Barcelona’s 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

With over 8 million international visitors and growing each year, Barcelona is the most visited city in Spain and the 4th most visited in Europe. There are lots of reasons to visit our home city; among them are the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites recognized for their cultural significance.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a special agency within the UN “responsible for coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication.” They are best known for recognizing landmarks on the basis of cultural, historical, or scientific importance and legally protecting them under international law.

As of May 2017, there are 1,052 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of the nine in Barcelona, seven are the work of famed Catalan Modernist architect Antoni Gaudi. Come see these important landmarks on your next trip:

1. Casa Batlló

Originally built in 1877, this private residence was famously remodeled by Antoni Gaudi in 1904. In classic Catalan Modernist style, the building features asymmetrical shapes and a preference for curves over straight lines.

The exterior of the house features a colorful mosaic of broken ceramic tile leading to a multi-colored, arched roof that resembles the scales of a dragon.

2. Casa Milà

Also known as La Pedrera or “open query”, due to its stone facade, Casa Milà was built between 1906 and 1910. It was the last private residence designed by Antoni Gaudi.

There is not a single wall that is a perfectly straight line, causing the owner Pere Milà’s wife Roser to complain she had no where to place her piano. “So play the violin,” Gaudi replied.

3. Casa Vicens

Commissioned in 1877, Casa Vicens was the first house Antoni Gaudi ever designed. It is considered one of the earliest examples of Art Nouveau architecture. It features an oriental-inspired design and a keen eye can see hints of the style Guadi would later become famous for.

4. The Crypt of Colonia Güell

The Church of Colonia Güell was intended as a place of worship for the workers of a manufacturing district and their families. Antoni Gaudi had only completed the crypt when funds dried up, leaving the project unfinished.

The landmark is significant in that Gaudi had planned to use the project to test architectural innovations that would later be used in his magnum opus, La Sagrada Familia.

5. Palau Güell

This large private residence, built between 1886 and 1888, is one of Antoni Gaudi’s earlier works. It features straighter lines than Gaudi’s more famous buildings but is a great example of the evolution of his style over the years.

Visitors will enjoy the beautiful ironwork around the entrance resembling seaweed.

6. Park Güell

Another of Antoni Gaudi’s famous works, this public park was built between 1900 and 1914 and opened in 1926. The park features many modernist art pieces designed by Gaudi and his collaborators; the most popular being a mosaic dragon stairway.

7. La Sagrada Familia

A short walk from the Gates Hotel Diagonal Barcelona, you’ll find Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece and the crown jewel of the city’s modernist landmarks, La Sagrada Família church. Receiving over 3 million visitors a year, the temple is the most visited landmark in Barcelona.

Construction began in 1882 and is expected to continue through 2026. Gaudi worked on La Sagrada Familia for 44 years up until his death in 1926. Since then, construction has continued under the supervision of other architects.

8. Hospital de la Creu i Sant Pau

Not every World Heritage Site in Barcelona is the work of Antoni Gaudi. The Hospital de la Creu i Sant Pau was designed by Catalan modernisme architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

The gorgeous building served as a hospital until 2009 when it was converted into a museum and cultural center.

9. Palau de la Música Catalana

Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, this world-renown concert hall was built between 1905 and 1908. It still functions as a concert hall today. Catch a show or concert at this beautiful, ornate building on your next trip to Barcelona.

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