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Universal Exposition

Arc de Triomf: a legacy of the Universal Exposition of 1888

Must of the Barcelona attractions

Among all the Barcelona monuments, one stands out for its imposing construction: the Arc de Triomf. From the second half of the 19th century to the present day, universal expositions are celebrated worldwide with the aim of publicizing the culture and tradition of the different countries that participate. In Barcelona, a Universal Exposition took place in 1888, which will last from May 20 until December 9, and it was then that the Arc de Triomf was built, one of the tourist attractions of the city. Designed by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, it became the entrance to the Universal Exposition presiding over the Passeig de Lluís Companys, near the Ciutadella park. One of the main features of this monument in Barcelona is its civil character, marked by artistic, scientific and economic progress. This makes it different from triumphal arches of other cities, of a more military character.

arc de triomf monument

This Barcelona attraction is cataloged as a Cultural Good of Local Interest within the Catalan cultural heritage. In 1989, one hundred years after it was built, it was restored to give it all its magnificence.

Six scluptors, one Barcelona monument

arc de triomf barcelona attraction

The Arc de Triomf is 30 meters high and is of Neomudejar inspiration, not typical in Catalonia. Although it also includes ornaments of the first modernism. It is constructed with exposed brick, that gives this red color so showy, and the most outstanding is the rich sculptural ornamentation. Up to six different sculptors participated in the construction of this attraction in Barcelona. Thus, the upper frieze, called the Adhesion of Nations to the Universal Contest, was conceived by Josep Reynés; Josep Llimona made the reverse of the top and called The Reward; on the right side of the Arc de Triomf Antoni Vilanova designed the allegories of Industry, Agriculture and Commerce, and to the left side Torquat Tasso was in charge of allegories of Sciences and Arts. Finally, in the monument there are twelve female sculptures that represent the Fames, sculptured by Manuel Fluxà and Pere Carbonell. The talent of all these artists created what is still one of the most visited tourist attractions in Barcelona.

As a curiosity, if you pass by, look over the Arc de Triomf, there you will see the shields of the 49 Spanish provinces presided over by the coat of arms of Barcelona. The Arc de Triomf has often served as a goal for some of the city's popular races, such as the Barcelona Marathon. If you want to know about this monument in Barcelona, book the 4 hour Discovering Barcelona Tour. We will pass through the Ciutadella park and we will see the Arc de Triomf.