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Església de Betlem
Església de Betlem Review
The Church of Bethlehem is one of Barcelona's few baroque buildings, and hulks stodgily on the Rambla just above the Rambla de les Flors. Burned out completely at the start of the Spanish civil war in 1936, the church lacks opulence once inside, whereas the outside, spruced up, is made of what looks like quilted stone. If you find this one of the world's more unsightly churches, worry not: you're in the company of all of Barcelona with the possible exception of Betlem's parishioners. This was where Viceroy Amat claimed the hand of the young Virreina-to-be when in 1780 she was left in the lurch by the viceroy's nephew. In a sense, Betlem has compensated the city with the half-century of good works the young widow was able to accomplish with her husband's fortune. The Nativity scenes on display down the stairs at the side entrance on the Rambla at Christmastime are an old tradition here, allegedly begun by St. Francis of Assisi, who assembled the world's first in Barcelona in the early 13th century.
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