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Antoni Gaudí designed this palace for Eusebi Güell, his most important patron. It was one of the architect's first big undertakings and he expressed all of his original creative genius in it. It was built between 1885 and 1889 and shows early signs of Gaudí's desire to combine the structural and the decorative aspects of architecture. He made artistic use of the iron structural elements and introduced Byzantine domes made out of flattened bricks. Let your visit to the city include a guided tour that starts every half hour.
Nestled on the bustling La Rambla street, Virreina Palace was constructed for Viceroy of Peru, Manuel d'Amat i de Junyent. Built in the 18th Century, the palace was erected to the designs of noted architect Carles Grau and the structure remains an arresting example of rococo and baroque architectural styles. Presently, Virreina Palace is home to the Culture Institute and organizes several cultural programs and temporary exhibitions of art works by noted regional and international artists.
This is a French baroque-style palace built by architect Josep Ribes in 1770 for the ex-viceroy of Peru, Manuel Amat i Junyent, who thought it would please his new wife. Palau de la Virreina is now headquarters to the Town Hall's Cultural Department. The exhibition center shows works by some of Catalonia's most important contemporary artists, like Oriol Bohigas and Antoni Abad.
Better known as the Ayuntamiento, Casa de la Ciutat is located directly opposite the Generalitat in Plaça Sant Jaume. There are two ways to get in, via the neoclassical-style entrance on Sant Jaume or the Gothic-style entrance on Carrer Ciutat. Both lead you in to the 15th-century Saló de Cent (The Hundred Room) where the city's most important ceremonies and functions (award ceremonies, book launches, conferences) take place. In the hallway, you'll pass impressive sculptures by Pablo Gargallo, Josep Llimona and Rebull as well one of Ràfols Casamada's paintings dating from 1982.
Catalonia's regional government and the building where its members sit are both called the Generalitat. When visiting the building, there are two ways in: the 1403 Renaissance entrance in Plaça Sant Jaume, and Pere Joan's 1418 Gothic-style entrance with its relief of Sant Jordi (St. George), patron saint of Catalonia. Once inside, you'll pass through Pau Mateu's attractive Gothic courtyard (pati dels tarongers) planted with orange trees under the belfry, designed by Pere Ferrer in 1568 to Sant Jordi's chapel, the work of Catalan architect Marc Safont (1432-4). The building is only open to the public on April 23, Fiesta de Sant Jordi.
The Palau Moja is a historic building located on Barcelona's famous La Rambla. The building has a long and interesting history. Built in 1774, the building once housed the Marquis of Moja, and since has passed through several other Marquis' and noble family, including the city's famous patrons, the Güell family. The building was bought by the Generalitat of Catalunya in 1981 and now houses the Direcció General del Patrimoni Artistic y la Direcció General del Patrimoni Escrit i Documental (General Directorate of the General and Artistic Heritage of Written and Documentary Heritage), and the first floor houses the Generalitat of Catalunya bookstore.
Located inside the Royal College of Surgeons, in the University of Barcelona, the Sala Gimbernat, decked with red drapes and ornate carvings, is one of the oldest surgery theaters that was used to teach anatomy to students. A marble operating table can be seen in the center of the hall where human corpses were dissected while students looked on from the corners. The table can be rotated 360 degrees in order to get a better view. Today, it is open to visitors with prior appointment.
Gaze at the ancient frescoes that depict scenes from the aftermath of the Catalan-French resistance of 1809. In these pictures one can witness the guillotine of the Catalan resistance leaders. While three paintings show five Catalan leaders waiting to be hanged, one has a still of the three agitators who started the uprising of the Catalans. They surrendered only to hanged later. At this square, apart from the history that can be gauged, one can also witness the passers-by and get a taste of the local scene.