Eixample

The Casa Milà
The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família
The Illa de la Discordia (the turret on the left belongs to the Casa Lleó Morera; the building with the stepped triangular peak is the Casa Amatller; and the curved façade to its right is the Casa Batllˇ)

The Eixample (Catalan for "extension"; Castilian, Ensanche) is a district of Barcelona between the old city (Ciutat Vella) and what were once surrounding small towns (Sants, GrÓcia, Sant Andreu etc.). Constructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, some parts of the Eixample were heavily influenced by modernist architects, chief among whom is Antoni Gaudí. His work in the Eixample includes the Casa MilÓ (nicknamed La Pedrera) and the Sagrada Familia, as well as the Casa Batllˇ, both of which are on the wide Passeig de Gràcia.

This last is part of a block called the Illa de la Discòrdia, along with two other notable Modernisme works, Lluís Domènech i Montaner's Casa Lleó Morera and Puig i Cadafalch's Casa Amatller. The block is so named due to the visual clash between the buildings; its Spanish name, Manzana de la Discordia, is also a pun on Eris's Apples of Discord - manzana means both "apple" and "city block".

The Eixample is characterized by long straight streets, a strict grid pattern crossed by wide avenues, and truncated-square blocks (named illes or mansanes in Catalan, manzanas in Spanish). This was a visionary, pioneering design by Ildefons CerdÓ, who considered traffic and transport along with sunlighting and ventilation in coming up with his characteristic octagon-shaped blocks, where the streets broaden at every intersection making for greater visibility, better ventilation and (today) some short-stay parking space. Many of his other provisions were unfortunately ignored, but the grid pattern remains as a hallmark of Barcelona.

The most important avenues in the Eixample are the Passeig de Gràcia (that links centric Pl.Catalunya with the old town of Gracia), Avinguda Diagonal (that cuts the grid diagonally), and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes (that crosses all Barcelona from southwest to northeast).

Some parts of the Eixample are rather well-to-do neighbourhoods, especially around Passeig de Gràcia, but the Eixample also contains many decaying buildings inhabited by lonely aged tenants on the verge of poverty.

Eixample contains one of Barcelona's gay villages, nicknamed the gaixample.\n




copyright ę 2004 FactsAbout.com