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is an open-air architectural museum in Barcelona showcasing buildings and crafts from Spain's various regions. The name translates to "Spanish town" and you get a real feel for the country as you wander around the full-scale structures and reproductions of squares and streets.
There's more than one hundred points of interest that represent five themed areas of Spain - the North, Centre, South, Mediterranean and the Way of Saint James. You'll see replica monuments and villages, enjoy cafes, restaurants and bars, souvenir shops, craft workshops, a theatre and a contemporary art museum. Communities from Catalonia to Andalusia, Basque Country, Valencia, Madrid and more are on show to explore, with the architecture ranging from Romanesque to Baroque.
Central squares are the heart of towns in Spain and much of Europe. They're the place where community events occur, from markets and fairs to religious ceremonies and popular festivals. As you enter through the castle-like front and continue straight ahead, you'll be upon Plaça Mayor, a large plaza replicating that of Plaça Castellana de Riaza in Segovia. The open centre is surrounded by house tapas bars and restaurants serving regional cuisine. It's worth visiting when there's an event on, such as a music concert, as this is when the plaza really comes alive.
Stand out buildings throughout include the Town Hall from Teruel and the Tower of Utebo, a copy of the bell tower in Zaragoza. The latter's intricate ceramic enamel decoration is something to be admired. The building housing the multimedia experience "Fiesta - The Soul of Spain" (that re-creates popular festivals through video mapping), with the dual staircase in front of it, is another beauty that makes for a memorable moment of awe.
The Fran Daurel Museum houses a series of rooms exhibiting paintings, ceramics, sculptures, tapestries, drawings and graphic artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. Over 300 works and more than 80 artists are featured, from the likes of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miro, with artistic movements including Expressionism, Surrealism and Conceptual Art.
As you walk the narrow streets, you get the small village feels with flower pots adorning walls of whitewashed houses, old-style balconies, lampposts, statues, arches and decorative features you don't see in large modern cities. The tiny shops are the place for unique gifts and to admire the artisans as they work on their crafts, from glass blowing to leather craft and pottery. Some artisans offer you the opportunity to do quick workshops and personalised courses. You can see what's available here
If you want to see a Romanesque monastery, then head to the far end of (away from the entry gate) to see the Monastery of Sant Miquel. It is surrounded by a garden area and has a chapel, a cloister (covered walk) and a room for holding banquets and meetings. The views of Barcelona from here are breathtaking.
was originally created for the Barcelona World Expo of 1929, with the creators travelling to 1600 towns to decide on which buildings to replicate. Some artistic changes have been made to enhance the original counterparts. The structures were due to be demolished after the exhibition was over but thanks to its success and positive reviews they live on. I, for one, am glad as it is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours or more at leisure strolling around and admiring the architecture, the art and enjoying a bite to eat, along with some shopping. The site is of immense cultural and architectural value and well worth seeing whilst you're in Barcelona.
Open daily year round, from 10am till late in the evening, is located on Montjuïc hill with entry from EUR10 per adult and from EUR9 per child, aged 4-12years. Under 4's are free. Click here
for tickets. Be sure to grab a map at the entry gate so you don't miss all the little streets and attractions.
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