Monday, November 01, 2010

Vintage Views: Barcelona, 1908

Leaving behind the frenzied New York City thoroughfares of 1928, we leap back two decades and across the Atlantic Ocean to land in Barcelona. Now the largest and most beautiful city in eastern Spain, in 1908 Barcelona was enjoying a period of quiet between its 1888 world’s fair and the bloody political clashes of 1909, during which the Spanish army faced off against anticolonial and antimiltarist forces all over the Catalonia region.

I’ve visited Barcelona only once, back in 2006. But I quickly fell in love with its extensive and entertaining downtown pedestrian mall, the La Rambla; its many innovative works by architect Antonio Gaudí; and the kinetic energy and stylish inhabitants that together make this more than 2,000-year-old city feel so very modern. The video embedded above shows a place that is at once nothing like the commercially active metropolis I enjoyed, and yet every inch the same sort of grand, proud, and richly textured town.

Next time we’ll strike out west to see Prohibition-era Los Angeles.

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