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Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 | 99 comments

Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona

I think I have commented this before.

I do not deal well with crowds.

Well, not necessarily crowds.  But, when people start to push you, step over you and, even, grab certain parts of the body that are off limits, then, that is when I start to fall apart.

Knowing that fact about me, you could imagine how I felt in an over-the-top crowded place like Las Ramblas.

For those of you who are not familiar with this street in Barcelona (it is actually 5 streets, hence the plural in the name), think about the most crowded event you have attended.  Now, think about the people in attendance moving all day long through the same space.

That is what you have in Las Ramblas, a non-ceasing sea of humanity moving from the center of town to the coastal esplanade (and vice versa).

I found a solution, of course.  I ditched Las Ramblas and started moving along Via Laetiana.  That felt way better.

And that is how, one particular late afternoon when walking to the hotel, my husband spotted an unusual building.

“Ahh, look how pretty that building is,” he said excited.

Before I ended turning my head, I knew he was referring to the Palau de la Musica Catalana.  I had it on my list of places to check out.  With all the sights in Barcelona, it started to move to the bottom of my list.  “Let’s check it out,” I said while making an attempt to cross the street.

While my husband was taking pictures, I noticed people at the ticket booth.  I stand in line and asked about tours.  “The last tour of the day starts in 10 minutes.  It is in Spanish. Is that ok?” asked the attendant.  “That is perfect,” I replied.

And, oh boy! I am so glad this all worked out because I get goose bumps when I think about this place.  I get a smile on my face when I remember its shapes and colors.  It showed me that details matter.  Details are the things that are going to make you stand out from the pack.

A lot of people are familiar with the works of Antoni Gaudi.  They know the Modernism movement because of him and they go to Barcelona to observe his mind bending works of art.

The Palau de la Musica Catalana is the work of an architect named Lluis Domenech i Montaner, a Modernist architect known by dotting his buildings with an exuberant ornamentation full of Spanish-Arabic accents.

The Palau and another of his buildings, the Hospital de Sant Paul, have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

So, Gaudi may be the most famous architect associated with Modernism but there are other architects who created amazing structures within the movement lines. And those my friends, should not be taken out of the list of must see in Barcelona!

I have not explicitly written it but at this moment you may have assumed the Palau is a concert hall.  It was built for the Orfeo Catala, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth)

Vestibule

The ceiling of the vestibule is decorated with glazed ceramic moldings that are arranged in the shape of stars. From the vestibule, on the left and right, grand marble staircases ascend from between crowned lamps on columns to bring visitors to the second floor,

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Lluís Millet Hall

The salon located on the second floor of the Palau that is named after one of the founders of the Orfeó Català. The hall is a popular gathering place for concert-goers and also serves as a teaching area for visitors touring the building.

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

 The highlight of this area is the balcony adorned with two rows of columns totally covered in mosaics.  You are allowed to walk into the balcony during the tour.

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Concert Hall

This is the highlight of a visit to the Palau.

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

The walls on two sides consist primarily of stained-glass panes set in magnificent arches, and overhead is an enormous skylight of stained glass whose centerpiece is an inverted dome in shades of gold surrounded by blue that suggests the sun and the sky.

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

The entire hall is one of the most exuberant spaces I have seen.  The back of the stage is decorated by 18 muses (the upper body of the muses are sculptures).  The stage is framed by a Pegasus, a symbol of imagination, Beethoven and figures representing Wagner’s opera The Valkyries.

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

The ceilings, walls and lights depict elements of nature.  The architect wanted concert goes to feel in the outdoors.

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

By day, the space is illuminated by natural light.

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

The space has been described as one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world. The tour guide said it is unique in the world in terms of its acoustics.  The sound is the same whether the place is empty or full (they have designed the seats in certain way so this is possible).

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

The Exterior

 

The exterior is richly decorated too.  Domenech had the difficult task of designing the building in a narrow space surrounded by other historical buildings.  It was not an easy feat.

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

However, he was able to achieve a façade which incorporated several architectural elements, exposed brick, iron, mosaics and stained glass.  The outside is full of sculptures (Beethoven, Bach, Wagner and a magnificent corner sculpture representing Catalan song).

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

There is not space in here to describe all the brilliant features of the Palau.  It is something that has to be seen to be fully appreciated.  The emotion that one feels when seated at the hall is indescribable.

It is my hope that this post gives you a desire to explore the “other” Modernist masterpieces of Barcelona.

Details

Have you been to the Palau de la Musica Catalana?

Pin it for later?

The Palau de la Musica Catalana is a concert hall designed in a Modernist style by the architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner.

99 Comments

  1. I passed by these buildings before but didn’t go in. Seeing this maybe I should have.

    I love Las Ramblas and all the chaos, although typically I cannot stand the crowd and any crowded place.
    Photo cache recently posted..It’s A Valentine’s Day PostMy Profile

    • Well, there is always a next time. I do not necessarily click with Barcelona but places like this make me want to go back.

  2. What a beautiful place. I love mosaics, but the colors in these really pop. The stained glass is also gorgeous. Those muses… <3 Great find!
    Karen recently posted..River Hongbao 2016My Profile

    • That architect was a genius. Before visiting, I saw pictures of the place but it feel totally different when somebody is explaining the details.

    • Thanks! I am glad you liked them.

  3. Wow, very interesting. I’m going to bookmark this post because I like the fact that it’s not on the usual list of attractions that one would find for Barcelona. I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t come across your post. Thanks for sharing :-)#MondayEscapes

    • Kat, I am glad you have find this post helpful. I knew I wanted to visit this place even though some people do not necessarily associate it with Barcelona.

    • It was my pleasure to share. Thanks for commenting.

    • Thanks Anna! I hope you put it in your itinerary the next time you visit Barcelona.

    • Yes, you are going to see that sea of people for sure. Visit the Palau if you have time. I think it is even better to attend a performance there.

    • I love mosaics! I think that is the number one reason I fell in love with this place.

    • Yes, you have to make it to Barcelona. I am sure you are going to be fascinated by the architecture. The food is good too (but not as good as in Madrid or San Sebastian).

  4. I am totally in awe of your photos and this place. I’m also really bothered I didn’t know about it when I went to Barcelona…and the Palau will obviously be included the next time I go!!! Incredible, really, and thanks for linking up with both #citytripping and #TravelTuesday today!
    Christy Swagerty (whatupswags) recently posted..A Berlin WeekendMy Profile

    • Yes, put in your plans because it is a place that deserves a visit. I couldn’t visit all the Modernist places I wanted to visit, so, I will have to wait till next time.

  5. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance yet to travel to Spain, but I am loving your inside on Barcelona! And I totally get you, when it comes to crowds, I am a nervous wreck hahaha. ¡Hasta luego!

    • Spain in one of my favorite countries and I cannot recommend it enough. The only bad part is the crowds in big cities (but some people actually like that aspect).

  6. Oh wow, Ruth! Those colours make for such stunning photos. I especially like the mosaics and the stained glass – it’s stunningly beautiful! I sadly didn’t visit when I was in Barcelona, but I now know I need to next time! 🙂

    • This place had a lot of my favorite things: color, mosaics and stained glass. Plus, all those elements were combined in an exuberant and beyond creative way. It is very interesting to learn about the details.

  7. Love the mosaics, so pretty. I’ve been to Barcelona once but it was just for a long weekend and that was a dozen years ago now. I wish I could go back and appreciate it properly.

    • This was my second visit (after 12 years). The first time I went I only had one day in the city. I had time to see very little. This time, I spent four entire days in the city and was able to see way more.

  8. Hello, what a gorgeous building. The mosaics and stained glass are simply beautiful. I do not like being in crowded places, I get very nervous! Thanks so much for sharing your visit. Enjoy your day!
    Eileen recently posted..Eastern Neck NWRMy Profile

    • Eileen, thanks a lot for stopping by. I get what you say about crowded places. I think that is why in some way I prefer natural spaces. I feel more at ease in areas like that.

    • I know. It is so lovely. Like nothing I have seen before.

    • Sally, so great you liked the photos! It is incredible what can be achieved with this type of art (one of my favorites). I will like to take a class (some are offered around where I live).

    • Thanks Al! It pays off to take the uncommon, off-the-beaten-path routes.

  9. Wow, this building looks amazing! Though I have a feeling that it is 100x better in person than what these pictures can show! All the mosaics look incredible and I can’t believe how opulent the concert hall is. I’ve never heard of this before but I will definitely look into a tour here when I”m in Barcelona this fall! Pinning this for then. 🙂
    Anna recently posted..Chinese New Year: the first seven daysMy Profile

    • Everything inside and outside the Palau is a masterpiece. The guided tour is not cheap (after all, this is Barcelona) but worth it. However, the price is similar to what you will pay at the Gaudi sites.

  10. What an amazing building – I didn’t come across this at all on my visit to Barcelona but it’s definitely on my list for a return visit. So much detail and such fabulous colours. We went out of season so Las Ramblas wasn’t anywhere near as busy thankfully. Thanks for joining up with #citytripping
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted..Driving etiquette abroad: hitting the wrong side of the roadMy Profile

    • Cathy, I went to Barcelona during the low season too. So, that is why I was surprised to see that many people in the streets and in Las Ramblas. Hope you can visit the Palau one day.

    • Thanks Jackie. I am very into the Modernist movement. I would like to discover more of these places on another visit to Barcelona.

  11. Wow! I want to go to Barcelona now. It looks so amazing. My grandparents had an apartment in Mallorca where I spent many summers as a kid and teenager. I would also hate the crowds. I am also sensitive to being touched. It reminds me of public transport in India.
    Christina Morley recently posted..Valentine’s Day in Photos with #LinkyMy Profile

    • Barcelona was the worst in terms of being totally crushed by other human beings. The worst of the worst was returning to the center after a game at the Camp Nou. I am not sure how I survived. Mallorca is gorgeous. That is another place I would love to visit.

    • Next time I hit Barcelona, I will make sure I go to the Costa Brava. That is an area I would really like to see.

  12. Glorious vibrant colours in the mosaics and lead light windows. I get totally wigged out in large crowds of people all pushing as well. That is one of the aspects of sightseeing in touristy places that I hate. But I guess if you want to see some of these masterpieces you need to be tolerant!
    Kathy Marris recently posted..Tassie Trip: Part 9 StanleyMy Profile

    • Kathy, I can tolerate crowded places for some time but the pressure starts to build up after a couple of days in that conditions. Places like the Palau are not crowded since they can only be visited on a tour.

    • Becky, it is funny that you notice something like this. I was always walking behind all the people in the tour. So, I was able to catch several pictures without people. I do have a lot of them with people but I didn’t post them in here ;0)

  13. I’m not a big fan of crowds either Ruth. I do love your photos in this post, especially that breathtaking stained glass skylight and all the beautiful mosaics – just gorgeous!

    • Mosaics were a big thing during the Modernist era. They had masters in creating these unique pieces.

  14. Oh I can’t remember visiting this place but it’s beautiful. I love so much Gaudi, Dali, Miro, I love this city. I’ve been there many times, with or without kids and I just want to go back.
    xx cathy

    • I get your feeling. I was four days in Barcelona and did not have time to visit any of the museums. There were other buildings I wanted to visit too.

  15. Gorgeous photos! I don’t remember if I knew about the tours of the building when I visited Barcelona. I booked tickets to a flamenco show one night to be able to see inside the building. It was so beautiful, like your post portrays! That ceiling, seriously… 🙂 #TravelTuesday
    Sara @ Simply Sara Travel recently posted..Park it in Paris: Square des BatignollesMy Profile

    • I am determined to go to a performance in the Palau. That must be an amazing experience.

    • Ha, ha, great way to describe the tile work. Thanks for commenting.

    • Thanks Jade! Happy to present my photos of this wonderful place.

    • I am happy I posted about it since a lot of people had no idea the place existed. I feel like going back to Barcelona and finding more hidden gems.

  16. What a gorgeous building! I’m so glad you got off Las Ramblas when you did. I remember those crowds too, yuck.
    Corinne recently posted..Developing my Cherry List!My Profile

    • I had to get out. Via Laetiana is full of gorgeous buildings and coffee shops.

  17. Your pictures look awesome. I want to visit Barcelona with my mother and will certainly use your tips. Thanks so much PS. I hate crowds, too 😉

    • Hope you guys go to Barcelona soon. I think it would be a great place to take my mom too (even though she just like places in general).

  18. You have definitely inspired me to visit this amazing structure next time I go to Barcelona. I can’t believe I’ve not been before. I can imagine it feels like an incredibly special space when standing in it. Thanks for bringing Palau to my attention on #citytripping x

    • Next time, I want to attend a concert or event there. For what I learned during my visit, that is another must do activity. At the beginning of the tour, they had a video of artists describing how they felt while performing there.

  19. Yay!! I finally saw the inside of this Palau! You see Ruth, I’ve been to Barcelona twice and twice I missed the tour of the Palau. How gorgeous! Much more amazing than I imagined. I loved every detailed you captured. Lovely photos.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted..Colombia: The Walled City of Old CartagenaMy Profile

    • Thanks Marisol! I know Barcelona is full of things to see, so, I know it is kind of complicated to fit everything you want to do on a tight itinerary. Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

  20. I’ve been in Barcelona three times so far and didn’t get to visit Palau de la Musica Catalana. At one time, I even stayed on Las Ramblas, right across from it, and still didn’t get in. I’m really glad I found your post, Ruth. At least I won’t keep wondering how it looks inside.
    Anda recently posted..The Weekly Postcard: Château de Sully-sur-LoireMy Profile

    • Well, now you know how it looks. Maybe you can visit next time.

  21. Hi Ruth! I loved the Palau de la Musica – especially the stained glass, which always amazes me. I love your pictures – they’ll tide me over until I can go back to see this again, and spend more time exploring the art and architecture of the city. #wkendtravelinspiration
    RobRob (@TravelLatte.net) recently posted..Jamba Juice Ultimate Pitaya Paradise SweepstakesMy Profile

    • I think you are the only one who have visited from the commenters. Glad you revived your visit thru the photos.

    • Thanks Stephanie. Definitely add it to your plans when you go back to Barcelona.

  22. The detail in these buildings are amazing

    • Thanks Anne! I appreciate your comment.

  23. Oh my gosh, the light! The feeling, the mosaics, the stained-glass panes – BEAUTIFUL. There is something so magical about a place, where you can sit and take it all in. Thanks for Sharing your day at Palau De La Musica Catalana Barcelona – and yes I am not keen on big crowds either 🙂
    Lisa Wood recently posted..Fraser Coast Wildlife SanctuaryMy Profile

    • Lisa, it is great to see all the details and feelings you pick up from the post. Feels good to read comments like yours.

  24. WOW, I love the vivid colors of the Concert Hall, its not like any I have seen before. We did not visit Spain while we were in Europe, it wasn’t high on our list. But I love seeing pictures. Thanks for linking to Life Thru The Lens, it was fun to come visit your site. Sorry I am so late in visiting your site, I was a bit caught up in my birthday celebrations.

    Lisa @ LTTL

    • You are right in that this is a place like no other one. Spain is an awesome country. I think you would enjoy it. Thanks for making an effort to check my site.

  25. Gaudi gets so much attention that I didn’t realize there were other Modernist architects of note in Barcelona. What a gorgeous building! I especially like the columns with the mosaics and the inverted stained glass skylight.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Postcards from The Library of CongressMy Profile

    • It is true that Gaudi gets all the attention, and to be honest, I understand why. His works are amazing. But, there are other people who excelled during the movement.

    • Thanks you! You are so sweet. Delighted you enjoyed the post.

  26. OMG, this place is stunning!!!! That Concert Hall!!
    I have been to Barcelona 3 times but there are still so much I didn’t see, next time I have to visit this place, it’s amazing! You are right, details matter 😀

    Thank you for linking up with #MondayEscapes 😀
    Packing my Suitcase recently posted..Coping with sickness while travelingMy Profile

    • You are not the only one that feels that way. I guess it also depends on what you like to do. Some people prefer architecture, other museums, others food, etc. Since there is so much to do in Barcelona, you can concentrate on one theme and not have time for other things.

    • Yes, check it out. You will not regret the decision.

  27. I can’t believe I’ve been to Barcelona three times and haven’t been inside, it’s so gorgeous! Oh well, there’s always a reason to go back, isn’t it? 😉

    By the way, I’d usually choose to go through Barri Gòtic to get to the beach, much better than Las Ramblas and with nicer buildings 😀
    Vlad recently posted..A Quick Guide To Concert TravelMy Profile

    • I found that is way better to get to the beach that way. Like I mentioned, there is a lot to see in the Barri Gotic. and, there are nice stores and cafes too.

    • Thanks for stopping by! Do not forget to visit if you stop by Barcelona. It is a must.

  28. Your photos give me goose bumps. This was on my list to see, and I did get there, but sadly the last English tour of the day was sold out. I did enjoy gawking at the outside. It will at the top of my list for the next time I’m in Barcelona.
    Nancie recently posted..Barcelona:The World Begins With Every KissMy Profile

    • Oh no! So bad you didn’t have the opportunity to go in. I did notice they have a lot of tours in Spanish and not so many in English.

  29. OMG how did I miss this a few years ago when I went to Barcelona!!! Definitely pinned this as a reminder for when I go back one day! Stunning! #MondayEscapes

    • Yes, you have to go there one day. I know you enjoy colorful towns, therefore, I am sure you will be amazed at this place.

  30. The building detail is so stunning!

    • I know! The details are what make this place so special.

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