Christmas in Barcelona is a magic experience. Colorful Christmas display lights already lighted up the nights of Barcelona. In such a beautiful city with large avenues, medieval narrow streets, pedestrian streets and amazing modernist-style buildings, Christmas lights add some magic touch to the holidays’ spirit. Generally, theme, size and colors of Christmas decorated lights change every year. The best ones are to be found along the main streets (Gran Via or Passeig de Gracia), Portal de l’Angel pedestrian street, Plaza de Catalunya, Ramblas and the major shopping areas.
Every year, on September 24, Barcelona celebrates La Merce festival, the major annual festival in town. For every photographer this is one of the greatest chances to shoot colorful and folkloristic images. In fact, for a few days, you have the opportunity to see street parades, including papier maché “giants” known as gegants i capgrossos and castellers (human towers). La Merce has been celebrated since the Middle Ages when, in 1687, Barcelona suffered a plague of locusts.
Castellers are a popular catalan tradition and an opportunity to take photos in Barcelona. They are a team of persons forming a “castell”or a human tower built traditionally in several festivals held in Barcelona and Catalonia throughout the year.
A castell is considered a success when stages of its assembling and disassembling, can be done in complete succession. The assembly is complete once all castellers have climbed into their designated places, and the enxaneta (usually, a small boy) climbs into place at the top and raises one hand with four fingers erect, in a gesture said to symbolize the stripes of the Catalan flag. The enxaneta then climbs down the other side of the castell, after which the remaining levels of castellers descend in highest-to-lowest order until all have reached safety.
The night lights show at the Magic Fountain of Montjuic in Barcelona is on again after the usual short winter maintenance break. Located right below the Palau Nacional Museum on the Montjuïc hill and near Plaza España, this impressive fountain of Barcelona is considered one of the most popular and must see attractions in town. The Magic Fountain of Montjuic was designed by the engineer Carles Buigas and realized for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. Restored for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games it quickly became one of the most popular sights to visit. The Magic Fountain is the main feature of the collection of several waterfalls and ponds which stretch down from the Palau Nacional to Plaza España along Avinguda Maria Cristina. A spectacular multicolored and synchronized display of lights, motion, music and water jets take place every weekend’s nights for a couple of hours or so.
After four years of painstaking restoration, the Hospital de Sant Pau complex back to its initial splendor finally by reopening it to the public again. As a free entrance was issued to celebrate the event, I took my camera for shooting a few images inside this magnificent building. Actually, this exuberant and breathtaking sample of modernist architecture can rival only the Sagrada Familia in town for size and innovation.
The Hospital de Sant Pau building was thought to replace the obsolete and too small Hospital de la Santa Creu at the end of 19th century. At that time, the famous Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner was in charge to project this new hospital for the city of Barcelona and he thought about creating a sort of garden city that would also cheer up patients.
The innovative hospital was inaugurated in 1930 and the result was a magnificent complex of whimsical pavilions adorned with colorful turrets and covered with beautiful mosaics, stained glass and marble sculptures.
Today, this unique modernist complex, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is mainly a knowledge campus. In fact, it hosts headquarters of international organisations such as Casa Àsia and the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility. The fully restored complex just increased the wide and prestigious offer of sightseeing existing in town. Also, more chances for taking new photos in Barcelona!