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Poble Espanyol in Barcelona

Updated on January 17, 2018
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Mary and her husband work on international projects and have worked in the Maldives helping the government with skills development.

Poble Espanyol: Culture, Gastronomy, Artisans and Events

Calle de los Arcos
Calle de los Arcos | Source

Why Visit Pueblo Espanyol?

When you can’t see a whole country, yet you know all of it has a magnetic history, stunning architecture and amazing variations in culture, what do you do? You can sit on your couch and watch travelogues o read other folks adventures. That gets boring very quickly.

In Barcelona, you can go to Puelo Espanyol and walk through living, working examples of the architecture that expresses Spain's history. From the hot plains in the middle to the heavy Arabic influences of the South, the mountains of the north and the glorious beaches of the East, Spain as an endlessly unfolding magic road of enticing places and with Pobles, you can get an intro to most of them.

The Streets of Poble Espanyol

Streets of Poble Espanyol
Streets of Poble Espanyol | Source

What is Poble Espanyol About?

Built for the 1929 Barcelona International Expositions, Poble Espanyol gave visitors a sense of the entirety of Spain before the age of Ryan Air and the low cost carriers, decent road links and really rapid trains.

As you walk through the streets, you see historic buildings from every region and most of the faces and doorways are originals brought from towns and villages where reconstruction was made necessary by the endless wars of the 19th and 20th century.

Some of the buildings contain displays reaching back to Roman times but often focused on the era that the building was completed, with many from the 14th to the 17th centuries.

It's about enabling visitors to have a Feel for Spain in a day, know about its culture and tradition, its food and art, (even Picasso puts his nose in ) and what makes it the country so distinct and special.

Where is Poble Espanyol

A markerPoble Espanyol Barcelona -
Av Francesc Ferrer i Guardia, 13, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
get directions

Feeling Spain

Feeling Spain is the theme encompassing Poble Espanyol. Promoted as a concept by Catalan architect, Puig Cadafalch, Poble Espanyol was built by the architects Francesc Folguera and Ramon Reventós, the art critic Miquel Utrillo and the painter Xavier Nogués who visited 600,000 sites all over Spain.

From these they selected the ones to represent the key characteristics of each region. They organized the village into cultural themes:

  • The Center
  • The Way of St. James
  • The North
  • The South
  • The Mediterranean

Casa de los Angulos in Zaragoza

Casa de los angels in Zaragoza
Casa de los angels in Zaragoza | Source

The Centre of Spain

You enter Poble Espanyol through the Torres de Avila and you break out into a huge square, the Plaza Mayor. This big square in the middle is so typical of Spanish villages and even in cities, the organization is around such squares. Around here you will have a sense of the plains and hills of La Mancha and see displays from the centre of Spain which includes cities such as Madrid, Toledo, Salamanca, Caceres, Leon, Merida and Badajoz. The history and drama in each one of these is worth the visit.

We enjoyed popping into these places but also became fascinated by the displays here. Madrid is, of course, the capital of Spain so it offers visitors more variety. But Merida has Spain's top Roman ruins as the retirement community for an entire Roman Legion and if you're into historical battles, Badajoz is the place to go. Salamanca's centre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Poble shows these areas very well and can kick off your interest in more research or a real visit.

As you move to the North, you are welcomed by the Pilgrim on his way to Santiago de Compostela following the Way of St. James. Even today, about 200,000 Pilgrims walk the Camino coming from all over Europe and the world for this journey. The Camino is given here in Poble a special place because the routes used by the Pilgrims encompass most of the country.

The streets in Poble are narrow and winding and covered with paving stones and Romanesque blocks. You can almost feel the 15th century through your shoes.

The Pilgrim in Santiago de Compostela

The Pilgrim in Santiago de Compostela
The Pilgrim in Santiago de Compostela | Source

The Way of St. James

This has been a famous pilgrimage popular in Europe from the early 9th century. Pilgrims walk from countries close by to visit the tomb of St. James which was found in Santiago de Compostela. Each country has stories of its heroes setting off to pay a moral debt.

The Legend tells us that St. James found his way to Galicia to preach there but later decided to return to the Holy Land where he was beheaded. His disciples managed to bring his body back through a ship in Jaffa which conducted them back to Galicia, specifically Iria Flavia.

This place was then governed by the local pagan queen, Loba, from whom the disciples asked for permission to bury the body of St. James. Annoyed by this request, the Queen sent them to a sacred mountain allegedly to pick a pair of oxen to finish their journey. But in this mountain dwelt a dragon, and she hoped the dragon would kill the Christians.

The dragon indeed attacked the disciples but at the sight of the Cross they were carrying, the dragon disintegrated. So, they went to collect the oxen which were really wild bulls the Queen used to bring her enemies to subjugation. Again, when the bulls saw the Cross, they calmed down and carried the body of St James to what is now called Compostela.

In the 9th century, St. James body was rediscovered by a hermit called Pelagius, who after observing strange lights in a local forest went to the Bishop, Theodemar, for help. The Bishop was the guided to the spot by a star thus, the name Compostela was really derived after Campus Stellae, Field of Stars.

Torralba de Ribota in Aragon

Torralba de Ribota
Torralba de Ribota | Source

The North

While often overlooked by tourists, the North of Spain is one of the most stimulating places to visit. Close to the Pyrenees, it is cold in the winter. In the summer, the beach of San Sebastian is one to enjoy. Bilbao has the stunning Guggenhein 2 Museum by architect Frank Gehry. The Way of St. James and the Plaza Aragonese discussed below are part of this area.

Utebo in Plaza Aragonesa

Aragon Section In Poble Espanyol
Aragon Section In Poble Espanyol | Source

The Aragon Square

Aragon is a landlocked region in northeastern Spain comprising the provinces of Huesca, Zaragoza and Teruel. It is not to be confused with the Crown of Aragon which included a much bigger area.

Aragon is known for its ornate, Moorish-influenced Mudéjar architecture. Most famous of these is the Basilica of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zaragoza. Pobles displays these beautifully

Andalusia

The South
The South | Source

The South

The South segment of Poble Espanyol, Andalucia, showcases its well known cities such as Malaga, Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada and its Moorish influence having been under the Moors from the 8th to the 15th century. So, the architecture here reminds visitors of the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Cordoba, the Giralda and Alcazar in Seville. The whitewashed buildings of the South are also showcased here in Poble.

Streets of Poble Espanyol
Streets of Poble Espanyol | Source

The Mediterranean

The Spanish cities on the Mediterranean Coast boast of milder climates reflected in their way of life. Barcelona is part of this area together with Valencia. These coastal cities showcase their Maritime tradition, art and gastronomy. In some cases, they feature different languages and cultures and their uniqueness has a political overtone emphasized in the architecture (think Gaudi).

Fran Daurel Museum
Fran Daurel Museum | Source

Fran Daurel Museum

Inaugurated in 2001, this Museum is inside the Poble Espanyol. It has over 300 works by internationally renowned artists housed artistically on several levels. This is worth a visit. Showcased are the variety of styles of many contemporary Spanish artists. Picasso, Dali and Miro and others with links to Barcelona are all featured here.

The Sculpture Garden

The Sculpture Garden
The Sculpture Garden | Source

The Sculpture Garden

36 sculptures by 27 different artists using different styles in a natural surrounding of about 3,000 square meters. This is the Sculpture Garden that you can enjoy inside the Poble Espanyol. What a refreshing break from the recreated village.


Artisans at Work

The Artisan at Work
The Artisan at Work | Source

Poble Espanyol: a Living Site

To make it a living site, about 20 artisans work through the range of crafts that have been part of Spanish history, and of course, sold products on site. The artisans are interesting as they still use the age old ways of making their wares. You should see the workshop of the guitar maker. There are some beautiful guitars there on display. and he builds as you watch.

We went inside the leather crafters shop where we were greeted by his white miniature poodle watching the store as the craftsman worked out back. We had a good look and settled on a beautifully crafted belt.

We also visited the glass maker and the workshop is big enough to really watch him at work. While some people think these are tourist traps, for us, it is a connection to the past, to the artisans who love their craft.

Although there are about 20 artisans working in Poble, we took time to visit these artisans and it was worthwhile:

  • Guitar Maker
  • Leather Crafter
  • Glass Blower

Castille y Leon

Castille y Leon
Castille y Leon | Source

A Poll on Poble Espanyol?

What do you think of Poble Espanyol?

See results

Here's a video of the Poble Espanyol

A Visit to Poble Espanyol

Do you recommend a visit to Poble Espanyol?

See results

Aranda de Duero

Castilla y Leon
Castilla y Leon | Source

Cafes, Music and Other Events in Poble Espanyol

There are Musical Performances and other events organized in Poble Espanyol most of which showcase Spanish culture but also other events just for fun and entertainment. Flamenco dances or fiestas are some of the events here so check out the scheduled events and join the fun.

There are many activities for kids, classes and workshops so you can learn from some of the artisans in the place.

There are Cafes serving food specialties from different regions so this is your chance to sample food from places in Spain you have not yet been. When we went the first time, we enjoyed churros con chocolate and some turrones.

The Poble offers venues for all kinds of events even weddings. There are squares as open venues for events, churches that can accommodate banquets, and others that can even be recreated in this 40,000 sq. m. area.

Resting Places in Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol
Poble Espanyol | Source

Our Impression of Poble Espanyol

In some ways, Poble Espanyol is overwhelming. There’s simply too much to absorb in a few hours and perhaps, a kilometre of walking. There’s truly a bit of everything. From Picasso to food, through lace, leather, glass and knives.

Located as it is immediately adjacent to the Museum of National of Art in Catalonia, it is very easy to visit the culture of Catalonia through the morning and the architectural history of Spain in the afternoon.

Although we have visited most of Spain, we found Poble, the miniature Spain to be absolutely intriguing. Each narrow street unfolded a new part of the country and original architecture to be considered.

For visitors with no time to see the cornucopia of Spanish history and culture, this is a one stop shop to give an overview and some ideas.

For opening hours and events, visit the Poble Espanyol website.

© 2018 Mary Norton

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    • aesta1 profile image
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      Mary Norton 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for the visit. It is in Barcelona.

    • Leonie Manguilin profile image

      Leonie Manguilin 2 months ago from Belgium.

      I've visited many places in Spain but not Poble Espanyol.

      Thanks for sharing your thought on this masterpiece. Love reading it.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      It is my favourite area to visit, eat and shop.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 2 months ago from Connecticut, USA

      Seems as if this is a great area of Spain to visit. Such variety. Beautiful photos.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Yes, Barcelona is indeed a city to visit as there are many things to see. Thanks for the visit.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Beautiful photos and what an amazing scenario. Loved the detailed information about a place I would visit some day.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks you Rachel. I appreciate the support.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Mary, Your pictures are fantastic. I don't travel but if I did, I would really like to see Barcelona just by seeing your pictures and reading the descriptions of your trip. Thanks for sharing. I will pin this article..

      Blessings to you.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      It is and I am sure you must have seen it, at least the outside, when you were here.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Linda. Of course, there is no substitute for the real thing but, often, it is not possible to get to these places.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      That was our experience, too. We delayed going thinking it is like Disney but we enjoyed the stroll.

    • CYong74 profile image

      Kuan Leong Yong 3 months ago from Singapore

      Oh, you bring back such memories, Mary. I visited in 2014 and remember being somewhat hesitant before entering, I thought it would be cheesy, but it turned out to be so lovely and serene. Thanks for sharing your pictures and the detailed writeup.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love this article, Mary. I've visited Spain once, but I didn't go to Poble Espanyol. I would love to visit this site! Your descriptions, the beautiful photos, and the video make it sound and look very appealing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      I see in one of your responses that you likened it to visiting Epcot. That is exactly what I was thinking as I was reading about Poble Espanyol. Places like that are a great introduction to a country particularly if people cannot get to all of those places. At least they have an idea of what the different areas would have to offer.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for the visit. I would recommend this city. There is so much to see and do.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 months ago from Chicago Area

      More beautiful photos! My husband has his heart set on visiting Barcelona someday. This area should be on his itinerary. Thanks for showing us the sites!

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Barcelona would be great. We are 66 and 74 and with elevators and escalators in almost all of the attractions, your Mother will enjoy it.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      For you who has traveled a lot and enjoy exploring on your own, Poble will be like Disney's Epcot. Still, if you happen to be here first in Barcelona, it is a good basis for where to go.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 months ago from USA

      I would simply love to visit here. I'm looking for somewhere that my mother and I can go. She would love this, I think.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Mary. Very interesting. We have not made it to Spain yet but definitely in the next few years so this will come in handy. I really like the idea behind Poble, it gives you a taste of all the different regions of Spain in one place. Will add it to our list. Thanks for sharing, have a great day.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Bill. I can understand that and, at least, I know you'll appreciate what I share.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'll probably never visit there. Just the thought of being trapped in an airplane for six hours or more is enough to make me shake. LOL But I love hearing about it and seeing your beautiful pictures, so thank you.

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