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the Apple of Discord

Illa de la Discòrdia or Manzana de la Discordia, namely the Block of Discord, is, maybe, the most famous collection of Modernist buildings in the city of Barcelona. They are sharing the same facade and display stunningly different architectural trends of the beginning of the 20th century.

Casa Batlló

There are 5 buildings that form this famous block. Curiously enough, none was actually built by the architects, even though the facade and interiors were completely transformed – and we know them today as Casa Lleó Morera, Casa Mulleras, Casa Bonet, Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló. And, among these 5, there are 3 that actually form this Apple of Discord, exactly as in the Greek myth where there were 3 goddesses participating in the competition to determine which of them is the fairest.

The words illa and mansana both provide a play on words. Illa de la discòrdia literally means block of discord and also references the English bone of contention. Mansana de la discòrdia means block of discord as well as apple of discord – the golden Apple of Discord in Greek mythology. The name thus refers to the presence of the major Modernista architects, all competing for the most impressive architecture on the very same city block – as well as the rivalry among their patrons to have the fairest building on Passeig de Gràcia.

Casa Batlló

Casa Amatller

Casa Lleo Morera

Passeig de Gràcia

Passeig de Gràcia’s worldwide fame spread in the wake of the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, when the prestigious U.S. urban designer Allan B. Jacobs discussed it in his book Great Streets, setting it on a par with New York’s Fifth Avenue and Paris’s Champs-Élysées.

The long avenue displays a blend of unique architectural heritage, cafes, bistros, restaurants and high-end shopping.


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