Sure, you’ve done your research, and are excited to visit Barcelona’s famous monuments, museums, parks, and beaches upon arrival. But did you there’s more to Barcelona’s rich history than meets the eye? Take a peek at five mind-blowing facts about one of the world’s most-sought-after cities.
1. The Beaches Are Artificial
Yep, each of Barcelona’s breathtaking beaches are 100% manmade. Chock-full of industrial buildings, monuments, museums, and arenas, it wasn’t until 1992 that the city decided to haul sand into the coastline to enjoy the warm Mediterranean waters. Despite being artificial, National Geographic recognizes Barcelona’s beaches as some of the most beautiful in the world.
2. Las Ramblas Boulevard Is Actually A Stretch Of Five Different Avenues
Located in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and lined with restaurants and gift shops, Las Ramblas Boulevard is often misconstrued as a street of its own. In reality, the boulevard is defined by five separate avenues–Rambla de Canaletes, the site of the famous fountain, Font de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, an avenue lined in gift shops, Rambla de Sant Josep, a stretch of open-air flower markets, Rambla dels Caputxins, home to the Liceu Opera House, and Rambla de Santa Mònica, a hub for Spanish art museums. Breaking down the boulevard makes each avenue easier to digest, as the whole stretch sees 150,000 people daily.
3. Sagrada Família Has Taken Longer To Build Than The Ancient Egyptian Pyramids
The ancient Egyptian pyramids took 20 years to build, fully completed in 2611 BC. Antoni Gaudí began construction of Sagrada Família over 200 years ago, and it still isn’t complete! Suffice to say, Sagrada Família is still a stunning site to see, boasting over 984 meters in height, with Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau-inspired architecture.
4. St. Jordi’s Day Embraces Love In A Whole New Way
A celebration of both love and literacy, St. Jordi’s Day encourages lovers to profess their devotion in exchanging roses and books during a festival held on April 23 to commemorate famous patron Sant Jordi. Although the origin of the holiday is still up for debate, the most famous legend surrounds Sant Jordi’s moral commitment to Christianity over his undying love for a princess. St. Jordi’s Day results in over four million roses and 800,000 books purchased each year.
5. The Metro Stations Are Said To Be Haunted
Barcelona is home to over 12 abandoned train stations, in which tourists and locals alike claim to have witnessed ghosts, shadows, and an overall eerie aurora. A haunted tour even began in 2011, walking guests through the Lau Pau and Sagrada Família Lines. Ghost tours are still available today. Are you brave enough to explore for yourself?