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Architecture of Spain. Must see and must visit landmarks

Alhondiga Bilbao, Bilbao

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Alhóndiga Bilbao is a city 7-storey entertainment center. Its total area is 43 000 m2.
»  The authorities have invented €7 million for 8 years of the construction.
»  There was a wine warehouse here before.
»  The promising architect got down to business. The architect preserved outer walls and built brick constructions resembling cubes along the perimeter. Each construction fulfills its function.
»  The first one houses books, tutorials, and video equipment.
»  The second one includes a gym and a swimming pool.
»  In the third hall, there are two cinemas and an exhibition hall.
»  These block constructions are linked by flat soffits. In the atrium, there is a solarium, a restaurant, and a cafe.
»  At the first level, cube constructions are raised above the ground.
»  Over 40 columns support the platform, on which the complex is located. These pillars are quaint and distinguished by their design. The parts of the support structure are made in the Kitsch style: real chaos, luxury, and uncertain images. It is the convex bearing that resembles a samovar with its shape and it is also a long-clawed beast. Supporting pillars are made of brick and marble.
»  Visitors are welcomed by the huge picture of the sun.

Almudena Cathedral, Madrid

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Almudena Cathedral is decorated with the statue of the Holy Virgin of Almudena, which is also called the statue of the Blessed Virgin, who is the patron saint of Spanish capital.
» According to the legend, the figure of the Virgin Mary was found here in the wall of an ancient Arab fortress, and the Cathedral was built at that site. Almudena is translated from Arab as ‘the fortress’.
» The main altar of the Cathedral of Granada is made of green marble.
» According to the legend, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Almudena was brought to Spain by the apostle James, who preached the Christian faith in the Pyrenees in the 1st century.
» The casket containing the remains of St. Isidro is kept in a duct under the altar.

Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » Anoeta is a home stadium for trainings of the local football club.
»  It is a multifunctional sports complex. It was opened in 1993. Its capacity is 32 076 spectators.
»  The members of the rugby club train in the playing field too.
»  According to the restoration plan, the capacity was increased up to 42 000 sports fans in 2007. To do this, it was necessary to remove running tracks. It was planned to build a network of stores and a hotel. The project was rejected by the city administration due to big investments.
»  The manager of the football club introduced the issue on selling both club and stadium. This solution was not supported. It was planned to reconstruct the playing field, equip it with modern technologies, and increase the number of spectators’ seats on the stands.
»  The stadium is distinguished by its round shape and wave-shaped roof. There are running tracks right behind the playing field. It deters some spectators watching the game.
»  There are new spotlights right on the dome illuminating the stadium at nights.

Barcelona Cathedral, Barcelona

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Barcelona Cathedral is dedicated to St. Eulalia, a young girl who was tortured and martyred for Christian faith.
» That’s the main religious building in Barcelona.
» The most valuable relic of the Barcelona Cathedral are relics of Saint Eulalia buried under the main altar; if you push the 50-cent coin in the slot, the sarcophagus will light with fires.
» The painted wooden sarcophagus is set on the stand at the south wall. According to the legend, it belongs to Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona, and his wife.
» The chapel stores the most revered image of Christ, Holy Christ of Lepanto, that was on the ship of Juan of Austria at the battle of Lepanto.

Basilica de Begona, Bilbao

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Believers came to the Basilica de Begona to worship the patroness of sailors, the Virgin Mary.
»  Services are daily held in the religious institution. Grand festivals dedicated to the Virgin are held here twice a year.
»  The church for her glory started to be built in the 16th century. The construction lasted a hundred years. That is why the exterior of the building combines Gothic and Baroque architectural styles.
»  In the 19th century, the clock tower was attached to the facade. There are 24 bells on the belfry. They make seven different sounds. The whole instrument weighs 1 ton.
»  The walls are decorated with convex ornaments and small shaped pillars.
»  There is a Baroque altar inside. It is gilded. The memorial statue is the wooden sculpture of the Virgin Begona.
»  In the hall, there are high drop arched doorways. They are decorated with complicated patterns. They make an impression that the petals of weird plants surround worshipers.
»  There is a tradition to call ships “Begona” or “Saint Virgin Begona”. This encourages a long voyage and protects sailors from misfortunes.

Camp Nou, Barcelona

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Legendary Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe and one of the most famous stadiums in the world.
» Great matches of Barcelona FC with its worst enemy, Real Madrid, were held there; this confrontation has deep roots in the past.
» The arena is called the Nou Camp or New Field. The stadium is one of the ten most capacious stadiums in the world, and has UEFA five-star mark.
» The first stone was laid in March 1953, and the initial budget was 67 million pesetas.
» The museum of Barcelona is in the premises of the stadium. The museum was opened in 1984, and that’s the most visited museum in the whole of Catalonia. The rich exposition illustrates the rich history of Barcelona. It’s considered the best football museum in the world.

Casa Mila, Barcelona

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The second name of Casa Mila is La Pedrera.
» There are the famous sculptural figures, simultaneously acting as ventilation shafts and chimneys on the roof. The construction features lots of steps and views of Barcelona.
» Everything here meanders, bends and floats perfectly as a living organism. Casa Mila is anywhere from the building, to the ocean and the forest. It’s impossible to describe it, so you can only go and see.
» Casa Mila has no load-bearing walls, which means that plan of apartment is to the discretion of owners.
» Gaudi himself said about his work, “... the corners will disappear, and the matter will appear generous in its astral circularity, the sun will come here from all four sides and the image of paradise will appear there ... so my palace will be brighter than light.”
»  Perhaps the house is lovely; that's the best and most complete expression of the architectural concept of the nature of loyalty professed by Gaudi. It's kind of a man-made mountain with caves that open on the front spreading a powerful vitality.

Castillo de La Mota, San Sebastian

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» On the mountain slope, there is a medieval fortress at a height of 120 m above sea level.
»  “Slope” is “mota” in Spain and that is why the Castle of La Mota is called like that.
»  The fortress was used for protective purposes in a particular period of time. The castle held down the siege of the enemy. The quite small object includes cannons.
»  The first defense barriers were constructed here in the 12th century. They have survived to this day. Over the centuries, the castle has been reconstructed and updated for better defensive capacity. Most of the rooms were inhabited by people once but now the castle is empty.
»  Nowadays, the building is an architectural monument. Inner rooms house museum exhibits. You can trace the city development through the layouts of buildings, old outfits, audio and video materials.
»  In 1950, the sculpture of Christ was placed in the center of the castle square. It is very high and seen from any district of the city. At night, the statue of Jesus is illuminated with colorful lamps.
»  You can go up the stairs to the castle within 40 minutes. When going up there, tourists can admire the flora of the park with benches.

Catedral del Buen Pastor, San Sebastian

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Catedral del Buen Pastor is a religious building.
»  The construction of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd lasted 9 years. Such a long period was conditioned by the lack of funding. The construction was finished in 1897.
»  The city hall allocated the land in the city specifically for it.
»  The ceremony of the laying of the first stone was visited by the royal family. The acceptance document was signed by the future King Alfonso XIII who even didn’t reach 3 years of age at that time. So, his wrist was held by the Queen.
»  Light yellow sandstone was delivered from Mount Igueldo specifically for the construction.
»  The cathedral has a total area of almost 2 000 m2.
»  The bell tower with a spire is 75 m high.
»  4 thousand worshipers can visit services here.
»  The 30-ton organ of 1954 is the biggest in Spain. It consists of 9 535 pipes. One of them is 10 m long.
»  Stained glass windows have been made by special order. The windows depict apostles or geometric objects.
»  The relics of the first priest of the church rest in the crypt here.

Church of the Sacred Heart, Barcelona

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » The Church of the Sacred Heart is located at the top of Tibidabo and is visible from any point of Barcelona. Above the temple stands the statue of Christ embracing the whole world.
» The Church of the Sacred Heart at the moment is the building consisting of at least two parts. The lower part looks like a fortress wall (it’s built of Montjuic stone), and the upper is a church in the Gothic Revival style.
» Due to the fact that the facade of the temple is constructed in a special way, it seems that the building tends directly to heaven. The building of the church is decorated with magnificent statues of the Apostles, the Virgin Mary and patron saints of Catalonia.
» The place for the erection wasn’t chosen occasionally, as the name of the mountain Tibidabo comes from the Latin phrase ‘give you’ and is a string of the Gospel. It means all earthly pleasures and wealth offered when Satan tempted Christ.

Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Circulo de Bellas Artes is the multi-functional center representing various forms of art from the plastic and performing arts to literature, science, philosophy, and cinema.
» The center was founded in 1880 through the efforts of a small group of artists.
» During its first years, there were many famous people, including Nobel laureate Jacinto Benavente and playwrighter Carlos Arniches, on the stage.
» The main goal of the center is to spread basic artistic and cultural values. About 1,000 various cultural events take place in Circulo de Bellas Artes every year.
» It houses a large and priceless collection of works of art and about 1,200 copies (paintings, prints, sculptures, books, etc.).

City Hall, Bilbao

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The old City Hall was built in the territory of the monastery that belonged to the Augustinian Order. It dates back to 1892. During the uprising of the political party in Spain (during Carlist Wars in the 19th century), the part of the construction was destroyed.
»  Balconies are attached to the facade decorated with the row of columns. Multiple sculptures along the walls depict eminent people who contributed much to the development of the settlement. The building is crowned by the chapel.
»  The Arab Hall decorated in the style Muslim rulers preferred stands out of other rooms. Now, it is a place where official meetings and weddings are held.
»  In 2011, the mayor's office funded the construction of the new City Hall. So, you can see the building of unusual shape that is quite atypical for state institutions. The construction built in the style of deconstructivism gives an impression that designed forgot about the rational use of space. In the building, there are also exhibitions, restaurants, negotiation rooms, conference halls, and offices.
»  The City Hall is located in the city center.

Columbus Monument, Barcelona

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Columbus Monument is the grandiose monument established in honor of the discoverer of the Americas, Christopher Columbus.
» The monument is situated at the site where Columbus returned from his first voyage to America. The monument is a reminder of Columbus visit to Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II in Barcelona.
» The word ‘Tierra’ is engraved on the pedestal; it’s translated from Spanish as ‘land’.
» There is an elevator inside the main column of the monument. You can climb to the statue itself, where a site next to Columbus provides a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the panoramic view of Barcelona from a height of over 40 meters.
» Like all art, a monument to Columbus generates a lot of controversy and legends. The main question that plagues all the tourists and residents of Barcelona is a place, where Columbus points the finger of his right hand. Many believe that Columbus shows at New World, which he was able to open. Some claim that Columbus is pointing with his finger towards the East, to his homeland, the city of Genoa.
» The monument is set on an octagonal pedestal, the corners of which are decorated with bronze figures of the goddess of victory. Portraits of people who have played an important mission in the life of Christopher Columbus and his travels are seen at the rear of the pedestal.

Discoteca Bataplan, San Sebastian

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » Night life is really diverse in the city. One of the entertainment venues is the Bataplan Club.
»  Don’t come here too early. Bataplan opens its doors at about 2 am. Then, 5 hours of unbridled joy are guaranteed.
»  The entrance is paid and the beverage is included in the price. You can also use a free invitation card if you come and ask the barman for it beforehand.
»  If you are tired of the noisy hall, you can visit an outdoor terrace.
»  The club is very popular and always full of people. The public is varied: local people, tourists, and students.
»  The Bataplan Disco has existed for 35 years. A lot of world-famous celebrities prefer exactly this place. The international film festival is also held here.
»  Besides local DJs, the administration also invites performers to host the show.
»  According to such magazines, as Deejay and Vicious, Disco was the best club in Spain from 2008 to 2010.
»  Electronic music is a typical background for visitors. You can see the announcement of the show on the website.
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Preferred to Open 9 New Hotels in 2022

In September 2022, the Sommerro hotel in Oslo will start operating in a carefully restored 1930s Art Deco building. This building is a true landmark of Frogner, a historic neighborhood of the Norwegian capital. A multi-million-dollar renovation carefully turned the largest preservation project in Norway into a modern hotel with 231 rooms, including 56 residences. Preferred will open five more hotels in 2022, namely, The Wall Street Hotel in New York, Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences on Singer Island (Florida, the US), TOA Hotel & Spa in Zanzibar, Pendry hotel in Washington, and Pendry Park City hotel in Utah. Read this


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What to see in top cities of Spain

When observing numerous tourists becomes tiresome, head to Diagonal Mar Park to enjoy its peaceful setting. The park is located on Av. Diagonal Street and is fortunately less popular than the internationally famous Parc Güell. Diagonal Mar is mostly visited by locals; this is a charming place with special playgrounds for children. In the evening it’s high time to make a walk to Torre Agbar, which is known as one of the most stylish modern sights of the city. When darkness falls on Barcelona, … Read more
Not even all locals, let alone travelers, know about the beautiful Principe de Anglona garden in Madrid. The garden is located in the center of the lively district of La Latina that is widely known for its stylish bars and vibrant nightlife. In order to hide from crowds and noise, reach the silent Plaza de la Paja. There is a beautiful old mansion near the square. The garden was founded yet in the 18th century, and today it is, without a doubt, one of the most silent and secluded places in the … Read more
If you have only a couple of days to explore the picturesque city, it’s better to use the services of Bus Touristic. These tourist buses make rides around the city starting from early in the morning and till late at night. The routes cover all outstanding landmarks of Seville. The bus makes stops near all important landmarks, so travelers can get off and stay a little longer in the places they like. Bus Touristic have a significant advantage – it’s possible to buy a pass for one of two … Read more
Just a few minutes’ drive separates Benidorm with the picturesque region of Callosa de Ensarriá, where there is a unique botanical garden, Jardí Botánic Cactus D'Algar. Opening of the Botanical Garden was held recently, in 2001. As you might guess from the name, the park represents a huge collection of cacti. Over the past few years, the area has been significantly expanded, so today the garden covers an area of 50,000 m2. Besides exotic desert plants, rare tropical species can be seen in … Read more
In the immediate vicinity of the city there is a unique natural landmark - San Jose Caves (Coves de Sant Josep), through which the largest underground river in Europe flows. Here you can ride a boat, passing along the beautiful crystal formations on the caves' walls and admiring a quiet water surface. Another unusual kind of entertainment for fans of original excursions is Ruta del Snorkeling underwater walks. Unusual underwater tours take place in the resort town of Alicante, which is … Read more
Do you want to walk in places where there is no huge number of curious tourists with cameras? Then take a look at the picturesque village El Morche, which is a short drive from Malaga. There is a large fruit farm, a walk here will give a lot of unforgettable impressions. Passing through dense thickets of reeds, at the entrance to the farm you can see old farmhouses and huge cacti, but the main interest is exotic fruit trees. Guests of the farm will have the opportunity to see with their own … Read more
Another place in the vicinity of Marbella, where the average traveller can get only by accident is the village Ixtlan. Its main attraction is a small reservoir, which is surrounded by green hills which look fantastic. Another secret of the village – incredibly beautiful fruit plantations, which are located on a kind of terraces and form an amazing landscape. Here you can make a lot of spectacular photos, admire the fabulously beautiful waterfalls and exotic plants, as well as see with your … Read more
Those in search of something more extreme can go on a tour to Cuevas de Canelobre. These caves are situated not far from Alicante and are among the largest in Spain. Their vaults are so high that during the war these caves were used as aircraft hangars. Contemporaries invented another amazing task for unique natural sites; they regularly host concerts. Acoustics inside the cave is unique, and therefore millions of artists and music lovers dream about visiting this unusual concert hall. Gourmets … Read more

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