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Arco del Triunfo

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Arc del Triomf

Translated by Daniele Iannarone — 4 years ago

Original text by Maria Fernandez

Next on our visit of Barcelona's most touristic sites we find the Arc de Triomphe, located on Passeig de Lluis Companys street. It was designed by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas and is considered a "Cultural Good for Local Interest" in Barcelona.

Arco del Triunfo

Arc del Triomf

This monument was built in the lead-up to the Universal Exposition of Barcelona, which was held in the Ciutadela Park in 1888 (between April 8th and December 9th). The Arc symbolized the main entryway of the event. Behind the arc is Passeig de Lluis Companys street, which gave way to the exposition. This arc features two solid pillars united by an arch, all constructed in bricks, allowing the arc to be seen with an exquisite ornamentation. The Arc del Triunfo was finally inaugurated on May 20th of the same year. 100 years later, in 1989, the arc was restored, rendering it what it is today.

As you may already know, in other European cities we can also see very similar arcs to Barcelona's (Paris, Madrid... ), however despite its name (Arc del Triunfo), Barcelona's arc does not represent the military in any way. It is characterized by its decoration, which invites audiences to guess the arc's designated representation of scientific and economic progress. In relation to this, it's important to mention that the construction of the arc was not only meant to symbolize the entryway to the exposition, it was also meant to serve as a source of motivation for the city of Barcelona, an incentive to improve the city's infrastructure, thus giving way to modernism, which is represented in the decoration on the arc. Normally the triumph arcs originate from the Roman Empire, seeing as they are symbols of military victories, serving to remind and commemorate the wars for years, and also representing the gift to the city from the battle in general.

Coming back to the ornamentation of the arc, it was actually decorated by six artists, each one being assigned a specific section to decorate, thus giving way to six scenes depicted on the arc:

  • The Reward; allegory to arts and sciences
  • Adhesion of the nations to the universal contest (representing Barcelona playing host to other nations); allegory to industry
  • Agriculture and commerce
  • Feminine sculptures
  • The celebrities
  • Finally, on the top, there is ceramic decoration, which are the coat of arms of the 49 Spanish provinces along with Barcelona's coat of arms

Furthermore, the Arco del Triunfo served other functions over the years, primarily as the finish line for races or marathons taking place in Barcelona.

As always, I like to recommend that, when traveling, it's always good to inform oneself a little bit, therefore being able to enjoy the beauty, the differences, the culture and many other aspects, all the while keeping in mind the history of the city and of each monument, thus knowing a little more deeply what we're visiting, understanding what it symbolizes and why it's there.

Arc del Triomf

Arc del Triomf


From my perspective, it's not the arc that attracts the most attention, but the entire area in general. Really the entire 50m wide avenue, Passeig de Lluis Companys, is worth a visit. While walking down the boulevard you can even see bronze sculptures of historical Catalan characters.

More than just for the boulevard (not to take attention away from its beauty and importance), the area is also really appealing for the activities held there and for the ambiance they create. This extensive avenue, the floors dotted with mosaics, filled with iron balustrades and giant lanterns off to the side, is also a common spot for children to meet up and play, for street artists who want to make themselves known (such as men playing with hoops, skaters with difficult circuits, ballerinas, etc. ), the reality is that you never know what is awaiting you on this boulevard.

Arc del Triomf


This area of Barcelona, a small peaceful area of town, is a peaceful area you can use to escape the rest of the city. It's easily accessible via metro (right next to it there's a metro station called "Arc de Triomf"), however it's also easy to get to by bike, seeing as there are some handy bike lanes facilitating travel. It is even accessible by foot for those up for the trek. The Arc de Triomf gives us access to the Ciutadela Park, perhaps the city's most important park, which is also home to the Barcelona Zoo, a spacious green area ideal for simply relaxing or disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of the more crowded areas of Barcelona.

As always, I hope that this blog has helped you out in some way and has taught you something that you didn't know, and that you've gotten to know this area better!

Arc del Triomf

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