The Arc de Triomf & the Eiffel Tour
A bit of history
In the city of Barcelona there are several monuments representing the era of Catalan modernism. Among these, the Arc de Triomf stands out as it represents an example of the neo mudejar style. The architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas presented the design of this monument in 1888 world for the first Universal Exhibition in Barcelona. In 1888 Barcelona City Council agreed with his idea.
It is located in the pedestrian avenue of Passeig de Lluís Companys, the monument used to be an access door to the exhibition at the Ciutadella Park. The Arc de Triomf represents the progress of Spain in the late nineteenth century. It was a symbol of acceptance towards the nations that came to the exhibition.
Description of Arc de Triomf
The Arc de Triomf in Barcelona is a brick structure of about 30 meters high. The monument is surrounded by twenty angels representing fame. It is crowned by another coat of arms: on top, it represents the coat of arms of the Spanish monarchy.
There are also pillars with at the top of lions that are known as the Pillars of Hercules. These sculptores were designed by talented sculptorist Josep Llimona and some of them were influenced by the Champ de Mars in Paris.
Why was it built?
It was built to welcome guests to the Universal Exhibition. While the other part of the arch represents the award ceremony of the guests. On it you can see coats of arms of the various Spanish provinces. While on the sides of the angels, one with a trumpet and one with a laurel wreath.
Unlike other triumphal arches, this one deosn’t represent a symbol of a military victory. It represents the artistic and economic progress that Barcelona went through.
A true highlight is the avenue behind the monument where you can walk among locals, street artists, skaters and sportsmen. It leading to the Parc de Ciutadella. An interesting aspect is the possibility of observing the city through a strategic view on the roof.
What do the Arc de Triomf and the top of the Eiffel Tower have in common?
One of the most sensational stories around the Arc de Triomf refers to the Eiffel Tower. There were many projects represented to the Barcelona City Council and Eiffel Tower by Gustave Eiffel was one of them.
However, Barcelona City Council rejected it. They thought that it did not fit with the aesthetics of Barcelona. And this is why we can visit beautiful Eiffel Tower in the city of Paris.
In 2009, Spanish journalist Lluis Permanyer looked into the library owned by the local newspaper La Vanguardia. It was a popular one back in 1881, where they talked about the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
Permanyer discovered through this research that in reality Eiffel signed the agreement with Paris on March 30, 1885. While Barcelona was announced as a city hosting the fair on June 18, 1885.
In essence, Eiffel had signed with Paris when Barcelona was not yet announced to host the expo. Consequently, it is quite unlikely that the proposal to build the Eiffel Tower in Barcelona predated the one in Paris.
How to reach Arc de Triomf?
The monument can be reached in several ways: via the metro station, located on the red line 1, or a short walk of around 15 minutes if you are in the Gothic Quarter as well as from Placa de Catalunya.
Naturally, if you’ve walked for a long time and want to eat something typical near the monument, there are several restaurants in Arc de Triomf that could suit you. We recommend Degrees Barcelona, Casa Rafols, Toco Alto, Madre Taberna Moderna and many others.
If you want to visit the Arc de Triomf directly on our website you can buy tickets for a walking tour where we will visit the most important monuments of the city including this monument.