Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Most Fashionable District of Barcelona - El Born

El Born is undoubtedly the most charming district of Barcelona. Every corner is full, pleasant and charming surprises. From its small streets, passing through its majestic Rambla, the Ciutadella park, the beautiful Santa Caterina market or the solemn cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar, nothing in the Born district will leave you indifferent.

El Born was formerly known as the Ribera (the Bank) district, due to a huge irrigation ditch that crossed the quarter and brought water in from the Besós River. In the Ribera neighbourhood merchants and sailors used to live together but as time passed by palaces were built some museums: the Textile and Clothing Museum, the Barbier-Mueller Pre-Columbian art Museum or the famous Picasso Museum.

Today, Born is the most fashionable district of Barcelona. One of its greatest charms is that it still preserves its medieval structure almost intact. It offers a wide range of culture and leisure: the best design bars and restaurants, unique boutiques, museums, galleries, theatres...

El Born is situated between La Barceloneta Quarter and Via Laietana Street. Its main street is the famous Paseo del Born, a charming street lined with restaurants, bars and shops topped off by the jewel of the district, the Gothic church of Santa Maria del Mar.

One of the side streets to Paseo del Born, Montcada Street, houses one of the most famous museums of Barcelona: Picasso Museum. The other nearby streets have an intense medieval air and are filled with shops and incredible restaurants.

The Palau de la Música Catalana, designed by the architect Domenech i Montaner, is another mandatory stop in el Born district. This is an amazing modernist building and one of the jewels of Catalan architecture. The Santa Caterina Market, is located just a few minutes walk from the Palau. It is the last market built in the city, but a mandatory stop too. It was built by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue amd it is famous thanks to its corrugated and colourful ceramic roof.

Finally, the Parc de la Ciutadella is the lung of the district, and one of the most beautiful green areas of Barcelona. Formerly it housed a military citadel which still retains some military installations as the arsenal, the governor's palace which is now a school, and the chapel. In addition, this park houses: the Geology Museum, de Zoology Museum, the Barcelona Zoo, the Hivernacle (today it houses a café) and the Umbracle (a beautiful greenhouse made of brick and wood). There is a lake where you can hire small rowing boats. Every year from April 1st the Spring Festival is celebrated here. There are workshops organized, shows, festivals, performances and games for all the family.

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