The first main site we visited in Barcelona was the amazing La Sagrada Familia which has been under construction since 1882. The next sight we visited was the Hospital de Sant Pau. This another old building in Barcelona constructed between 1901 and 1930 (they actually finished this one). Up until 2009 it was actual hospital accepting patients. It was closed in June 2009 and is now under construction to be converted into International Centre of the Mediterranean.
From what I undertand they are creating a sort of think tank for the Mediterranean countries. The idea behind it’s new purpose is intriguing. Each one of the pavilions which be used for different universities, industries, research institutes, etc. The close proximity of diverse organizations is supposed to help foster communication and cooperation. The first to commit to the space is the United Nations University which will take one entire pavilion (the one pictured above on the left). Others will follow as the renovations start to finish over the next 5+ years.
While the Hospital de Sant Pau is under construction you can still get a behind the scenes tour. After doning a hard hat and bright yellow jacket you get to visit the underground tunnels and some of the hospital wards. It really looks like something out of a WWII movie. It’s amazing that this was a working hospital up until 2 years ago.
This is what things should look like once the renovations are finished.
We did find one historic monument not under construction and they just happened to have a Flamenco concert that evening. One of the uniquely Spanish things to do is Flamenco dancing. When Miki first mentioned she wanted to go see Flamenco dancing I thought we were going to go the zoo. However, Flamenco has nothing to do with the cute, long legged, pink bird. I had to look up what Flamenco dancing was. Here is what wikipedia has to say.
Flamenco is a genre of music and dance which has its foundation in Andalusian music and dance and in whose evolution Andalusian Gypsies played an important part.
The cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), dance and palmas (handclaps) are the principal facets of flamenco.
In recent years flamenco has become popular all over the world and is taught in many countries – in Japan flamenco is so popular there are more academies there than in Spain. On November 16, 2010, UNESCO declared Flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The historic building we saw the concert in was the Palau de la Musica Catalana. Completed in 1908 this definitely qualifies as a historic building. It was actually designated a UNESCO site the same year the Hospital de Sant Pau was. While the building wasn’t as magnificent as the La Sagrada Familia it was still pretty impressive and the fact we got to see a concert in it was very cool.
You can see Flamenco dancing all over the city from small bars to big venues like this. My recommendation is to spend the money and get tickets to see it in this historic building. They only play here certain times of the year and only on certain days so call ahead to see when they are playing.