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Barcelona set to celebrate its 'appointment with GaudÝ'

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The Spanish Tourist Office has announced plans to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Catalan architect Antoni GaudÝ with a year of events in Barcelona.

The city, which unveiled its plans at a lunch at the RIBA last week, has declared 2002 as International GaudÝ Year in honour of the architect most associated with the city, through projects such as Parc G³ell and the Sagrada Familia.

More than 20 exhibitions have been programmed, from biographical to architectural shows, while the city has also organised a tour bus which will take visitors to all of GaudÝ's local buildings; and there will even be an opera and cartoon series, one of which will be from the executive producer of The Simpsons.

The organisers are confident that the year - slogan: 'An appointment with GaudÝ' - will be a success, and are undaunted by the downward turn in the tourist industry following the events of September 11. The city aims to provide 15,000 more hotel beds within four years, to add to the 32,000 there already, and has signed up deals with mobile telephone companies to allow the public to learn about GaudÝ's buildings through their handsets.

The celebration has also led to some buildings being opened especially for the occasion, and the restoration of the architect's work outside Barcelona, including the industrial premises of the La Obrera Mataronense cooperative in Mataro and the crypt of the Colonia Guell church in Santa Coloma de Cervello.

Extra information on the year of events is available at www. gaudi2002. bcn. es

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