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1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition

Coordinates: 41°23′19″N 2°11′12″E / 41.38861°N 2.18667°E / 41.38861; 2.18667
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1888 Barcelona
Official Poster
BIE-classUniversal exposition
CategoryHistorical Expo
NameExposició Universal de Barcelona / Exposición Universal de Barcelona
Building(s)Arc de Triomf
Area46.5 ha
Organized byTomàs Moragas (artistic director)
VenueParc de la Ciutadella
Coordinates41°23′17″N 2°11′15″E / 41.38806°N 2.18750°E / 41.38806; 2.18750
Opening8 April 1888 (1888-04-08)
Closure10 December 1888 (1888-12-10)
Universal expositions
PreviousMelbourne International Exhibition (1880) in Melbourne
NextExposition 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 8 April to 9 December 1888.[2] The second one in Barcelona was held in 1929).


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

Eugenio Serrano de Casanova (journalist, writer and entrepreneur) 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] The artistic director was Tomàs Moragas.[5]

Josep Maria Tamburini won a silver medal at the exhibition.[6]

Legacy and surviving monuments[edit]

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.

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[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Pelle, Kimberley D. "Barcelona 1888". In Findling, John E (ed.). Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9.
  2. ^ a b Pelle, Kimberley D. "Appendix B:Fair Statistics". In Findling, John E (ed.). Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 414. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9.
  3. ^ a b Pelle, Kimberley D. "Barcelona 1888". In Findling, John E (ed.). Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9.
  4. ^ "Frances Barulich. Albéniz, Isaac".
  5. ^ "Moragas y Torras, Tomás - Museo Nacional del Prado". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Josep Maria Tamburini i Dalmau | enciclopèdia.cat" (in Catalan). Retrieved 19 June 2020.

External links[edit]

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