Barcelona’s district of Eixample has been constructed in the late 19th century. Those days Barcelona’s old town (Ciudad Vella) only consisted of the central districts of Barri Gotic, El Raval and El Born.
Eixample means extension in Catalan and this extension was built between the centre of Barcelona and the neighbouring villages of Sants and Gracia.
In 1860, architect Ildefons Cerdà has been ordered by the central government in Madrid to develop a plan for the extension of Barcelona. This plan for Eixample, which has been known as Plan Cerdà, saw the creation of a grid of square blocks. Each side of the characteristic blocks of Eixample is 113 metres long and has chamfered corners for better ventilation and visibility.
The original Plan Cerdà saw Placa Glories as the coming centre of Eixample and the extended Barcelona. But it took a century to complete the plan. Only half the provisioned area has been constructed with the typical square grid scheme of Eixample and thus Placa Catalunya today is the centre of Barcelona.
From an architectural point of view, the most interesting part of Eixample is the so-called Quadrat d’Or around Passeig de Gracia. Here you can find a lot of the famous modernista buildings from the end of the 19th century. Casa Batllo and Casa Mila by Antoni Gaudi have also been rewarded with UNESCO World heritage status.
However, there is many more that you can discover wandering through the district of Eixample. If you prefer to get more in-depth background knowledge, join a walking tour of Eixample’s modernista architecture.