Barcelona, capital of Catalunya – an empire which once straddled the Pyrénées and ruled the trading routes of the Mediterranean – is a proud nation with its own language, customs and traditions, all forged by a fierce democratic history…
Barcelona’s history is reflected in its striking, expressionistic architecture engineered by some of the greatest builders known to man – foremost amongst them: Antoni Cornet i Gaudí.Architectural historian Julian Davison charts the liberal history of this remarkable city by exploring its buildings. And what buildings! For this was a city transformed by the merchantJulian Davison, Barcelonariches of the Middle Ages, accrued by an expansive sea trade which led to the construction of resplendent Gothic palaces and gravity-defying churches.
When Barcelona fell under the heel of its Aragonese neighbours in the ensuing centuries, it found its feet again with Spain’s conquest of the Americas.
Industrialists moneyed by their profitable trans-Atlantic trading became the new Gothic princes of yesteryear. They invested in new mansions designed by a group of ‘modernista’ architects who flew the Catalan flag during a belated 19th century renaissance – Antoni Gaudí, Domanech i Montaner and Puig i Cadalfach – who between them, produced edifices of breathtaking imagination and splendour.
As Julian points out, they paved the way to the creation of a metropolis unlike any other in the world.