Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Terrassa: city of Modernism, Romanesque and parks

Terrassa is a Catalan city of 213.897 inhabitants. It’s located only at 28 km from Barcelona, in the district of Vallès Occidental. Although it isn’t as big as Barcelona, Terrassa is a good place to sightseeing. The city has lots of interesting modernist buildings and it has a very beautiful environment, surrounded by one of the most important natural park in Catalonia: Sant Llorenç del Munt at only 5 km.
Montcau is one of the mountains nearby Terrassa. 

But you can travel around without moving from the Terrassa’s centre. The most advisable way to arrive to the city is taking the train (S1-FGC or R4-RENFE), because there isn’t very few parking places for free. Once you are in Terrassa you have to go to the main boulevard called Rambla d’Ègara and walk around while you are in the most important street in the city. Lots of improvements have been made by the city council in the last two years in order to do more comfortable walking around this boulevard.  At la Rambla as Terrassa’s people say, you can go shopping in many clothes stores. One of the most interesting shops is Zara, located in the former Cinema Rambla. Inside the store you can see the framework of the cinema that has been the most important in the city for many years.

Once you have seen “la Rambla” you should go to Raval de Montserrat. At this elongated square there is the gothic revival building of city hall. Terrassa’s city hall has been built by Lluís Muncunill (the most important architect of Terrassa) in 1900. You can admire it from the street while you go shopping in some traditional stores. At Raval de Montserrat you can also see the most important market of the city called Mercat de la Independència with its impressive modernist building of 1908.

The streets around the city hall are the most typical streets where Terrassa people walk around or go shopping on the weekends. They are pedestrian zone and a very good place to relax enjoying the streets and the buildings. Once you have walked around the city’s centre and you have tasted a hotdog (known here as a frankfurt) at Casa Vallès Frankfurt’s. You can go to the Parc de Sant Jordi (Park of Saint George). Here you can see one of the most beautiful buildings in the city (even in Catalonia): Masia Freixa. This white building has been built by Luís Muncunill in 1896 as a textile mill (Terrassa has been one of the most important textile cities in Catalonia in the first half of XX century) and some years later he had made alternations in order to turn it into a residence of Freixa family. For many years, the conservatory has been here and you could listen to the instruments while you walk around in the magnificent Park of Saint George. Masia Freixa has lots of modernist arches and it has a very beautiful brightness in the sunny days.

There is a model of Masia Freixa in the Science Musuem of Barcelona because its egg shapped archs. 
Another beautiful park in Terrassa, a little out of the way from Park of Saint George, is Parc de Vallparadís. With more than 395.000 m2, this is one of the biggest parks in Catalonia. It used to be a watercourse for centuries but now is the most important park of Terrassa. It’s very interesting to walking around (it’s very beautiful and it has different and interesting parts) but it is interesting too because there are a castle and historical monuments in. Castell Cartoixa, is a castle built in the XII century where is located the History of Terrassa Museum. Eslgésies de Sant Pere aren’t strictly in the park but they are on the top of the little neighbourhood called Antic Poble de Sant Pere (Former Saint Peter’s Town), located in the middle of Vallparadís. These historical monuments are the most important Romanesque ones in Catalonia. From 2009 they are a museum to know more things about them. 

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