The Arc de Triomf is located near the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona, Spain. The monument was built in 1888 as the gateway to the world’s fair and has now become one of the city’s iconic landmarks.
The height of the monument is approximately 30 meters which is roughly half the size of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.
One of my favorite architectural features of the monument are the crowns on top of each side. This is very unique and something that I haven’t seen on other triumphal arches. Just under each crown is an angel. Some angels are sounding a horn while others are holding olive wreath which is a symbol for victory.
On each side of the monument between the angels are reliefs symbolizing agriculture and industry on one side and commerce and art on the other side. This is an unusual feature because most triumphal arches have reliefs featuring military sciences. The difference is because the Arc de Triomf was built to celebrate a civil movement and not a military victory.
On top of the arch are shields of the 49 Spanish provinces and the coat of arms of the city of Barcelona on top in the center.
On each side of the arch opening are stone bats. This may seem strange but the bat was considered a lucky charm for King Jaume I, the king that liberated Valencia, Menorca and Mallorca from the Moors.
The monument was originally built as an entry to the world’s fair but now it is the entry to a walking street that leads to Parc de la Ciutadella, one of the city’s most popular parks with a large green space.
My first thought when seeing the Arc de Triomf was that its appearance was different than any other European arches than I had seen. Most European arches are constructed with large heavy-duty white stones but this arc is made from mostly red bricks.
Barcelona has many famous tourist sites. Many of the most popular sites have long lines and are crowded. The Arc de Triomf is not a major tourist site. Of course, there are people taking photos of the arc but most of the people around the arc are just enjoying everyday life activities.
If you want to take a break from overcrowded tourist sites, consider spending a few hours at the Parc de la Ciutadella and make sure to check out the Arc de Triomf.
The Arc de Triomf was built to celebrate the victory of a civil movement and not a victory of war. It would be nice if more importance would be placed on celebrating our times of peace