Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music), Barcelona

Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music), Barcelona (must see)

The Palace of Catalan Music, opened in 1908, is a one-of-a-kind concert hall. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, it was designed by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner and is undoubtedly among the most representative monuments of Catalan Art Nouveau architecture. It is also the only European auditorium lit up entirely with natural light during daylight. Although it seems somewhat overshadowed by the much-acclaimed Gaudi creations, the palace is still deservedly regarded as an architectural treasure, well worth exploring, if only from the outside.

The facade is lavishly adorned with elements of both traditional Spanish and Arab decorative styles. Dominating the building's corner is a sculpture representing popular Catalan song and is very much a song set in stone itself – uplifting and inspiring. Crowning it is an allegorical mosaic featuring busts of famous composers, such as Bach, Beethoven, and, of course, the most popular composer of the early 20th century – Wagner.

Entry to the palace foyer is free, as well as to the courtyard – there, visitors can sit outside with a drink or snack. However, the main attraction is the first-floor auditorium where modernist excesses truly run wild and each decorated surface is the work of fine craftsmanship. The spectacular stained glass ceiling alone is particularly worth checking out; its shape and dimensions are recognized as an engineering miracle of the period. But that's not where all the fantasy ends. Do take care to explore the beautiful three-dimensional muses at the back of the stage that seem to be climbing out of the walls, and then check out the masterpiece proscenium framing the stage, with Valkyries riding across. Truly astounding!

Perhaps the best way to acquaint yourself with the palace is to take a guided tour – these are quite popular, so advance booking is recommended. Alternatively, you may pop in for a coffee or tapas lunch at the foyer bar to sample the atmosphere and see plenty of modernist detail, or, even better, attend one of the concerts. The concert program includes classical music, jazz and sometimes ethnic music as well. The top-notch sound and lighting systems make the entire setting very intimate and fit to render any performance memorable if not the highlight of your Barcelona experience altogether! So, do give it a thought...

Tip:
Be sure to take opera glasses or binoculars and/or to check out the nice café on the ground floor!

Daily Tours:
10am-3:30pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Barcelona, Spain within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music) on Map

Sight Name: Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music)
Sight Location: Barcelona, Spain
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Barcelona, Spain

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