Guide to Catalan art and culture

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Guide of Catalan art and culture

Guide to Catalan art and cultureGuide to Catalan art and culture

Catalonia is a historic county formed from the Marca Hipsanic, the border between Franks and Saracens in the Middle ages. The region’ varied geography gives the Catalan Pyrenees a cooler average temperature, whilst its hotter in July and August in the inland districts of Lleida.

Catalonia is divided into nine district tourist brands as it follows : Barcelona, Costa Brava, Costa Daurada, Paiasatges Barcelona, Pirineus, Terres de l’Ebre, Terres de Lleida, and Val d’Aran.

The men and women who lived in Catalonia for centuries left their mark on the territory. In other words, they made hundreds of thousands of small contributions that form the heritage Catalonia has to offer its visitors today. This region received 16 recognitions of tangible and intangible cultural World Heritage by UNESCO.

Guide to Catalan art and culture: Architecture

Architecture has left its mark on Catalan art and culture since Neolithic times and has changed the landscape with constructions that speak over the times.

In the great Catalan capital cities, the architecture of the late 19th century and early 20th century has become a demonstration of power and refinery of the bourgeoisie, as in case of the house of Navas de Reus

Some of the most famous tourist landmarks of the area : Dalinian Triangle of Figueres, Portiglat and Putbol, and the Vall de Boi and la Pedrera.

Guide to Catalan art and culture: Castles and Fortresses

In Catalonia, visitors can stay in a medieval castle, visit a defence tower turned into artist’s studio, or organise an event in Romanesque building. There are 600 castles and fortification throughout  Catalonia.

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Peralada Castle is one of the remaining fortifications that was built in Catalonia on the borderlands that needed to be defended, is also famous for Castell de Peralada festival. This is also the case for castles such as Miravet Castle and all the other castles in Terres de Lleida.

Some of this end up as homes, while other were turned into hotels and many can be visited, such as Montsonis Castle. The family of Carles de Montoliu de Carrasco, present barron of Albi resides in the castle.

Guide to Catalan art and culture: Monasteries, Churches, Sanctuaries

Religious buildings have always had a clear will of representation to show the great power of the Catholic Church. The Romanesque bell towers that seem to connect the sky and land, are symbol of identity of the Vall de Boi.

With their characteristic half point arches and cannon domes inherited from Roman architecture, Romanesque architecture was the first clearly christian style. To get a better idea of all this is essential to visit the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, where in the early 20th century the original paintings were transferred from the churches of Boi, as well as sculptures in stone and wood, to protect them.

Sober and austere, the monasteries of the Cistercian order also bear witness to the passing from Romanesque period to the Gothic period. They stand between vineyards, almond, and olive groves on lands which were in muslim hands until the 12th century. Among the preserved is the monastery of Santes Creus, which contains the pantheons of the counts of Barcelona and the kings of Aragon de Valencia.

Guide to Catalan art and culture : Technology from other times

An open top car from 1943, an extravagant motorcycle from 1950, a solar car that seems to be from another planet, a television with magnifying glass from 1930, a phonograph from early 20th century : all of this and many more apparatuses from part of the collections of the Museu de la Ciencia i de la Tecnica de Catalunya.

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mNACTEC was created in 1990 in order to preserve Catalonia’s industrial heritage, it is located in the building of a modern factory designed by Lluis Muncunill in Terrassa.

Factories off all kinds open their doors to the public. Once inside, you can see how cava is made.. or how a film is shot. Many food companies in Catalonia encourage people not only to consume their products, but also visit their factories to see the production process.

Guide to Catalan art and culture : Spiritual life

The multitude of religions is normal in a county where, according to the Autonomous University of Barcelona, one out of every four places of worship is not Catholic. People living in Catalonia today have enriched the spiritual life of the land by bringing a variety of beliefs that range from Islam and Buddhism to the Baha’i faith.

These religions live together in harmony, and in Catalonia you can visit a Hindu festival like Ratha Yatra, see a Catholic procession go by, or visit a Buddhist monastery in the Garraf massif.

Guide to Catalan art and culture : Routes of Pilgrimage

Many travellers have crossed inland Catalonia along the routes of pilgrimage. Some follow the Way of St James, a series of different routes with various accessible sections going towards Galicia and passing through points such as the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes and Barcelona Cathedral.

Another route shares the same path but goes in the opposite direction: this is the Ignatian Way. Ignatius, the mann who later became the founder of the Company of Jesus, spent a year in the cave in Manresa, where the saint had his most significant spiritual experience.

The route of the first Christians of Tarraco goes through places that were the scenes of the progressive introduction of Christianity in Hispanoromanic society of Roman Tarragona. This route includes 8 milestones, between which we find museum of monuments; and is available all year around in English and Spanish.

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Guide to Catalan art and culture : Art and creativity

From Romanesque paintings, and fashion accessories, to modern architecture, Catalonia is a land of creativity. This is true for the arts, as well as literature and gastronomy, maybe is the view of the sea, the pure mountain air, or the inland countryside that makes Catalonia an inspiring place.

While Catalan painting and sculpture has some of its own characteristics, it has historically followed European trends. The middle ages brought moments of splendour to a Catalonia that was creating its own identity, which was especially evident in the Romanesque and Gothic periods.

The history of Catalan art and culture includes from Dali and Miro to Jaume Plensa.  All have placed Catalonia in the sights of art lovers from around the world.

Guide to Catalan art and culture : Museums and Galleries

The more then 300 museum of Catalonia are places of identity, cohesion, and progress. They bring together roots and current reality while providing unique experiences to those that visit them.

An hour away from Barcelona, hides a small marvel: the Episcopal Museum which has outstanding sample of Romanesque sculpture and painting, as well as works ranging from ancient Egypt to the 18th century.

On the Costa Brava, the Girona Art Museum  maintains one of the best collections of Romanesque and Gothic art in Catalonia, with important pieces such as the portable altar from the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes.

The Catalan Museum of Science of Technology, has a mission to promote the knowledge of scientific culture and to preserve, study, and show the evolution and technical developments in Catalonia.

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