The famous Ramblas of Barcelona stretch from the Plaza de Cataluna to the Port, and on account of its special atmosphere and colourful appearance, it is the most popular and picturesque street in the city.
The Ramblas used to be the course of a river that brought the water from the mountains to the sea. At one side was the XIII century wall with four gates, the Puerta de Santa Ana, the Puerta Ferrisa, the Puerta de la Boqueria and the Puerta de los Ollers. By the city walls were fields and some convents. The name Rambla was given by the Arabs, and the area was covered in the XVIII century when the walls were demolished and building was begun.
The Ramblas now consist of a central walk for pedestrians and two side roads for traffic. The road on the right leads to the Port, and the one on the left goes to the Plaza de Cataluna; both are for one-way traffic.
Las Ramblas in Five Parts
The whole length of the Rambla from the Plaza de Cataluna to the statue of Columbus is divided into five parts and, going down towards the Port, these are names as follows: Rambla de Canaletas, with its popular fountain of the same name; Rambla de los Estudios, with the XVIII century baroque church of Bethlehem and the bird market; Rambla de San Jose or de las Flores, characterised by the popular flower market and the large market of San Jose or La Boqueria built in the middle of the XIX century; Rambla de los Capuchinos with the famous Liceo Theatre and the Plaza Real, an oasis filled with beer taverns, both dating from the middle of the XIX century; and finally the Rambla de Santa Monica, with the Plaza del Teatro, the statue dedicated to the promotor of Catalan theatre and the calle Escudellers leading to Barcelona’s red light district.
Continuing in the direction of the port, on the left is the Wax Museum installed in a XIX century building and which was inaugurated in 1973. At the end of the Ramblas stands the monument in memory of Christopher Columbus.
Teatro Del Liceo
Barcelona’s most famous musical institution is undoubtedly the Teatro del Liceo, Spain’s first Opera House and the largest in Europe after the Scala of Milan. It holds more than 3,000 people and on account of the beauty of its interior decoration and its fine acoustics, is considered among the best in Europe.
The building itself is situated in the Rambla de los Capuchinos on the site of the former convent. The architect Miguel Roca designed the building which was started in 1848. The Theatre has an area of stalls and six storeys of seats, and the most outstanding artists of the time worked on its decoration. The entrance is rather unassuming and provides a marked contrast with the grandiose style of the interior.
During the winter season, the Liceo offers its great operatic galas followed by concerts of classical music, and in spring begins the ballet season with the best performers from all over the world taking part. Apart from its musical functions, the Liceo is a centre for social activity with politicians, artists and important world-famous personalities entering its precincts. An absolute must for those touring Barcelona!0