The Manzana de la Discordia is a block in Barcelona's Eixample district on Passeig de Gracia, between d'Arago and Consell de Cent. It is home to four buildings of the Modernisme style by four very different architects: (some pages in Spanish or Catalan) [more inside]
The Church of La Sagrada Familia is perhaps the most famous under-construction Catholic church in the world. Started in 1882 under the direction of Francisco de Paula del Villar, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi took over construction in 1883, after which it became his life's work. La Sagrada Familia was dedicated in 2010, after the installation of the roof, and is scheduled to be complete in 2028 Let's look around: [more inside]
Huge crowds gathered yesterday on the streets of Barcelona to demand autonomy for Catalonia. Police estimated that 1.5 million people protested. [more inside]
No Nativity scene is complete without the caganer - a figure caught in the act of taking a dump near the manger. (NSFW tag, ahoy!) The figurine (whose name translates as "the shitter") is an addition to the Nativity tableaus in the Catalonia region of Spain. Some interpret the caganer as a reminder that God can arrive on earth at any moment - and he doesn't care if he catches you with your britches down. [more inside]
The building of Castells, or human towers, is a tradition from Catalonia, going back to the end of the 18th century, starting in Valls. About a month ago, the annual Concurs de Castells took place in Tarragona, with groups of castellers competing to make taller and more complex towers. This video is a well-shot glimpse at the tower building, deconstruction, and some tumbles, possibly from the 2010 gathering. Via Kuriositas, which has more photos. [more inside]
Catalonia bans bullfighting. Via The NYTimes "Lawmakers in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia voted to ban bullfighting on Wednesday, dealing the most significant blow so far to a tradition considered by many Spaniards to be an essential part of their cultural patrimony. In many ways, however, the ban reflected less on the animal rights than on a political debate over Catalan identity and a push by local parties for greater independence from the rest of Spain. With the strong support of separatist parties, the ban passed by a larger margin than expected: 68 to 55, with 9 abstentions. It is to go into effect in 2012." [more inside]
Defecating figurines are part of the holiday fun in Spain's Catalonia region... How was this tradition started?