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Barcelona: From the Rose of Fire to Gaudí

Semana_Trágica_(1909)(By Joan de Déu Domènech).- For a long time, the only reason travellers paid any attention to Barcelona was because of its proximity to Montserrat. It took many centuries for the city to forge an identity for itself that would make it attractive to foreigners. It was initially the Rose of Fire, a revolutionary city.

For a long time, the only reason travellers paid any attention to Barcelona was because of its proximity to Montserrat. Evidence of this fact is found on many engravings of the city, where the outline of the mountain appears on the left in the background. Montserrat, pilgrimages, La Moreneta, crocodiles hanging from the ceiling of the cloister that was burnt down by the French, the boys’ choir with the clear yet worn voices of castrato singers.

Montserrat, the chapels, the rocky places, a never-ending number of legends and Fray Garí, not to mention the Holy Grail. The attraction of the sanctuary goes back a long way. To start with, there is one of the most important works of French literature: Roman de Mélusine, a novel written by Jean d’Arras between 1387 and 1392, part of the story of which is set on the sacred mountain. Barcelona, however, had little of interest to offer to travellers. Walls, churches, a few gardens, some cobbled streets, a port. It did not take long to visit, being more or less the same as any number of things travellers would have seen on their journeys.

Source: BCN Metròpolis.

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