architecture, art, culture, history, people, photography, travel, world

The Barcelona Cathedral

600_6551-s_wThe cathedral of Barcelona is located at a huge square in the old town, but it is jammed between other houses and stands behind in the dark. On the stairs in front of the portal are the usual suspects: beggars, tourist guides with umbrellas and other funny marks to get the attention of their groups to get them all together, artists and musicians. All in all, a very unpleasant environment for a cathedral.

Even the inside is kind of crowded. Many visitors walking slowly up and down the aisles, chatting and taking photographs. Beside the altar the choir impressed me most. It is completely segregated from the rest of the cathedral, just like a church inside the church. Only monks and priests are allowed to take their place inside the choir (and tourists as part of a guided tour). All the others can look inside through the grid at the altar side of the choir (photo above).

When inside, pay attention to the carved hand plates between the wooden chairs in the choir. As far as I was able to see them, each one is different from the others. I included some in my gallery below.

Once the cathedral was part of a monastery. Although the buildings still exist, but, as far as I know, their isn’t any monk living anymore.

As you can see from the building style, the cathedral is quite old. It was founded back in the 11th century and is donated to St. Eulalia, the patron of Barcelona and a martyr in late roman times. She is buried under the altar and her martyrdom is engraved above the door of the choir. The Legend says, she was killed 4 times in a row.

You can also visit the cloister (I’ll show you the hidden secret of the cathedral in an other post) and the roof.

Visiting the roof costs you a small fee. Depending on the visiting time, you also have to pay an entrance fee for the cathedral itself. Visiting the choir also costs you a fee, but, I don’t know, where to pay.

To give praying room to the believers, there is a separate chapel right behind the main entrance on the right.

Now, feel free and look around by using my photographs.

Take care!

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art, landscape, photography, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 22

600_3161-eb_wMy contribution to Leanne Coles Monochrome Madness for this week is also taken from my upcoming series on Iceland. (click on the photo to see it enlarged)

Iceland is a phantasmic location for bw photography. Not only the landscape changes dramatically behind nearly every other edge, also the sky changes quickly because of constant weather changes.

In Landmannalaugar we started our hike uphill, when the sun started to win the fight against deep hanging clouds combined with high fog and drizzling rain. But, after about 15 minutes walk the rain seemed to get the upper hand again and accomplished us until we reached the top and the sun finally had won. She broke up the gray sky and lighted the now thin clouds from behind.

Lightspots were on some of the mountain sides while others parts were still in the dark areas in combination with the sky also made of  interesting structures.

Soon, you can see here much more on Iceland. Not only in bw, but also in color. So, stay tuned.

Take care!

photo-of-the-day, photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

600_7946-e_wThe photo challenge at The Daily Post is called “Summer Lovin’” this week. So, I picked this photo for the challenge. I really love summer, hot temperatures and sunshine whole day. Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game or Summer Son by Texas are part of my personal summer soundtrack. So, I have many, many photos on my disk praising summer.

I picked this kind of abstract photo for my contribution, because it shows, what I love: the sea, the sun and the heat.

I didn’t color the photo in post production. All colors are natural. It’s shot around noon against the sun. So, the sun was able to illuminate the wave from behind while the water between the wave reflected the sky.

Enjoy your summer (or, at least, dream of a hot summer)

Take care!

architecture, art, culture, landscape, photography, technical, travel, world

Torre Agbar at night

600_6457-ed_wThis tower is also a monument in the skyline of Barcelona. Its shape is similar to The Gurkin in London. You can see it from nearly all of the town, because it is one of the highest, if not the highest itself, building in the skyline. So, you can use it for your orientation as well as the two hills. I’ll put an overview photographed from one of the two hills in of Barcelona in one of my next posts.

Being a modern business building, it is usually not very interesting, except you’re interested in architecture. But, it is surrounded by other well-fitting buildings, a gallery hall, a big bus station and a modern market hall. This whole urban district was planned and in the basement of the gallery hall you can visit a miniature model of the district in its final state.

And, like many other important buildings, these buildings are illuminated at night. A feast for photographers.

Enjoy and take care!

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art, landscape, photography, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 21

600_1415-ebp_wMy contribution to Leanne Coles Monochrome Madness for this week is also taken from my upcoming series on Iceland. Here you can see the Brúará. This river is only 38 km long. You can find it in the Suðurland region, in the south of Iceland.

Iceland has many, many rivers, streams, creeks and brooks running downhill through valleys and canyons. Most of them aren’t long but wide and bring lots of water with them.

Some bring fresh water, others bring melting water from the glaciers and yet others are a result of geothermal springs.

Take care!

art, culture, landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, technic, technical, world

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

600_7344-e_wOn our trip to Iceland we were on a windy and rainy day at the beach.

To escape the unfriendly weather we fled in a huge cave and found many of these stone men. (I wrote about their meaning before).

Todays assignment on The Daily Post for photographers is “Containers”. My container is the cave and the stone men are inside. Each of them has a certain meaning for the person, who set it up. Have you ever tried to build one on you own? It’s not that easy.

Take care!

 

architecture, art, culture, history, Music, people, photography, travel, world

The stage at Palau de la Musica Catalana

600_6176-s_wAs I mentioned in my last post, the stage is very different to stages usually found in theaters and opera houses. While those stages are able to be modified by paper walls lowered from the drawing floor, we only find a small stage with a few steps in the back for a choir (and the organ above).

Do you see, the figurines on the wall? These are muses. 18 figurines, each equipped with a different musical instrument, are looking at the musical at the stage. So, the artist is surrounded by audience. The common people in front of the stage in the seats on parquet floor or on the balconies. And, to back and inspire the artist, the muses beside and behind.

As a visitor you can’t see all of the muses. And that’s ok, because they are here only for the musician. The photo above is taken while standing right before the stage. The farer you have your seat, the less of them you can see. In the photo gallery at the end of this post, I’ve put a few of them in detail.

The idea of a muse was born in ancient Greece. They are goddesses from the Greek mythology and responsible for inspiration, literature, poetry, science, music, arts and considered as the source of knowledge.

Even today there are saying referring to the muses, i.e. someone was kissed by a muse (= had a very good idea or a flow of inspiration).

I hope, you also got a kiss of a muse every now and then for your inspiration.

Take care!

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art, landscape, photography, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 20

600_0837-eb_wMy contribution to Leanne Coles Monochrome Madness for this week is taken from my upcoming series on Iceland.

It’s taken near the lighthouse at Suðurnes peninsula. (Yes, there are some letters in the Icelandic language, you don’t know. It’s really fascinating.)

The Icelandic landscape is wild and rough, but very interesting. You can find many structures in the ground and in the sky.

Take care!

landscape, people, photography, travel, world

I’m back ….

600_3561-ec_w… from another island. This time I haven’t chosen an island in the sun. This time I went north, way north. This times destination was Iceland!
Iceland is a pretty nice island in the north of the Atlantic Ocean. A land with bright nights in the summer and extremely short days in the winter.
Iceland was found by the ancient vikings. They started settling the island in the 9th century, about 1.100 years ago.
The landscape in Iceland is very special. It is dominated by volcanos, glaciers and water. But in between there are beautiful sights.
Again, we were very lucky to get typical Icelandic whether most of the time and now I know, why the island is so green. Our temperature was between 6°C and 13°C (don’t forget, it’s middle of the summer!!!), often strong winds and lots of rain every single day. Our clothing, health and camera equipment was stressed to the limits. Luckily no gear was damaged, although it was sometimes hard to get good photos with lots of raindrops on the lenses or completely wet cameras. Nevertheless, it was a great experience with an extremely good and experienced driver and guide.
We visited volcanos and a high-temperature zone as well as rural areas and the capital Reykjavik, but we were also in the rough and unpaved highlands and visited some of the most impressive natural monuments. Stay tuned to see them too in a few weeks.
Last night I arrived home at 2.30 a.m. after being on the road for about 15 hours.
Stay tuned for my further posts on Iceland. Maybe you could consider subscribing my blog to get an email for every new published posts.

Take care!

architecture, art, culture, history, Music, people, photography, travel, world

Palau de la Musica Catalana

600_6216-ec_wEvery city has one or more theatres, cinemas, sport stadiums and maybe an opera. In Barcelona you can find another kind of stage of musical entertainment: the Palau de la Musica Catalana.

This Palace was built between 1905 and 1908 and is now part of the UN world heritage.  A theatre and an opera bringing plays on stage.  Actors playing their roles and opera singer sing their classical opera songs. You have a stage and a pit for the orchestra below the stage with an open space between the audience and the front border of the stage.

The Palau is different. There is no orchestra pit, as you can see in the photo above. The whole stage is kind of small and very special. My next will be on the stage itself.

The palace was built following the current style at the building time: Art Nouveau. While looking around by using the photos in the attached gallery, pay attention to the big glass window in the ceiling and its unusual shape. In the above photo you can see the shape from the side. Also, both sides of the building have colorful glass windows.

In case, you book a guided tour, you can also feel the wonderful sound inside the building. They demonstrate it with a hidden organ.

There is also a small auditorium, the Sala d’Assaig de l’Orfeó Català (the Orfeó Català Rehearsal Room), just below the main stage. Artists can use this area for performances with small audience or for exercises. This area is as good equipped as the central auditorium. The guided tour starts here with a short documentary with testimonials from many international musicians, praising the Palau. Here you can find the first stone of the Palau, laid in 1905.

The Foyer of the Palau is an area for waiting while drinking a coffee or a tea. This area is open to the public as a café or cafeteria.

Take care!

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architecture, culture, photography, technical, travel, world

an other kind of art

600_5818-e_wYou know, architecture is (at least here in Germany) a kind of art. Usually architecture represents a certain style of living as a style of an epoch, like Art Nouveau or Art Deco or Bauhaus or many others. But, there are also other architects around. They are unique in their style. I.e. think of the Canadian architect Frank Gehry, who creates buildings with a unique style. I visited Prague and Düsseldorf, where you can find some of his buildings. Others can be found in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA), Bilbao (Spain) or Panama City.

Back in 1852 a (later) famous architect was born in Barcelona: Antonio Gaudi. He built many very interesting and unique buildings in the city. I’ll show some of them in my next posts including his master piece La Sagrada Familia (The holy family), a church. This was his last project. He worked on the church until he died as a result of an accident in  1926.

But, first I want to introduce you to the Hostpital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (hospital of the holy cross and St. Paul). This hospital was donated by the banker Pau Gil. Come around and have a look at this fantastic campus. They started back in 1902, but in 1911 when only 1/4 of the planned buildings were ready all the money was spent. In 1912  the second building time was started. This period was financed from the budget, planned for the relocation of another clinic located in the inner city. In 1930 the campus was finished and the hospital was handed over to its purpose.

Now, it’s no longer in use as a hospital. Instead it’s a UNESCO world heritage since 1997. The clinic now uses a new building complex (built 2003-2009) right next to this one, while the old campus is about to be renovated. You can already visit some of the old bed halls and get an idea, how much changed in hospital care during the last about 100 years.

I guess, it will be a regular museum soon. Currently you can visit it for free. It’s open from 11 a.m. But, expect to wait outside in a queue for a long time. When we arrived at 10 a.m. (not knowing about the opening hour at 11:00) the queue already was very long and we were able to enter the campus at 11:45. When we left the campus at about 3 p.m., there wasn’t a queue anymore, but inside it was quite crowded. So, choose well. 🙂

Take care!

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