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Sights

The grandeur of a caliph's palace, sybaritic sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches, the staccato stamp of a flamenco dancer's heels, the awed hush of pilgrims entering the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela after weeks of walking El Camino. You can find the soul of Spain in tourist attractions such as these, which represent the country's tumultuous history, rich culture, and enchanting natural beauty. From the sunlight playing endlessly off the "scales" of Gehry's Guggenheim Museum and the throbbing street life of La Rambla and Plaza Mayor to the forest of columns and Moorish arches disappearing into the silent expanse of Cordoba's Great Mosque, Spain exudes a vibrant energy and a captivating blend of past and present.

Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Cathedral - amazingly beautiful example of Gothic style with clearly defying Catalan motifs. Despite its massiveness, provoking the viewer thinking about joyless Middle Ages, the cathedral boasts a mass of fine details - pompous gothic "socket" on the main entrance, slender columns and spiers, flying up turrets. But the main attractions are located within a - a sculpture of Christ with the leader of the Catalan fleet, 13 white geese in praise of the Holy Eulalia and breathtaking views of Barcelona from the dome of the cathedral.
The construction of Barcelona Cathedral (or Cathedral of Santa Eulalia) was slow and full of interruptions. Construction began in the 13th century, on top of a roman cathedral, but what's interesting is that the roman cathedral was built on top of a Visigothic cathedral! Barcelona Cathedral took around 150 years to complete, and it wasn't until the end of the 19th century that the building was expanded from a modest building to the fancy neo-gothic one we see today.
The Cathedral was originally built in the Catalan gothic style with three naves and a single apse. It has transformed a lot since then, into a neo-gothic style. The buttresses divide the central space from the various side chapels. The building has huge windows and two large bell towers. It has five entry points; the main one, Door of Saint Ivo, Door of Mercy, Door of Santa Eulalia, and Door of Santa Lucia. It is home to enclaves of artistic and cultural interest, such as the main alter, the crypt of Santa Eulalia, the vaults, as well as a choir and organ. Of course there is much more to discover like the old and new chapter hall, the Cathedral Musuem, cloister, and the various chapels and tombs.
Las Ramblas
Spain's most famous street, Las Ramblas stretches from Plaza Catalunya to the Old Port. There is always a lively atmosphere of fun, festivities and delicious secrets. Center Boulevard - the pedestrian, on his pavement settled sellers of flowers, souvenirs and sweets and mimes, and on both sides of the roadway crowded buildings of 16-18 centuries: museums, theaters and homes.
Rambla is divided into 5 sections, each of which is anything but famous: turning off the Rambla of the Capuchins, for example, can reach the palm-lined Place Royale, Rambla de Canaletes is the main place of celebration of FC wins "Barcelona", and on Las Ramblas San Jose can see tiled mosaics, which element bears the autograph of Joan Miró. On the Rambla are located such pearls of Catalan architecture, as the Boqueria market, the Liceu Theatre and the Palace Vireyna and more you can visit the Wax Museum and the Museum of eroticism.
Las Ventas
The monumental building in red, built in the Moorish style, with beautiful arches, statues in front of him and the rich interior - is the famous bullring Las Ventas. Las Ventas - the real attraction of Madrid.
It is located in the quarter Gindalera, in the municipality of Salamanca. Sama bullring was opened on June 17, 1931

The architect of the arena that holds 25,000 people, was Jose Espeliu, who performed it in the Moorish style with ceramic inlays. "Las Ventas" was ready in 1929, and two years later, June 17, 1931, the first bullfight, which opened a new stadium, which reaches 65 meters in diameter was conducted.

Places are divided into 10 categories. Price depends on the place close to the arena, whether it is in the sun or in the shade. Bullfighting season begins in March and lasts until December; bullfighting can be seen every day for the Feast of San Isidro, Sundays or public holidays throughout the season. Bullfighting begins in 18-19 h. And lasts 2-3 hours.
Museo Goya
Outside of Madrid’s Museo del Prado, this excellent museum contains what is arguably, the best expose of the work of one of Spain’s most revered artists. A recent refurbishment (and renaming) has only enhanced its credentials. The place is exceedingly well laid-out with each of its three floors carrying a different theme.

The first floor amasses some of the art that influenced Goya. The second exhibits the man himself through his paintings and prints. Four complete sets of his prints are included, most notably the groundbreaking but sometimes grotesque, Los Desastres de la Guerra (Disasters of War). The top floor investigates Goya’s massive influence by tracking through the work of his imitators and followers.

Museum Prado
Along with the Louvre and the Hermitage in the Prado Museum is considered the largest in the world. Here you can find a rich collection of Spanish painting, masterpieces of Italian, Flemish and Dutch masters. Officially the museum was opened in Madrid in 1819 in the Prado Park, through which it got its name. Construction of the museum lasted for more than 20 years under the direction of the Spanish architect Juan de Villanueva. The first collection of the Prado Museum has more than 300 paintings, here now contains over 6000 paintings, 400 sculptures and jewelry.
Plaza de Ayuntamento
Plaza de Ayuntamento is the centrepoint of Valencia and is fairly impossible to miss. This large square is undoubtedly the most impressive of all Valencian squares, hosting rows of incredible buildings. Arguably the best Valencian architecture of XIX - beginning of XX century. Some of those buildigs are simply stunning, while others are also very curious in their construction.

The Ayuntamento (City Hall) is the seat of the city government and is the dominating structure of the square. It is an absolutely stunning modernist building with traditional Spanish and Valencian elements. The central clock tower is the focal point of all Valencian major events, with public addresses taking place on its balcony. During the opening hours you can also visit some of the interior - the central hall, the Sala de Cristal (luxurious reception hall) and the Historic Museum - a small collection of heavy-weight artefacts from Valencian history.
Royal Palace Madrid
The Palacio Real, or Royal Palace, is Madrid's largest building and possibly its most beautiful. It is located next to the equally beautiful Plaza de Oriente square.
It may come as surpirse to our readers to learn that Madrid's Royal Palace is the largest royal palace in Western Europe. It was built on the site of the old Alcázar, the Moorish castle destroyed by fire in 1734, but the site has been occupied since the 10th century by the Moors, who having named the city's Manzanares river al-Magrit ("source of water"), referred to the area as Mayrit which became Magerit, then Madrid. The old city walls around this area may still be seen.
The palace was initially designed by Filippo Juvarra to accommodate the court of Felipe V, a total of more than 3000 courtiers. Juan Bautista Sacchetti initiated the building project in 1737 and Francisco Sabatini and Ventura Rodríguez terminated the works. It is surrounded by the beautiful Sabatini and Campo del Moro parks.
The palace itself contains furniture, tapestries, paintings and ceramics as well as other important works of art and frescos by Tiépolo. Velázquez, Goya, Giordano and Mengs are all represented here amongst the dozens of valuable tapestries and paintings, making the palace one of Europe's most important museums and receiving more than 880,000 visitors in 2006.
It remains open to the public almost year round except on the days of official ceremonies and receptions, although the public can only access certain areas. It is located on Bailén street, and the nearest Metro station is Opera.
Sagrada Familia
Though it's full name is El Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia (The Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family), this building is simply known as the Sagrada Familia, a basilica designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí i Cornet. It is one of the most famous works by the artist and is the most iconic and visited monument in Barcelona. Each year the monument attracted more visitors than any other attraction in Spain, including the Prado Museum in Madrid and the Alhambra in Granada.
Work on this project began in 1882 and it's still not complete today! The buidling actually started without Gaudí being part of the project, though he joined a year in and made a complete overhaul of the design.
The original idea of the Sagrada Familia came from a bookseller called Josep Maria Bocabella. He funded the project, taken on by Francisco de Paula de Villar y Lozano who proposed a replica of the Basilica della Santa Casa in Loreto, Italy. After some disputes during the project though, Bocabella eventually offered the project to his assistant at the time, Antoni Gaudí, who dedicated the rest of his life to the project. He famously said when questioned about the speed of the project "My client is not in a hurry...". He passed away having completed the front façade and one of the towers.
After Gaudí died at 73 years old in a tram accident, his assistant Doménec Sugrañes took charge of the project, finishing three columns. Sadly, during the civil war, a fire broke out in the crypt, effectively destroying many of Gaudí's original plans and directions. Construction resumed in 1944 and the new architects had to imagine many of the ideas that Gaudí must have had, leading to several theories that the church we see today may vary greatly from the original intentions of Gaudí.

Regardless of whether the design adheres strictly to his plans or not, UNESCO declared the building a world heritage site in 2005, under the works of Gaudí. It's still not expected to be complete until 2026.
The City of Arts and Sciences
Everyone has seen Baroque, Rennaisance, Gothic...It got boring. How many people can come back from their holiday and boast about the 22nd century architecture they enjoyed on their trip?

No pictures will do it justice. This is one of those things you have to see no matter how much you hate the crowds and tourist traps, like the Sagrada Familia of Barcelona or Machu Picchu of Peru. Only this time you are transported into the future, not into the past.

The City of Arts and Sciences is a huge futuristic educational complex designed for Valencia by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrva, as a present to his home city. Calatrava's vision is that of the space age, inspired by animal skeletons.

You can enjoy it for free, unless you want to go inside and explore what it has to offer - the City is much more than the pretty face, offereing amazing entertainment and education on an unprecendeted in Europe level.

The City of Arts and Sciences is composed of 5 elements (below), all bound together in a luxurious lanscape of clear water spaces and greenery. It is truly a city withing a city - you will find yourself far, far away from Valencia, on some distant planet in a distant time.

Some parts around it are still work in progress - the 6th and final construction has only just commenced and thats why the park around the Oceanographic has to wait to be completed. Although this makes a few corners unsightly, generally it doesn't make a big impact on the stunning experience you will receive.
The Gothic Quarter
Once the most center of Barcelona and the center of all its medieval attractions, is located between the Gothic Quarter and Las Ramblas Street Laietana. Despite the fact that many buildings here dates back to 14-15 centuries, the Gothic Quarter and lack of cozy restaurants and expensive shops, and vibrant nightlife. Quarter Planning is a web of narrow streets, many of them on foot, found on rectangular squares, surrounded on all sides abutting buildings. Among the prettiest - St. Jaume square, leading the story more from Roman times, a shaded area and a cozy area Reial Del Rey.
Architectural masterpieces of Gothic Quarter - first of all, the magnificent Cathedral of 12-19 centuries, with a number of interesting artifacts inside (and 13 snow-white geese!), The building of the Government of Catalonia, the ruins of the ancient city walls and the Temple of Augustus, House Archdeacon and Archbishop's Palace. It also houses the Jewish Quarter and the ruins of the Great Synagogue. Nearest to the Gothic quarter metro station - Liceu and Jaume I.
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