The mornings in the W Barcelona Hotel were pleasant. I looked out to see the streets of the city slowly coming to life. Sitting in this elegant room, I considered myself to be lucky. Like many cities in Europe, Barcelona too is bounded by history.
The buildings are built to showcase the architectural brilliance of the ancient architects, especially Antoni Gaudi. The beauty of the city is mesmerizing. I loved the people there, who were friendly and spoke to me in Spanish and Catalonian. Though I didn’t understand the language and they hardly understood English, we managed to communicate anyway.
We had to travel to Passeig Lluís Companys to go to Arc de Triomf, which is quite nearby at a distance of about 3 km from our hotel. The Arc de Triomf is an arch built by the Catalan architect Josep Vilaseca in 1888 as a gateway to the World Expo conducted in Parc de la Ciutadella.
I have learned about this arch and the striking feature about it is it was built using the red bricks, which was not common with any other arches built across the world. A history buff, I figured the design of the arch common to Muslim architectural style of ‘Mudejar’, which was created and perfected by Moors in the Iberian Peninsula. I walked closer to the arch and looked at it carefully; the designs and carvings showed pretty good influence to Muslim architecture.
On the above, the carvings showed the Barcelonan coat of arms and those of other provinces. I could figure out the crosses in red with a white background, which represented Saint George, while the red striped parts on the yellow background symbolized the Catalonian coat of arms. There is history for those.
There were carvings of twelve angels surrounding the arch and I was told that they represented fame. The carvings of yet another coat of arms representing Spanish monarchs and Pillars of Hercules symbolizing the Strait of Gibraltar were also seen on the arch. When I was studying the arch, I heard a curious onlooker deciphering the words “Plus Ultra”. I looked at the words written below the pillars, but it was hard to read. The words were Latin and meant “Further and Beyond”.
With complete satisfaction of experiencing wonderful creation of art, we moved to our next sightseeing place.