Palau Robert (Robert Palace) was built in the early 20th century as a private residence for Robert Roberti Surís, marquis of Robert, an influential Catalan aristocrat, financer and politician.
The building is currently the propriety of the Generalitat de Catalunya (the Catalan government) and consists of three exhibition rooms, an area for concerts, the Catalonia Information Centre, a city tourism office, a bookstore and some gardens open to the public.
The building is an example of neoclassical architecture, with a rectangular basis which surrounds an inner patio with a skylight. Its classical style is far from the Modernism of that time.
The garden was designed by the local gardener Ramon Oliva, who later also designed the ones in Plaça Catalunya. The numerous palm trees come from the Universal Exposition of Barcelona in 1888.
Nearby the Obelisk can be found, built in the mid- 1930s as a monument dedicated to the Second Spanish Republic. In that time, it was crowned by a nude woman figure, with one arm raised brandishing a laurel bouquet, the symbol of the Republic.
It was inaugurated in 1936, but three years later – with the victory of Franco’s side – the local council removed the symbolic sculpture and replaced it with an imperial eagle, a fascist symbol, although this too was later to be removed from public viewing. As such, “el Llapis” is nowadays a nude obelisk in the shape of a huge pencil.
With the obelisk as a reference, some few streets above there the club “Martins”, one of the first gay club in the 80’s, opened with the biggest dark room in the city; two years ago it closed and its reopening is a matter of interest.
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