Archway built for an 1888 exhibition.
Standing proudly at the top of Passeig de Lluís Companys is one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks: Arc de Triomf. Built as the gateway to the 1888 Universal Exhibition, a wide palm-lined boulevard leads us down from the arch to the Parc de la Ciutadella where the exhibition was held.
The reddish brick colour of the arch makes it stand out from the grey coloured buildings that surround it, and contrasts beautifully against Barcelona’s bright blue skies. Architect Josep Vilaseca designed the arch in a Neo-Mudejar style. It is decorated with a series of friezes carved by local Catalan sculptors which depict Barcelona welcoming all nations to the fair, and presenting the exhibition participants with medals. The Spanish monarchy’s coat of arms can be found in the middle at the top, and the shields of the 49 other Spanish provinces line the shape of the archway. The sculptural motifs that adorn the sides depict agriculture, industry, commerce and art, representing the gateway to modern Barcelona.
Nowadays the Arc de Triomf is always teeming with street performers, bubble-blowers, people selling souvenirs, buskers, and of course lots of tourists.