant milestone since I started this site 3 months ago and I would like to thank all those who have helped me achieve it and for the kind comments I have received over the period.mydiagonal1000

And it’s a good opportunity to give a wee update: –  over the next weeks and months, I will be adding new posts on places to see, eat or shop around the Eixample and Gràcia, and on events going on Barcelona-wide, as well as re-blogging other items that I think will interest visitors. There will soon be a section on restaurants and hotels, getting around and plenty more that can be found by clicking on the different categories on the right.

All comments, suggestions and critiques are welcome and I look forward to interacting with explorers of Barcelona over the coming months to make MyDiagonal a comprehensive resource for those looking to experience the city off the beaten track.

So, Fins aviat! (See you soon) and watch this space.

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To go: Grácia in Barcelona

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Façades and fantasy

Look what’s looking down at you

There’s so much to see around you as you walk the streets of the Eixample. Both at ground level and up above, here are a few of the delights you can admire along the way – a mix of classical and modernista styles, some inspired by the indianos who came back from making their fortunes in the Americas and helped to build modern Barcelona.


Aribau 48



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Doorways and demons

Art and artifice on every street

Design and skilled craftsmanhip in wood, stone and ironwork are all around you when you walk through the streets of the Eixample. Here is a selection of doors and entrances you can find along the way.




París 182

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The many faces of the Eixample

Balconies and balustrades – part 1

A city’s soul – and that of its quarters – is made up of the people who live and work there, the places they meet, eat and have fun, of the visitors and those passing through, but also of the legacy left in its architecture. The streets of the Eixample have their own character, reflected in these images that bear the mark of the designers and architects of the second half of the 1800s, who created this new quarter combining classical and modernista aesthetics to create its distinctive style.

Here’s a wee tour of some of the sights you’ll find as you explore the streets of the quarter.

Balconies, galerías and oriel windows





IMG_0219Look out for more to come in future posts.


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La Casa China


Fusion Art Deco

A must-see house in the Eixample

La Casa China – formally known as Casa Ferrán – was unveiled in 1930 and immediately slated by critics, receiving even greater opprobrium and mockery than Gaudí had three decades earlier. Designed by Valencian arquitect Juan Francisco Guardiola Martínez, it was variously described as ridiculous and kitsch.

Guardiola also designed, among others, the Casa Judía in Valencia and his style is quite distinct from the Catalan modernista, reflecting the international Art Deco movement that was reaching its pre-war apogee at the time across Europe and the Western hemisphere. It is, if nothing else, a striking building, with a pagoda-like central turret incorporating Moorish elements.

La Casa China

La Casa China

Sitting triumphantly on the xamfrà junction of Consell de Cent and Muntaner, its base of tall classical Ionic columns with art nouveau embellishments supports a colouristIMG_0200 façade with incongruously green-shuttered galerías and typical Eixample balconies projecting from it. It is a mishmash of cultural influences and artistic movements and, kitsch or not it’s a bold and, to me, delightful statement of unapologetic fusion architecture and well worth a visit.

The building is private property and is not open to the public.

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The street with an exotic treat

As you move deeper into the left Eixample, the character of the streets gradually changes as the modernista influences of the early 20th century are replaced with less flamboyant styles of later periods.



However, finely carved stonework, colourful façades and richly decorated balconies and galerias still grace the streets as you progress away from the Quadrat d’Or (Golden Square) centred around Passeig de Gràcia and bordered by Aribau and reach carrer Muntaner.

Starting out on the edge of Ciutat Vella, Muntaner heads mountainward, cutting across the Gran Vía and Diagonal, into the upper reaches of Sant Gervasi. Along its way the typical Eixample cityscape is interspersed with modernista architecture, pavement cafés, more classical buildings and a smattering of unprepossessing 70s rectilinear edifices. But for me, a must-see of lesser-known Barcelona architecture is La Casa China, or Casa Ferrán to give it its official name, at the lower end of the street on the corner of Consell de Cent, an exotic art deco mélange of classical and Oriental styles, unveiled to mixed acclaim in 1930.


The Eixample section of Muntaner has some other fine buildings at its upper end off the Diagonal and at the lower end Gran Vía. Starting from the Diagonal:

La Casa China

La Casa China

Casa Parés de Plet (off Diagonal – behind Hotel Presidente) – A striking modernist house with a twin column of highly decorative stained glass oriel windows, stone parapets and ironwork balconies.

down at the lower end towards Gran Vía:

Casa Ferrán La Casa China (Corner of Consell de Cent) – An exotic fusion of art deco architecture with Ionic columns and a pagoda-like central turret incorporating Moorish designs. More…

and 5 buildings down towards Diputaciò on the same side of the street:

Muntaner 44 – A classic Eixample house with decorative façade and fine stonework, particularly on its upper level.

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Exhibition Picture 5 – Barcelona Alley

Thoughts of a Peterborough artisan

Exhibition Picture 5 - Barcelona Alley

So here we are with post number 5 in our exhibition prints range.

Today’s print is ‘Barcelona Alley’ and is a picture which was taken last year in Barcelona would you believe!

The backstreets and alleys are full of interesting architecture and when you give them a HDR treatment it really enhances the styles and the colours.

Our exhibition is running at Peterborough Museum for the next few months so if you do happen to be passing please drop in as we are raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

If you would like to see all of the prints that are being displayed then please click on the picture and you will be taken to the relevant page on our website.

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