What to visit / Day itineraries / A day in Barcelona / Palau Sant Jordi

Palau Sant Jordi

The Olympic Games represented a major change for Barcelona. One of the buildings that heralded the city's entry into the contemporary era was the Palau Sant Jordi, a large, covered sports complex used for all kinds of sporting, recreational and cultural events. You can visit the Anella Olímpica free of charge and see the buildings from the outside.

1990 saw the opening of one of Barcelona's most outstanding buildings. At the time, Barcelona was embarking on a process of renewal and setting its sights on the future. This new sports palace, which is Barcelona's largest covered sports facility, was designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and is the fulcrum of the Olympic Ring on Montjuïc, which became the epicentre of the 1992 Olympics. The architect paid close attention to the building's location when creating his design.

The dome was raised from the ground using innovative hydraulic technology and its imposing outline is reminiscent of a turtle, an organic element that ties in with Antoní Gaudí's work and its mountain setting. A masterpiece of engineering, the dome is underpinned by a base connected by a curving element which gives a harmonious feel to the entire site. The structure and materials used lend great versatility to this multipurpose venue, which can hold 17,000 people seated and 24,000 when concerts are being held. Outside the building there are a series of sculptures by Aiko Miyawaki, a delicate ensemble of 36 concrete cylinders topped by metal rings and steel cables that gleam in the evening light.

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