Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe and the museum of FC Barcelona

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

More than a club is the slogan written on the seats of Nou Camp. And while club sympathies may be opened to discussions, everyone can agree that this is no ordinary football stadium. It is just a few hundred seats from being able to accommodate 100.000 spectators, which makes it the largest stadium in Europe. Amazingly, it is almost full on every match, with an average audience of overt 80.000 people, which again places Barcelona on the first place in Europe.

There are few stadiums in the world that are larger than this one, mainly American football stadiums built in the US. The largest is the one in Pyongyang, sometimes used for football, but famous for the propaganda shows that honor the communist dictator of North Korea. 150.000 people can watch the games there. Besides the 5 American stadiums that surpass Camp Nou in size, there are just 6 other stadiums (used for European football and other sports), larger than the Spanish arena. They are found in North Korea, India, Mexico, Australia, Malaysia and Iran.

Barcelona has several teams for different sports, from hokey to basketball, so near the stadium there is also a large indoor hall. But the treasure of the club is housed behind the VIP stands. There there are the rooms that expose the trophies won by Barcelona, from national titles, cups, to Champions League and practically all kinds of trophies a football club can win. Though the arch rival Real Madrid is the most successful club in the history of the world, Barcelona has stolen the show in the recent years, managing even a record 6 trophies in a single year (2009).

When entering the museum, you go through a tunnel bridge that connects the ticket booths with the first level of the stadium. You are entering thus in the “Barcelona experience”. In the trophy room there are also lots of memorabilia, like the first t-shirt worn by the players in 1909, boots of the legendary players that served the club in its over a century of history and documents. Throughout the corridors there are numerous video walls, some allowing interaction, from which you can learn more about key moments in club’s history.

The tour gets you from the first level of the stands, to the pitch level, where you can actually see not only the turf, but also the bench. Then you climb at the highest level, to get a glimpse of the view journalists get from their glass booths. It is the most spectacular view, since the balcony seems to be standing right above the field, with perfect visibility.

Other interesting stops are the locker room area, with massage tables, lockers and jacuzzi, or the place reserved for the official interviews, with the sponsors’ logos behind. When you go down the steps of the tunnel, chanting fans can be heard in the speakers, giving you a bit of the overwhelming feeling a player gets when entering this gigantic stadium for a game. There are also two photo studios where you can have your picture taken, either with a replica of the Champions League trophy, or in a retouched photo with some of the stars of the team, like Lionel Messi.
The two levels official store of the club is also the place where you will find not only shirts, equipment, balls and boots, but all sorts of souvenirs with the Catalan club logo.

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