A city so beautiful and famous like Barcelona has plenty of stories to tell. Would you like to learn more about the Catalan capital? Here are 15 fascinating facts that are sure to amaze you.
1. The city was originally called Barcino and over time the name was changed to Barcelona
The city was originally called Barcino and over time the name was changed to Barcelona.
Many don’t know that Barcelona, despite its international fame nowadays, had quite humble beginnings. In fact, it traces its origins to the Roman colony called Barcino. Since then, it would gradually be influenced by other cultures until eventually becoming Barcelona that we know today.
2. Sagrada Familia is one of the most emblematic architectural works of the city and the Spanish modernism around the world
It is also a symbol of identity for the Catalan people. The construction, which begun in 1882 under the direction architect Antoni Gaudí and is still in the works, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona.
If you’re ever in Barcelona, this essential sight is guaranteed to leave you speechless. You can get your tickets here
and enjoy a stroll amongst ceilings, sculptures and architectural elements so intricate and imaginative that they became Gaudí’s hallmark.
3. Barcelona could have been home to the Eiffel Tower
Barcelona was top of mind for its creator, Gustave Eiffel. He associated the city with utmost perfection and to be honest, he wasn’t wrong. Unfortunately, the plan was rejected as many feared that the construction would be an eyesore for the city.
4. There are 4,027 streets in Barcelona, each one with a thousand exciting stories to tell
If you’re like us and are more of a city person, then you’re in luck! Barcelona offers an infinite number of streets to explore and get lost in. We guarantee that the only thing you won’t find there is boredom. Whoever claims that there is nothing to do in Barcelona is lying.
5. In its early days, Gaudí's iconic building, La Pedrera, was dubbed locally as “la Mona de Pascua” (a typical Catalan Easter cake)
Although La Pedrera (or Casa Milà) was disliked by many at first, this architectural gem was eventually declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once teased and undervalued, now loved by the entire nation.
6. La Boquería is the largest market in Catalonia
La Boquería or rather the biggest market in Catalonia is an obligatory stop on your Barcelona itinerary.
Explore its countless stalls, juice stands and bars
, surrounded by the mouth-watering smell of the freshest food in Barcelona.
7. At the entrance of the Monastery of Pedralbes square lies a stone that hides a great secret
That stone is a menhir, a prehistoric monument that was built with unhewn stones. Legend has it that if you bang your head against it, you can hear the angels. This must-visit gem is located at 18 Calle de Montevideo.
8. The Kiss mural goes by the name "The World Begins with Every Kiss”
The huge kiss is made up of thousands of photos of locals depicting their moment of freedom. It commemorates the 300th anniversary of the events that took place in Barcelona in 1714, when the city fell to the Bourbon troops. It is located in Plaza Isidre Nonell, right next to Barcelona Cathedral.
9. In the middle of the street in Les Corts district stands a telescope
It functions perfectly, but you can’t see much beyond people, houses and cars. The locals say it was installed to observe the birds in the nearby vertical garden.
If you want to use the telescope, it’s completely free of charge and is located at 103 Calle del Marquès de Sentmenat.
10. There is a little Tooth Fairy’s house in Barcelona
This mini home at 25 Calle Taquígraf Garriga is a perfect attraction for the little ones. Until it was vandalised, it used to be possible to open the door and see the little Tooth Fairy mouse inside.
11. Antoni Gaudí built the Portal Miralles, a stunning gateway that very few know of
Originally built as a gate to the Miralles property in 1901, it is one of Gaudí's lesser-known works that we recommend you to see and admire for all its details.
It is made of stone, with a grille that resembles reptile skin. Right next to the gateway stands the statue of Gaudí himself, which was unveiled in 2000. Nowadays, Portal Miralles is only a passageway and is situated at 55-57 Paseo de Manuel Girona.
12. The statue in front of Palau de la Música depicts the face of a real girl
This project was temporary, but the locals admired it so much that it stands to this day. The name of the sculpture is Carmela and depicts the face of a real girl. Its author, Jaume Plensa, had to scan her face to make this masterpiece, which stands at 5 metres tall.
13. Barcelona is home to a wall full of giant pencils
This wall with a total of 50 coloured pencils is perhaps the most intriguing wall in Barcelona. It is located just in front of the Montserrat high school.
14. Europe’s largest stationery shop is located in Barcelona
At first glance it seems to be a pretty standard stationery shop, but it’s nothing of the sort. This place is unbelievable! It has five floors, each more impressive than the other and each with a completely different decor. You can find virtually anything there.
They even have a forklift to carry all the products you want to buy to the checkout so you don't have to carry them around the shop. It works wonders! You can find Raima stationary shop at 27 Calle Comtal.
15. Five ramblas make up the famous Rambla de Barcelona
This is why it’s called Las Ramblas. First is the Rambla de Canaletas, located at Plaza Cataluña. It’s followed by the Rambla de los Estudios Generales, Rambla de las Flores, then the Rambla de los Capuchinos next to the Boquería and finally, the Rambla de Santa Mónica.
As you saw, Barcelona offers an abundance of fascinating facts. Since this city has such a rich and diverse history and identity, it always has some surprises up the sleeve.
We hope you liked this article and that it will encourage you to come and see Barcelona for yourself. Here you have a guide to places to see in the Catalan capital. Barcelona is a place that is best enjoyed in person!