Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences of Barcelona 250 years promoting science and technology
RACAB. Bocachete/ Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain
At No. 115, La Rambla in Barcelona, we find an impressive modernista building designed by Josep Domènech i Estapà. It houses the headquarters of the Reial Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona (Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona - RACAB), inaugurated in 1764 thanks to the efforts of several great men of the city. Currently, with a history of over two and a half centuries, the institution continues to promote scientific and technological knowledge in the city.
The two towers of the building, related to astronomical measurements and completed in 1893, frame a clock that, for decades, determined the official time in Barcelona. It is flanked by sculptures that represent scientific - with a compass - and artistic genius. These two figures are by Rafael Atché i Farré, who was also responsible for the statue of Christopher Columbus at the end of La Rambla.
Notable inside the building is the Sala dels Rellotges (Hall of Clocks), with a spectacular collection of mechanisms such as the astronomical clock of Albert Billeter, winner of the Gold Medal at the Universal Exhibition of 1888. On the same floor, the Sala d’Instruments (Hall of Instruments) has a unique exhibition of apparatus and machines originating from the 18th to the 20th centuries; conserved here is the daguerreotype camera with which the first photograph in Spain was taken. It was in 1839 of the Porxos d’en Xifré (Pla de Palau), with an exposure time of more than 20 minutes!
In the Sala d’Actes (Meeting Room) are the mural paintings by Fèlix Mestres. The archive and the library contain a documentary collection of great historical value: with over one hundred thousand volumes, it is one of the most important collections in Spain.
Plan your visit
What can I do?
One of the areas that belong to the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona is the Fabra Observatory, built between 1902-1904 in the Serra de Collserola, slightly further down from Tibidabo. You can visit it by day, at night and even eat out there beneath the stars. Don’t miss the two century-old telescopes or the panoramic terrace.
Què fa l’Acadèmia? (What does the Academy do?)
Enter the building on La Rambla of Barcelona.