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The city of Barcelona is a sprawling compendium of 2,000 years of European architectural styles -- impressive Roman, Gothic, Baroque, Victorian and Art Nouveau (just to name a few) structures sprout from the streets of Barcelona. The city's most famous form of architecture is Art Nouveau (or Modernisme), a style characterized by whimsical curves, unexpected asymmetry and flamboyant colors. Antoni Gaudi is a Barcelona architect whose turn-of-the-20th-century structures, like the Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, are some of Barcelona's best works of Art Nouveau. Gaudi died before completing his final building, the Sagrada Familia. The cathedral, rife with religious symbolism, is a mess of mesmerizing, spindly towers with a geometric interior and a sculpted, frothy facade (Salvador Dali once referred to the Sagrada Familia as "very creative bad taste").
Gaudi's fanciful creations add a bright and modern element to Barcelona's historic architectural landscape, which also includes ancient sites like Roman ruins, Gothic cathedrals and Neoclassical squares. Take a trip back to the Dark Ages with a visit to Sant Pau del Camp, a 10th-century cathedral that is the oldest church in Barcelona. Find medieval architecture and Roman ruins in the Barri Gothic, a Gothic quarter in the Old City. Or visit Barcelona's largest square, Placa d'Espanya, to see Moorish Revival and contemporary architectural styles.