The weather is glorious (if a little on the chilly side) in Barcelona at the moment, so it’s perfect for long walks around the city, to take in all its beauty. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to look up – the top end of buildings are often lavishly decorated or have a surprise in store for the beholder – a little or large detail that serves as its crowning glory.
City Hall, on Plaça Sant Jaume, is a classical building with mostly clean lines, but at the top, a group of sculpted elements form a frilly contrast with the stark top tier: the horn of plenty, the eagle of power, a crest with the Catalan stripes and St George’s cross, and other symbols that I do not know the meaning of. If you know what they are, please feel free to let me know!
At times, the crown of a building is a little turret, with beautiful glass inset into lead strips, and which in turn is topped with a spire that hold a very simple weather vane on frilly wrought iron legs. Thanks to the fact, that the weather vane, rather than an arrow, has a ball to indicate the direction of the breeze, it is a much used perch for local birds, mostly seagulls.
A surprising example, is this bell at the top end of the façade of a very humble and old former house of alms, on Carrer Elisabets. These days it is no longer used to ring the hour or other significant events. It just serves as a backdrop for the many lush plants that are found on the terrace of a very lovely attic home.
The bank above has a double crown (so to speak) – a very grand structure that kind of dwarfs the sculptures that grace its façade above the main entry.
In contrast with the bank, the crown of this building on Carrer Diputació seems very small, compared by the enormous stained glass windows that are found on its top floor. But the effect is almost as if the side pillars and top row of leaves create a frame for the windows, as if it were a painting. I would love to see those windows from the inside – they are bound to be pretty impressive!
On a most wonderful terrace, that can be found between two squares (Plaça del Bonsuccès and Plaça de Vicenç Martorell) the columned banister is interrupted by a pillar that is crowned by a leafy bowl of fruit and surrounded by plants, such as the lovely pink bougainvillea.
Cheeky, this pergola that peeks out above the top floor on this residential building on Carrer Doctor Dou, to brag of the roof terrace that its owners have to enjoy sunny days in winter and host barbeques on sultry Summer nights. I am determined not to be jealous. I repeat, I am not jealous!
Another bank on Via Laietana symbolically shows off its power by using a row of grand columns to create a small temple on its corner. It’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?
Two grand buildings on the lower part of La Rambla offer some lovely details on their ‘crowns’. The one above is rather opulent, the theater below appears to prefer to stick to the ‘less is more’ concept. Which do you prefer?