In 1946 Catalan sculptor and collector Frederic Marès donated his extensive collection to the city of Barcelona. This event laid the foundation to what, in my opinion, has become one of the most impressing and idiosyncratic museums of Barcelona. The Frederic Mares Museum.

The museum, which now bears the name of Marès, is located literally next door to the Barcelona Cathedral and is surprisingly tranquil and peaceful. The collection is divided in two parts. One of the parts, a so called Collector’s Cabinet, displays thousands of household items, such as pipes, toys, fans, weapons, dishes – you name it, they’ve got it! – representing the customs and lifestyle of the 19th century. But it is the second part of the collection, bringing together an overwhelming number of polychrome wooden sculptures ranging from the ancient times until 19th century with predominating religious thematic, that is truly unique. Regardless of your religious beliefs (or the absence of such for that matters), you can still take a great pleasure in the beauty and the remarkable expressiveness of the masterpieces by the long-deceased artists and craftsmen. Every sculpture will have its unique inimitable face. Each Jesus, with the fragile slab-sided body eaten by wood lice, will tell you his own story. It might be the story of the great sacrifice. But it might also be the story of the dazzling ability of a man to transform the tales and a chunk of wood into an object of art that will speak to us through the centuries.

If this is still not enough to convince you to spare two of your precious holiday hours to see the collection, drop by at least to have a cup of coffee in the shades of the orange trees in the patio of the museum. You will thank me later.


Film scholar and a tango fanatic, I was born in 1983 in the gloomy cold place called Estonia. I first visited Barcelona three years ago. The colors, the sounds, the smells, and the inimitable vibe of the city – it did not take long for Barcelona to put its spell on me! ‘This is a city I want to live in’, a thought kept spinning through my head while I was jostling through the endless flow of crowd at La Rambla. So now its your turn! Do yourself a favor, get on a plane/train/bus/car and let this city do its magics!