1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition

EXPO Barcelona 1888

Official Poster
BIE-class Universal exposition
Category Historical
Name Exposició Universal de Barcelona / Exposición Universal de Barcelona
Building Arc de Triomf
Area 46.5 ha
Visitors 2.300.000
Countries 30
Country Spain
City Barcelona
Venue Parc de la Ciutadella
Coordinates 41°23′17″N 2°11′15″E / 41.38806°N 2.18750°E / 41.38806; 2.18750
Opening April 8, 1888 (1888-04-08)
Closure December 10, 1888 (1888-12-10)
Universal expositions
Previous Melbourne International Exhibition (1880) in Melbourne
Next Exposition Universelle (1889) in Paris

The 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition (in Catalan: Exposició Universal de Barcelona and Exposición Universal de Barcelona in Spanish) was Spain's first International World's Fair[1] and ran from May 20 to December 9, 1888.[2] It was also the first of the two held in Barcelona (the second one being in 1929).


Pavilions in the Parc de la Ciutadella
CTE pavilion at the expo, designed by Antoni Gaudí.

Eugenio Serrano de Casanova tried to launch an exposition in 1886, and when that failed, the Mayor of Barcelona, Francesc Rius i Taulet, took over[1] the planning of the project. The fair was hosted on the reconstructed 115-acre (47 ha) site of the city's main public park, the Parc de la Ciutadella, with Vilaseca's Arc de Triomf forming the entrance.[1] More than 2 million people from Spain, the rest of Europe, and other international points of embarkation visited the exhibition,[3] which made the equivalent of 1,737,000 United States dollars.[2] The fair was opened by Alfonso XIII of Spain and Maria Christina of Austria.[1] Twenty-seven countries participated, including China, Japan and the United States.[3]

The piano manufacturer Erard sponsored a series of 20 concerts featuring Isaac Albéniz, a Catalan pianist and composer best known for his piano works based on folk music idioms.[4]

Legacy and surviving monuments

The main legacy of the 1888 World Fair is the Ciutadella Park: the World Fair served as the opportunity for Barcelona to rid itself of the hated citadel and transform it into a central park for the city's denizens. The entire Ciutadella Park in its present layout is a product of the World Fair, with its monumental fountain and small ponds, its Castell dels tres dracs (Castle of the Three Dragons) built by Domènech i Montaner to house the World Fair's café / restaurant, which later served to house the Zoology Museum, Hivernacle (Glasshouse or Greenhouse), the classicist Geology Museum and the Umbracle (a remarkable shaded structure for plants).

Another product of the World Fair is the Modernista or Neo-Mudéjar Arc de Triomf (triumphal arch), the Fair's former gateway, presiding over Passeig de Lluís Companys. Other architectural details in the city bear witness to the passage of the World Fair as well.

The Columbus Monument (Monument a Colom), a 60 m (197 ft) tall monument to Christopher Columbus, was built for the exposition on the site where Columbus returned to Europe after his first voyage to the Americas. It was erected at the lower end of Les Rambles and remains standing today.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Pelle, Kimberley D. "Barcelona 1888". In Findling, John E. Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9.
  2. 1 2 Pelle, Kimberley D. "Appendix B:Fair Statistics". In Findling, John E. Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 414. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9.
  3. 1 2 Pelle, Kimberley D. "Barcelona 1888". In Findling, John E. Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9.
  4. "Frances Barulich. Albéniz, Isaac".

External links

Coordinates: 41°23′19″N 2°11′12″E / 41.38861°N 2.18667°E / 41.38861; 2.18667

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