The Catalonia Square ("Plaça de Catalunya" or "Plaça Catalunya") is one of the most important places in Barcelona due to its central location and its huge surface area. It is located at the very heart of the city where four main districts of Barcelona: Barri Gotic, Raval, Ciutat Vella and Eixample meet. Moreover, it is situated at the junction of some of the biggest and most emblematic streets of Barcelona: Ronda Universidad, Paseo de Gracia, La Rambla Catalunya, Las Ramblas and Portal del Angel. It is the city's most important communications hubs where many bus, metro, and railway lines cross. The plaza occupies an area of approximately 50,000 square metres, which makes it the second largest square in Barcelona (behind the Plaza Espanya). It is one of the most important centres of tourism, trade and entertainment in Barcelona.
After the demolition of the medieval city walls in the middle of the 19th century, a public competition was organized for the design of the city's public spaces. The first plan of the redevelopment of the city approved by the City Council was by Rovira i Trias. However, the central Spanish government in Madrid favoured a more modern design by Ildefons Cerdà which was based on a grid plan. The Cerda's plan consisted of the refurbishment of the Eixample district and an extension of La Rambla to a large square which was to be created on the Passeig de Gracia. Finally, both sides (the local and the central governments) reached a compromise, agreeing to the new project by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch which resulted in the construction of the Catalonia Square in the years 1925-1927. The square was later renovated for the 1929 Universal Exposition in Barcelona by the architect Francisco Nebot. The gardens on the square were designed by Nicolau Maria Rubio.
Before the dictatorship of General Franco, the plaza was a meeting place of illustrious personages of the time in restaurants and cafes like the famous Café Zurich, where the brother of Queen Fabiola of Belgium worked as a pianist, Café León, Café Suís, Maison Dorée and La Lluna. In the vicinity, there were also some theatres and the Avenue of Light, a huge underground shopping passage, the first one of this kind in Europe. Currently the square houses numerous shops and restaurants, such as El Triangle, El Corte Ingles, the Hard Rock Café or Café Zurich. The Plaza also contains lots of green areas and several sculptures by famous artists such as Josepa Clara and Josep Llimona.
|Neighbourhood||El Gòtic (Ciutat Vella)|
|Geographical coordinates||41.3857610, 2.1701396|
|Address||Barcelona, Plaza Catalunya 1|
|Construction dates||1902 - 1927|
|How to arrive?||official transport site|