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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Barcelona, Spain - The Museu De Cera and The Museu Frederic Mares

Catedral de Barcelona - Interior2Image via Wikipedia

By Harry Preston

The Museu de Cera also known as the Barcelona wax museum sits just off Las Ramblas in a neoclassical stately home that belies its unremarkable contents. It's not exactly Madame Tussauds, but it is popular with kids and worth a visit if you have a family to entertain.
The building was designed by architect Elies Rogent. Formerly the site of El Banco de Barcelona, it remains largely intact, complete with winding staircases and frescoes. Features include the "staircase of honour" and "the armoured room", an example of rooms used by banks in the 19th century.
The museum was founded in 1973, the creation of architect and set designer Enrique Alarcon. It shows around 300 wax models of historical figures, celebrities and literary characters, complete with audio-visual effects. Pope John Paul 11 hobnobs with the likes of Franco and Hitler, artists and film stars, and horror creations Dracula and Frankenstein.
The museum's cafe, El Bosc de les Fades (Forest of the Fairies) is next door and a destination in its own right. Fitted out in the style of an enchanted forest, it has gnarled trees, toadstools and a grotto.
The Museu Frederic Mares sculptor and collector Frederic Mares i Deulovol donated his home and this fascinating collection to the city of Barcelona. Just behind the cathedral, it is one of the biggest collections of medieval sculpture in the region and is a remarkable repository of objects from everyday life from centuries long gone.
The museum occupies a series of buildings formerly belonging to the Royal Palace and is divided into three sections: sculpture, the collector's cabinet and Mares' library-studio. The palace has beautiful interior courtyards, chiselled stone and soaring ceilings. There is a huge collection of religious sculpture and imagery, from pre-Roman times to the 20th century, but it is the upper floors which contain everyday paraphernalia that really make it worth a visit.
Literally thousands of 19th-century household items and memorabilia, including bicycles, photographs, scissors and clocks are displayed to give a glimpse of life in Barcelona over the years. Objects are organised into themed rooms, including the "Ladies quarter", which shows the life of a 19th-century Spanish woman through a vast collection of bags, hatpins, fans, jewellery and other feminine accessories.
The Entertainment Room features toys and automatons. The museum is accessible through an attractive courtyard with an outdoor cafe, open during the summer months. The cafe is the perfect resting place during a visit to this incredible museum.
For more information about Barcelona, Spain visit
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