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Arc de Triomf

A triumphant doodad

Arc de Triomf

Designed by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas in mudéjar-style ceramic bricks, this striking if pleasingly peculiar triumphal arch stands at the head of the Passeig Lluís Companys. It was built as the ceremonial entrance to the 1888 Universal Exhibition in the Parc de la Ciutadella, with a frieze on top showing the city welcoming visitors.

In spite of its name, Barcelona really didn't have a triumph to celebrate, beyond getting the exhibition more or less ready in a record-breaking 11 months (actually the arch was still in scaffolding when the fair opened, but never mind). Perhaps it really celebrates the deep-seated Catalan need to be different. Note the telltale bat. One can't help thinking that Ming the Merciless would have liked on his planet.

The Arc de Triomf is one of the main rallying points on 11 September, the Diada or Catalan National Day, remembering Catalonia's defeat on that day in 1714 during the War of the Spanish Succession while rallying calls for independence.

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Passeig Lluís Companys

Metro: Arc de Triomf

Modernista Art and Architecture

Other Places

La Ribera / El Born

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Mattia Felice Palermo, Creative Commons License