Prado Museum (Madrid)

The Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, is one of the largest in the world and one of the most visited (the eleventh in 2010).

Uniquely rich in paintings by European masters from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, its main attraction is the large presence of Velázquez, El Greco, Goya (artist most widely represented in the collection),  Titian, Rubens and Bosch, from which has the best and most extensive collections that exist worldwide, and other very important authors like Murillo, Ribera, Zurbaran, Raphael, Veronese, Tintoretto and Van Dyck, to mention only the most relevant .

For chronic limitations of space, the museum exhibited a selection of high quality works (about 900),  so it was defined as “the greatest concentration of masterpieces per square meter”.

With the expansion made by Rafael Moneo,  it is anticipated that the selection exposed will increase by 50%, with 450 works new additions.   Besides the paintings, the Prado Museum  has around 950 sculptures, 6,400 drawings, 2,400 prints, 800 decorative art objects, 900 coins and 800 medallas.

Like other major European museums, including the Louvre in Paris and the Uffizi in Florence, the Prado owes its origin to the hobby collector of the ruling dynasties over the centuries. It reflects the personal tastes of the Spanish kings and their network of political alliances and enmities, it is an asymmetric collection, unsurpassed in particular artists and styles, and limited in others.

Opening times

Tuesday to Sunday and Public Holidays: From 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

24 and 31 December and 6 January: From 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The museum is closed: 1 January, Saint Friday, 1 May and 25 December.

 

Tickets and prices

General entrance ticket: 6 €.

Reduced price entry: 3 €.

Free entry: People over 65 years old, Retired people, Children under 18 years old, Citizens of the EU who are officially unemployed, EU students under 25 years old, Members of the Foundation of Friends of the Prado Museum and Cultural and educational volunteers.

Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)

The expiatory church of the Sagrada Familia, known simply as the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) is a large Roman Catholic basilica in Barcelona (Spain), designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí.

Launched in 1882, is still under construction (January 2012). It is the masterpiece of Gaudí, and the greatest exponent of Catalan modernist architecture.  More than 4 million visit this pleace each year, it is the most visited monument in Spain.

The construction began in the Gothic style, but, assuming the project Gaudí, in 1883, was completely rethought. According to standard procedures, from general sketches of the building construction improvised as he went.  He get in charge of the construction with only 31 years of age, dedicating the rest of his life to its construction, the last fifteen exclusively.

One of his most innovative ideas was the design of high circular conical towers. The temple, when completed, will have 18 towers,  four in each of the three entrances and as a domes mode, will have a system of six towers, with the central dome tower dedicated to Jesus, 170 meters height, and the four around it, dedicated to the evangelists, and one dome dedicated to the Virgin.

Gaudí died in 1926, only one tower was built at that time.  The building project plans were badly damaged during the Spanish Civil War.

This monument is a must see in Barcelona.

 

Palma Cathedral

The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, more commonly referred to as La Seu, is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral located in Palma, Majorca, Spain, built on the site of a pre-existing Arab mosque. It is 121 metres long, 55 metres wide and its nave is 44 metres tall. Designed in the Catalan Gothic style but with Northern European influences, it was begun by King James I of

Aragon in 1229 but finished only in 1601. It sits within the old city of Palma atop the former citadel of the Roman city, between the Royal Palace of La Almudaina and the episcopal palace. It also overlooks the Parc de la Mar and the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1901, fifty years after a restoration of the Cathedral had started, Antoni Gaudí was invited to take over the project. While some of his ideas were adopted – moving the choir stalls from the middle nave to be closer to the altar, as well as a large canopy – Gaudí abandoned his work in 1914 after an argument with the contractor. The planned changes were essentially cosmetic rather than structural, and the project was cancelled soon after.