By Xavi Garcia Vallejo / Translated by Karim Hatim
The Eixample is made up of several areas with its own identity and different lifestyle. So, you will find streets with a classical or modernist architecture and neighborhoods as diverse as the Sagrada Familia and Sant Antoni.
If we had something to precise about this district, it would be surely its streets, every one of those neighborhoods that have nothing to do each other. In each of these, there is a multitude of different shops, specialized coffees, restaurants with ‘signature’ of full newsagents, pharmacies and watertight… all this give it more colors and life. But best of all is the inimitable invention of the chamfers, places that allow stop and talk to people. Something that you will not find away in any other neighborhood or district.
Enjoy the both best and cheapest…
This is really something that designed and built the city itself, not respect what the Cerda’s Plan had planned for her. Otherwise, the endless lines of home and businesses decorate their streets today would not exist. In each ‘block’ they would have built only two sides, and the Eixample would be a kind of garden development, though full of pleasant calm. It would become a medium living space that would leave Barcelona without its symbolic and crowded center.
Fortunately, the idea of Cerda did not succeed as he was intended. Luckily, nerves and veins which today draws its geography transmit vitality that makes it different from a design on paper.
Modern Barcelona was born with the Eixample, the result of the development project of Ildefons Cerda, but also one of the most splendid moments in the history of the city, that became the engine of contemporary Catalonia and did break with its medieval past.
All started in the 1820s which resulted in the planting of trees on both sides of the road linking Barcelona with the Villa de Gràcia from Portal Del Angel. From this was born the Passeig de Gracia, an avenue for pedestrians. Ride around the building were also picnic and outdoor theaters eased Barcelona overcrowded at that time.
In 1869, following the project of Ildefons Cerda, it was built under a new concept characterized by a grid of wide streets with diamond intersections formed by chamfered corners. The constructions continued well into the twentieth century. The bourgeois wealthy families acquired solar best placed along the Passeig de Gracia and its vicinity, to raise its unique Art Nouveau mansions.
The two Eixample
For the vast expanse that occupies, the Eixample is, in its way, a small city in itself. Nothing has in common the Right Eixample with the Left, Sant Antoni or the Sagrada Familia.
Right Eixample extends toward the Northeast from the Passeig de Gràcia and to the Passeig de Sant Joan, giving the city a good portion of its soil most eligible. The flats of Passeig de Gràcia can cost several millions euros. But beyond this ride lose some category, and even around the Sagrada Familia come to constitute its own neighborhood.
On the other hand, the Left Eixample runs southwest from the Passeig de Gràcia, with several areas of different personality. We could say that until Aribau Street soil is also highly valued by its habitants. And like this it’s considered as a closed space, between Aribau Street, Passeig de Sant Joan, Diagonal Avenue and Ronda de Sant Pere, which has been called since the early twentieth century the Quadrat d’Or (Golden Square).
The Golden Square is an area full of exclusive shops selling all sorts of items, from furniture to designer clothes, from shoes to fashion accessories, from books to home accessories. Any shopping adventure must begin with its two main avenues: the Passeig de Gracia, which gathers the most exclusive international brands alongside the finest shops here. In parallel and adjacent, you will found the Rambla de Cataluña. It is a much more attractive and less traffic tree-lined avenue which allows easy stroll or enjoy a coffee or dinner outdoors.
However, beyond these two rides, the Eixample also extends to other identities.
From one hand the fabulous Sagrada Familia and the neighborhood around it beats between the commercial and modernist architecture.
Furthermore a new rising star, the Mercat de Sant Antoni and the streets surrounding it to give its own identity to its new inhabitants, a treasure in transformation that no one should lose sight.