Monday, August 30

Small Tower, Cardona Castle, Catalonia

Small Tower, Cardona Castle, Catalonia, Spain [enlarge]

Maybe you remember my post about the Cardona castle where we talked about this jewel of Catalan history, maybe the most emblematic medieval castle in Catalonia. An inexpugnable stronghold under siege on many occasions but never conquered by force and devoted to protect not only its illustrious lords, the Cardona family, but the salt mines in the valley nearby. A very good sample of the evolution of defensive techniques from medieval to modern times in our country. It is precisely the last fortress to surrender to Philip V troops, the last redoubt of the Catalonian supporters of Charles VI of Austria in the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1714. The remains of a small tower outside the castle talk of its privileged location on top of a promontory and make us think of a thousand battles.

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Friday, August 27

Dancing Jota in Barcelona

Dancing Jota in Barcelona [enlarge]

Before resuming my photography walks in Barcelona and to fill the inevitable void of August holidays I bring back another sample of jotas from Aragon. Please check previous posts to learn more.

PS: Today I started a new set at Flickr about our trip to Scotland. It just has one picture but it will grow in the next days. From here, congratulations to Scots, in spite of the rain, you have the heck of a great landscape which my family and I really enjoyed and certainly recommend.

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Thursday, August 26

Old Warehouses vs Barcelona Urban Planning

Old Warehouses near [enlarge]

Back in late 80s of last century Barcelona started the transformation of its waterfront by demolishing the intricate artificial barrier of warehouses and industries in the area near La Barceloneta and part of Poblenou with an eye in the 1992 Olympic Games. It was said that for the first time the city had stopped turning its back on the sea. Here is an interesting post in Spanish with some old pictures of Barcelona coastline that will certainly give you an idea of what it was like. What started as a modest makeup ended up in a drastic change which is still alive and has permeated other areas of Barcelona not so close to the sea. After 20 years we have a radically new skyline "thanks" to the greediness for urban soil of foreign investors and local travel and real state companies in connivance with our politicians. Indirectly we have won a modern and attractive city although some are surely happier than we are after speculating on bricks. As you can see in the picture above, the last warehouses compete with new architecture and are bound to disappear soon to quench the thirst of our urban planners' dictates. Old warehouses have been used in the past as part of art activism in Barcelona although such initiatives are sabotaged by speculators that eventually succeed in their schemes (in fact I've just found out there was an art group established in this very place that disappeared in 2009 after two other previous forced evictions). To our leaders: thanks for the sea (we already had it although we did not see it), thanks for the new look and for making Barcelona more attractive and prosperous. Now, can you please stop building for money and consider more social and cultural investment?

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Friday, August 20

La Monumental Bullring in Barcelona, Opera House or Roman Amphitheater?

Monumental Bullring in Barcelona [enlarge]

This is Plaza de Toros La Monumental, a building that after 2012 will not witness anymore bull fights by decree. I have to admit I always found odd that such beautiful architecture gave shelter to so wild an activity. As I said here in the past, I have nothing against traditions but animals don't deserve human cruelty no matter how justifiable it seems. Of course killing bulls is associated to Spanish spirit, it has become a sort of symbol and it is deeply rooted in the history of part of this country, a lot of families make a living thanks to this business, many others admire bullfighters' courage and enjoy their braveness, their art and approach the whole performance as a play or an opera divided into different acts leading to a climax and a grand finale. It is that final act that I find useless, sad and allow me to say, savage. At that point, the theater becomes a Roman amphitheater and the stage turns into a bloody sand pit. And you may say, we kill cows everyday to feed on them, don't we? If you come to think of it, we are no different than beasts, although they do not hunt just for the sake of hunting I'm afraid. Again another case of absurdity in this world of ours. Whenever I come across La Monumental I will always prefer to contemplate the architecture and forget about human follies.

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