Built in the latter half of the 19th century to accommodate the population overflow from the Cuitat Vella, Eixamples neat grid of intersecting quadrangular blocks makes a striking contrast with the labyrinthine old town. This fashionable and up-market district extends northwards from the central Plaa de Catalunya and is a living monument to the flamboyant Moderniste (Art Nouveau) architectural style which has become Barcelonas trademark. Here beats the thriving business and commercial heart of Barcelona, with a high density of professional offices, as well as art galleries, bars, restaurants and shops of all descriptions, from chain-stores and boutiques to uniquely Catalan speciality shops. Along with the Cuitat Vella, Eixample also has the highest concentration of cinemas and theatres in Barcelona. The elegant tree-lined boulevard of Passeig de Grcia divides the quarter into Eixample Dret (right) and Eixample Esquerra (left). Cut across by wide streets like Avenue Diagonal and Gran Via Corts Catalans and dotted with small parks, the area is also extremely well served by underground and bus services. For the hardened motorist, however, there is a limited amount of metered parking space. Eixample Dret has the largest concentration of Moderniste buildings in Barcelona, including several by Antoni Gaudi: La Pedrera, Casa Batll, and the church of La Sagrada Familia, Gaudis unfinished masterpiece, and the citys most visited monument. The late-late nightlife with trendy clubs and bars that stay open till 6.00 and the growing gay population give this part of Barcelona a round-the-clock buzz.
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