The 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition (in Catalan: Exposició Universal de BarcelonaandExposición Universal de Barcelona in Spanish) was Spain's first International World's Fair1 and ran from 8 April to 9 December 1888.2 It was also the first of the two held in Barcelona (the second one being in 1929).
<img src="Arc_de_Triomf_Barcelona.jpg" title="The Arc de Triomf in Barcelona" width="220" alt="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 over3 the planning of the project. The fair was hosted on the reconstructed site of the city's main public park, the Parc de la Ciutadella, with Vilaseca's Arc de Triomf forming the entrance.4 More than 2 million people from Spain, the rest of Europe, and other international points of embarkation visited the exhibition,5 which made the equivalent of 1,737,000 United States dollars.6 The fair was opened by Alfonso XIII of Spain and Maria Christina of Austria.7 Twenty-seven countries participated, including China, Japan and the United States.8
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.9 The artistic director was Tomàs Moragas.10
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).
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.
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