Witches, Giant Goldfish and an Astounding Church: Barcelona, Spain

This church, like so many others, has an incredible story. However, this story is more morbid than most. It all starts with a young girl who would not give up her religion. At a time when catholics were not in a very good position in the city, being tortured and murdered. A 13 year old girl was told to give up her religion. She refused. She was placed in a barrel with many sharp objects; glass, stones, anything that could be found and rolled down the street. This was  common form of torture at the time, not everyone lived. When her tormentors opened the barrel, not only was this young girl still alive, but she still would not change her faith. They sent her down the road again. This time, still alive, her tormentors were less worried about her religion, and starting to consider her to be a witch! Her fate was to be the same as her saviour, Jesus, to whom she stayed so faithful. She was pegged to a cross in the middle of the square. To everyones surprise, she still had not left this world, and her captors now had confirmation that she must have some strange power. The solution, of course, was to burn this young girl alive. Since, this church has been named in her honour, The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. There is even a statue representing her, on the top.


Much has changed in the world, and this city since stories of this kind. Some parts of the city do still keep certain aspects of past times though.  More appealing than the last story, some parts of the city still have a very charming medieval look to them.

In many of the major cities in Europe a triumphal arc can be found, Barcelona is much the same. The difference here is that this arch is not made to celebrate any specific triumph. This one was made before a world expo held in the city. Even though its beauty is comparable, no army has passed through this arch.


I think when most people think of Spain, one of the first few events to cross their mind, is a bull fight. This was, for a long time a very important part of the culture and tradition of the country. The appeal has since receded and in many parts of the country it is in fact banned. It is not impossible to see a bull fight today, but it is much more difficult than it once would have been. This building was once a bull fighting stadium. Unused today, it is a reminder of an epic event that is slowly being extinct thanks to its violent and animal cruel nature.

This beautiful fountain, and the park that surrounds it, were also made for the world expo. They stand in the place of what used to be a huge prison! The prison had been run down and so the people of Barcelona decided to replace it with something more useful! People in the city love to lie around on their beaches and on their new green space.


In the distance, a statue of Christopher Columbus can be seen. Known to many in North America as the person who discovered the beautiful continent. He was actually hired by the Spanish king of the time to sail to the Orient. Funnily enough, just as Columbus himself was aiming for something different, the people that have put up this statue, have placed him facing the wrong direction! It is said this happens often in Barcelona.

Sagrada Familia is one of the most important churches in the world. This huge masterpiece is created by Antoni Gaudí. This soon became his lifes work. He resided there and spent his last fifteen years completely devoted to his work. The length of time taken for this work, it is still incomplete and plans to be until at least 2026, has been heavily criticized, of this all Gaudi had to say at the time was;

“My Client is not in a hurry.”

Every little detail of this place has meaning. Even the enormous height of the structure is important as it is 1 meter shorter than the tallest mountain in Barcelona because as Gaudi said, he could not out do Gods creation. For more information have a look at this video explaining everything from Gaudi’s life to the detail of his masterpiece and lifes work. The original plans had been consumed by a fire, and so the parts that are currently being constructed are not Gaudi’s exact vision, however there are still many people working on carrying his dream to its end. For a look at what this great work should look like on completion in 2026:

This giant goldfish is donated to the city of Barcelona by a Canadian! Frank Gehry is a Canadian born architect and donated this work to the city for the Olympics held there in 1992. This piece can be seen to represent a goldfish jumping in to the sea, right across the beach from it. Some of Gehry’s other works include The Dancing House, Prague and the Art Gallery of Ontario Renovation, Toronto.


The fish isn’t the only thing that changed in Barcelona for the olympics. This whole stretch of beach was imported just for that! The beautiful sand on this beach is from the Sahara Desert in Morocco, the palm trees in the city were imported from Hawaii.


Originally this is probably what most of the coast of the city looked like. The province of Catalonia is one of the richest and supports many other parts of Spain (one of the big reasons they would like to separate) and this big port would be one of the main reasons for that. This picture is taken from the top of Montjuic.


On the top of the mountain, since the 1600 sits Castell de Montjuic. From the castle, a great view of the city can be seen.


The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc first spouted on 19 May 1929 during the Great Universal Exhibition. It shoots a massive 2,600 litres per second in many different directions and formations. It even lights up and there is a music show to go along with it.

Park Guell, is the home of Gaudi’s famous wall. A very interesting park for its design and again a great view of the city over the wall and his house.


While in Spain eat like the spanish do! We stopped for famous Paela, named after the dish it is cooked in and Tapas, an assortment of finger foods, while in Barcelona.


Have you been to Barcelona? What is your story there?

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