Monuments and monumental architecture are established vehicles for communicating capital city status. The need to reduce complex cities into simplified images also means they can be very effective destination marketing tools. This paper assesses the relationship between monuments, capital city status and tourism marketing. Monumental developments in Barcelona during two periods; 1888-1929 and 1982-present are used to explore this relationship. Barcelona provides an interesting example, because of the city’s attempts to reassert its historic status as the capital of Catalunya and of the SW Mediterranean. Despite some noted variances in the scope of, and rationale for, monumentality, the paper concludes that in both eras, attempts to monumentalise the city has assisted political and tourism ambitions. Operational implications are also identified.