Palau Nacional history
As we all know, looks can be deceiving and many say that it the case for this grand palace. While the palace appears to be a very old building, the truth is it is actually rather young.
The cityscape on the mountain the palace stands on, Montjuïc, has undergone two major changes; the first one in 1929 when the World Expo took place in Barcelona and a more recent change for the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992.
The palace was built during the first of these two large events – the World Expo – as one of the event’s main attractions. During the Expo, the palace became a major success and people came from all over Europe to discover its beauty.
The designers, the Spanish architects Enric Català and Pedro Cendoya Oscoz, built it in the style typical of palaces that housed European royalty.
Some say this rather classical design was a reaction to the Art Nouveau movement in general, and Antonio Gaudi in particular, whose style had been dominating the Barcelonan architecture since the early 20th century.
Many structures constructed for a World Expo has been built with impressive speed and the Palau Nacional is no exception. The foundation stone was laid in 1926 and the mighty building stood completed just three years later.
When it was decided that Barcelona would host the 1992 Olympic Games, a restoration program was put into place to refine and modernize some parts of the palace. The majority of the work was completed before 1992, but some restoration work carried on through the whole 90ies.
The restoration of the palace was officially finished in year 2004, when the King of Spain officially reopened it.
Why visit Palau Nacional ?
Today, the Palau Nacional is one of Barcelona’s most impressive landmarks and a key feature on the Montjuïc. While the building itself is beautiful to look at, it is just as nice to be on the building and look out from it.
Visitors to the inside can get access to the roof terrace. It provides its visitors with a stunning view over the Magic Fountain and the rest of the Barcelona.
After the World Expo, the palace became the host for the “Museu d’Art de Catalunya” – The National Museum of Catalonian – which it still hosts today. The museum offers lots of beautiful art. The art includes both old and new works, but with a general focus on Romanesque art.
The Romanesque art is a 11th to 13th century art movement characterized by vibrant colors, elongated forms, and expressiveness. The museum is actually considered to be one of the most, if not the most, important center for Romanesque Art in the world. This museum is definitely a must for anyone interested in art and art history.
Palau Nacional location
Palau Nacional is located in Barcelona, in eastern Spain. The palace can be found on top of Montjuic in central parts of the city, close to the Olympic area and Poble Espanyol. For the exact location of Palau Nacional, check out the location map to the right.