SEP 17,2016 - SEP 17,2016 (1 DAYS)
Barcelona - Barri Gòtic.
Tip 1: from La Rambla to Plaça del Rei.
Main Attractions of Tip 1 only: Placa de la Boqueria, Casa Bruno Cuadros, Sinagoga Major de Barcelona, Plaça Sant Jaume, Palau de la Generalitat, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Plaça de Sant Miquel, Plaça de Sant Just, Basilica dels Sants Just i Pastor, MUHBA Temple d'August, Plaça del Rei, Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA).
Tip 2: from Plaça del Rei and Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA) to Plaça Nova.
Main Attractions of Tip 2: Museu Frederic Marès, Cathedral of Barcelona (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia), Pont del Bisbe, Casa de l'Ardiaca, Plaça Nova.
Tip 3: from Plaça del Pi to Plaza de San Felipe Neri.
Main Attractions of Tip 3: Plaça del Pi, Plaza de San Felipe Neri.
Start: Liceu Metro station, La Rambla. End: La Rambla - Liceu Metro station. Duration: 1 day. Distance: 7-9 km.
Introduction: Do not miss the Barrio Gotico (Barri Gotic) With its iconic, old-Europe streets and alleys, this picturesque neighborhood is the very heart of Barcelona. It blends historic artifacts from its days under Roman dominion up through the Spanish Civil War with a vibrant modern-day culture of artisan shops and authentic culinary experiences. Avid explorers will be thrilled to discover quaint terraces and plazas
brought to life by the many small bars and local musicians lasting late into the night.The Barrio Gotico (Gotic Quarter) resides between La Rambla, Plaça Sant Jaume and the Barcelona Cathedral.
From the Liceu Metro station - we cross the Rambla avenue from west to east and walk a bit northward to connect with Placa de la Boqueria. The term Rambla used for this avenue, is due to Arabic, that means seasonal river. It is well tree-lined avenue with some kiosks selling handicrafts, with dining tables, with two parallel streets, which run from Placa Catalunya to the old port of Barcelona. Pla de la Boqueria is a bit north and adjacent to the mosaic by Joan Miró (created around 1976) in the Pla de l’Os. Placa de la Boqueria has many flower stalls. Note the impressive sculpture into one of the square's walls:
The Casa Bruno Cuadros or the Casa dels Paraigües (House of Umbrellas) stands in the beginning of Carrer de la Boqueria (on your left). Just make sure you look upwards at the buildings as you're walking in the la Boqueria square on the other side of Mercado La Boqueria. You might miss it without realizing it. It was 1883 when the architect Josep Vilaseca undertook the refurbishment of the Casa Bruno Cuadros and the umbrella shop on the ground floor. It was just a few years before the 1888 Universal Exhibition and Barcelona was in an hype of expansion, with interesting buildings being built all over the city. The Catalan home-grown art-nouveau movement, Modernista, was gaining momentum and, with it, the tendecy for oriental and exotic decorations. The Casa Bruno Cuadros of Barcelona, known by locals as the Casa dels Paraigües (House of Umbrellas) is an example. The Casa Bruno Cuadros’s most opulent decorative element is the ornate Chinese dragon on the corner of the façade. It was used to advertise the shop, together with the umbrella below it. The building was refurbished in 1980, and the BBVA bank has, now, its premises in the stunning umbrellas shop of Barcelona.
Josep Vilaseca combined the former style of Modernista with more types of architectural elements inspired by other cultures into an eclectic building which amazes everyone who walks along La Rambla. The Casa Bruno Cuadros’s balconies and the top-floor gallery are replete with Egyptian imagery. The façade features elaborate stained-glass windows as well as reliefs of umbrellas and fans made of cast-iron. Oriental motifs (people taken from Japanese prints) and enameled glasses decorate the outer walls.
Art Deco dragon at the Placa de la Boqueria:
We walk along Carrer de la Boqueria, for the whole road, from west to east. The road slights, a bit, left (to Carrer dels Banys Nous), and continues (immediately, RIGHT) as Carrer del Call. We enter labyrinth narrow streets in el Call - the Jewish Quarter. From Calle del Call turn left onto Calle de Arc de Sant Ramon del Call, 35 m. In this narrow road you can can find many places of interest like the Centred Interpretació the Call (Arc de Sant Ramon). This place is in the House called the Alchemist - a very old building of 14th century. On your right, immediately as you enter this road - Hotel call. The Momo bar/restaurant is in Carrer de l'Arc de Sant Ramon del Call, 6. Japan's number one outlet in Barcelona. Authentic Japanese restaurant.
Calle de Arc de Sant Ramon del Call - on the right: Centro de Interpretación del Call (MUHBA):
Turn right to Carrer de Marlet and after 30 m. you see the Sinagoga Major de Barcelona, Carrer de Marlet, 5 on your left.
Few people know however is that Barcelona is in fact home to a fascinating Jewish history, the echoes of which can still be found today in the fascinating quarter of El Call in Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic. It is said that Jewish people had lived in the region from as early as the Roman period and their culture had flourished up until the dawn of the horrendous Spanish Inquisition in 1391. They had resided in what was known as El Call (probably from the Hebrew ‘Kahal’ or ‘Kehilla’ meaning community), an area of the Barri Gòtic (Barrio Gotico). However, on August the 5th 1391 came the infamous massacre of the Jews in Barcelona causing, apart from the obvious huge loss of life, a vast fleeing from the city or at best the conversion to the Christian faith. Jewish public life virtually disappeared for hundreds of years. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Jewish people started returning to the Catalan capital.
Perhaps the most interesting thing of all is the history of the Sinagoga Major de Barcelona – the city’s once principal synagogue, located on Carrer de Marlet 5, (or at number 7, Sant Domènec del Call street), right in the heart of the old Jewish neighborhood. inside the block lying between the streets Sant Domènec, Marlet and Arc de Sant Ramon del Call and the current Manuel Ribé square. It had tree access doors: via Marlet street,
via an alley which has since disappeared which left number 8 of Arc de Sant Ramon del Call street and the entrance at number 9 of Sant Domènec street. At the start of the street there was the entrance portal, the doorkeeper´s house and the Jewish butcher's which, although not an institution, it was the place where kosher meat was sold. With Roman foundations, the building is thought to have existed in some shape or form since the 5th century, and along with Rome’s Ostia synagogue is said to be one of the oldest in Europe. It has been described as one of the oldest synagogues in Europe. After many centuries of use for other purposes, the building re-opened as a synagogue and museum in year 2002. It is used ONLY during festive occasions. Archaeological excavations show that the original structure of the building was built in the third or fourth century; whether this structure was the synagogue is uncertain. The building was expanded during the 13th century. Medieval Barcelona is known to have had several synagogues, and the main synagogue was certainly in the immediate area. King Jaume I visited the synagogue in year 1263. Shlomo ben Aderet served as the Rabbi of the Barcelona Sinagoga Major for 50 years.
Ancient Hebrew street signs and engravings, secret Jewish baths and ancient Jewish ruins are hidden beneath and under existing cafés and shops in El Call. As we said before - the Sinagoga Major was restored and finally opened to the public in 2002. This captivating building is well worth the visit and the entrance is, especially, fascinating: a small door leading down flights of stairs to the original street level of the Roman foundations. In the left room of the synagogue you’ll notice two large windows. These windows face to the east, to the city of Jerusalem.
The building also has other interesting curiosities such as displays of Jewish items revealing a great deal about the culture and society of the community. Today no regular services are held in the synagogue however special ceremonies do occasionally take place. Tours of the building are available in both English and Hebrew. Opening hours: Summer: MON – FRI: 10.30 – 18.30, SAT - SUN: 10.30 – 14.30. Winter: MON – FRI: 11.00 – 18.00, SAT - SUN: 11.00 – 15.00.
The Menorah in the ancient Sinagoga Major:
Walk until the most northern end of Marlet street and turn right to Carrer de Sant Domènec del Call:
Do not miss the the Tinglado tapas bar in Carrer Sant Domenec Del Call, 10. This is a tiny, very low key restaurant in a lane way that you could easily walk past and miss - but don't. Very special experience and tastes - very high quality tapas with chocolate candies, salads , cakes etc'. If you do not like them, you do not have to pay for. English-speaking owner. Reasonable prices. Sweet and polite (not pushy) service.
From Carrer Sant Domenec Del Call - turn LEFT back to Carrer del Call. Walk north-east along Carrer del Call until you arrive to Plaça Sant Jaume. We shall return to Plaça Sant Jaume, but, at the moment, turn left to Carrer de Sant Honorat. This road was the epic centre of the rich Jewish community in Barcelona. On your right, in this road, is the Gothic, robust and austere facade of the Catalan Generalitat. It corresponds to the old houses of great Jewish families who left Barcelona when the Call was abolished in 1401 . At that time, the Jewish houses were confiscated and passed to private hands or public institutions. In the 17th century , the Generalitat palace was expanded under the direction of Pere Pau Ferrer, as we see it today.
In Calle Sant Honorat, 9 you see the first Catalan school opened in Catalonia:
We return southward to Plaça Sant Jaume. This is the administrative heart of both Barcelona the city and surrounding Catalonia. it derives its reputation and importance due the Palau de la Generalitat (Palace of the Generalitat) of Catalonia and the City Hall (Ayuntamento) which are located here across from one another. This square was the centre of the Roman city of Barcino. At this junction there were the forum and the Temple of Augustus, of which four columns are preserved on top of Mont Tàbor and found at the adjacent Paradís Street. The Square takes its modern name from the church of Church of Sant Jaume, The old church was demolished in 1823 when Ferran Street was being built. Its demolition also allowed for the Sant Jaume square to be rebuilt as it exists today. Prior to these demolitions, the square was limited to a small angular space, with the rest of the future plaza being occupied by the old church, its cemetery, and the houses of the Magistracy and the General Court of the Veguer. Here, in this square converged, the Cardus (now Carrer de la Llibreteria and Carrer Call), and the Decumanus (now Carrer Ciutat and Carrer del Bisbe) in the Roman era. This square has been witness to some of the most important events in recent Catalan history, such as the proclamation of the Catalan State in 1931 or the return of Josep Tarradelles from exile in 1977. On Sunday mornings, people come to dance the Sardana, the national dance of Catalonia. It is a very Catalan event and worth watching by foreigners and tourists (see Tip 2).
The Palau de la Generalitat was built to provide a permanent seat for the Corts Catalanes, the Catalan Assembly set up in 1283 which is referred to as "the first parliament in Europe". The Palau de la Generalitat is one the most historically rich places in Barcelona. It is bounded by the Carrer del Bisbe, Carrer de Sant Sever and Carrer de Sant Honorat. As the name indicates, it is home to the offices of the Generalitat of Spain and houses governmental institutions. The building was built during the medieval era which makes it one of the very few structures in all of Europe from that time period. The building and its façade were designed by Pere Blai in 1596. This façade faces the Placa de Sant Jaume and is unique in the fact that it is perhaps the only façade built based on this style in all of Barcelona. The Catalan parliament was abolished in 1714, when the city fell to Philip V's army, but it was reinstated in the 20th century during the Second Republic, only to be suppressed again by General Franco after he won the Civil War in 1939. In 1977, two years after Franco's death, Spain was moving towards democracy and the former President of the Generalitat de Catalunya Josep Tarradellas returned from exile to Barcelona and uttered the historic words: "Catalans, I am here!". He spoke from the main balcony of the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, in front of Andreu Aleu's sculpture of Saint George (1860). The gallery floor, and the inner courtyard, inside, are very beautiful. Inside the building there is a superb Gothic cloister, with a staircase designed by Marc Safont, who also created the façade on Carrer del Bisbe (the former main entrance) and the beautiful chapel on the first floor, built in the flamboyant Gothic style:
Upon prior arrangement (http://www.catalangovernment.eu/pres_gov/government/en/president/palau-generalitat/visites.html), the Palau de la Generalitat can be visited on the second and fourth weekend of every month (excluding August). Each guided visit is free, lasts approximately one hour and should be prearranged by filling out the application form below. Saint George's Day (23 April), La Mercè (24 September) and the National Day of Catalonia (11 September) are all open days at the Palau de la Generalitat. No appointment is necessary. On these dates - admission is FREE.
Opposite the Generalitat Palace stands Ajuntament de Barcelona or Barcelona City Hall or Casa de la Ciutat. The neoclassical façade was, designed by Pere Llobet and built in the 14th century. There is a tourist information office on the ground floor of the building:
South to Plaça Sant Jaume resides Plaça de Sant Miquel. A nice square with modern, attractive sculptures. The most impressive sculpture is Antoni Llena’s chicken wire tribute to "Castellers" - the human beings' tower building in festivities of Catalonia. This unusual 26.5m high stainless steel tower by Antoni Llena i Font was unveiled in 2012 during the Feast of Santa Eulalia. It is titled "Homenatge als Castellers". In the real human towers the lower layers are formed by men, the middle layers by women and teenagers and the upper levels by children. The unattached part(s) at the top of the sculpture bring to mind the outstretched arm of the "Enxaneta" or small child who tops the tower:
From Plaça de Sant Miquel head northwest, 20 m. Turn right toward Placa de Sant Jaume, 40 m. Turn right onto the square further for 45 m.
Turn right 35 m. Turn left, 70 m. We arrive to Plaça de Sant Just. Placa Sant Just lies deep in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. It was once the burial place of the first local Christian martyrs. Back in the Middle Ages it was the only place of Barcelona where Jews and Christians were allowed to trade legally together. A testament to that period is the 14th century fountain (Font de San Just) said to be the oldest water source in the city. Made of Montjuïc stone, it was carved in 1367 (BUT it is now a 19th century version). The fountain is bearing an image of St. Justo along with a pair of falcons and the kings’ coat of arms. Freshen up your face or fill a water bottle for a free clean drink:
The 13th-century church on the plaza, the Basilica dels Sants Just i Pastor is an ancient church, perhaps one of the oldest in the city of Barcelona. It stands on the site of the original 4th-century Christian basilica in Barcino (Roman Barcelona), and the predecessor to this Gothic church functioned as the seat of the archbishop until the city’s cathedral was constructed. The Church of the Martyred Saints Just & Pastor is said to contain remains of the two martyrs: Saint Justo and Pastor who lost their lives in the fourth century. Looking from the outside it is hard to imagine that a major part of the church represents the original Visigothic style of art and architecture and that later modifications were done on the structure. This plain stone edifice was ever used for anything as grand as a cathedral. Back in the eleventh century, this particular church was a cathedral during the time that the Romanesque cathedral was under construction:
The church boasts Gothic architecture. Some of the relics that once belonged to these two saints have been preserved in a chest and are present in this church. The entrance to the church is grand and there is a courtyard present at the left side. Looking up from the wooden benches, the magnificent stained glass windows come into sight. Walk forward and you'll find yourself in a chapel adorned with statues and chandeliers. If hungry and wish to soak up the atmosphere of the square, have a dinner outside at the famous Café de l'Academia:
From Plaça de Sant Just we zigzag towards MUHBA Temple d'August. Head southwest for 30 m. Turn right toward Plaza de San Jaime, 40 m. Now, turn left toward Plaza de San Jaime, 35 m. Turn right onto Plaza de San Jaime, 50 m, turn right 40 m and you'll see the sign of Temple Roma d'August, Carrer del Paradís,10. Temple d'August or the temple of Augustus was built during the Roman Imperial period as a temple for the Emperor Augustus. The Temple d’August is believed to have been constructed under Tiberius. The temple originally had 11 columns on every wing, one on each corner, 6 at the front and 6 on the posterior side. The original temple was destroyed at some point in history and archeologists failed to recover the remains till the 19th century. It was then that initially 3 columns of the temple, followed by the fourth one were found and are visible today near the Placa del Rei (see below) and the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya. Entry is FREE, and it's usually quite peaceful unless a passing tour pops in. Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 19.00, SUN: 10.00 - 20.00. MON: 10.00 - 14.00:
110 m. further north is the Plaza del Rey. From the Temple of Augustus we head northwest, 30 m. Turn right toward Plaza del Rey, 65 m. Turn a bit to the left and on your right is the Plaça del Rei ("King's Square"). The royal palace, the Palau Reial Major, and its surrounding buildings, enclose a noble, harmonious and peaceful square. No shops and no bars. This small square is just about history and architecture.
The imposing royal building that we see in front of us (north side of the square) is the Palau Reial Major. The palace was the residence of the Catalan counts from the 13th to the early 15th centuries, and the history of the building can be traced back even to the Barcelona of the 11th century. Its current appearance is the result of alterations carried out in the 13th century. The building is Gothic in style, but the base of the building features Visigothic and Romanesque elements. It is equipped with the watchtower of King (Rei or Rey) Martí on one side. Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 19.00, SUN: 10.00 - 20.00. Closed: Mondays. Prices: General: €7, Concessions: €5, Children: FREE. Free admission on the first Sunday of the month, and every Sunday from 15.00.
Palau Reial Major (centre of the picture):
Inside, the Great Hall, or Saló del Tinell, with its round arches, is the most representative and beautiful room in the Palau Reial Major:
On one side of the building (with your face tothe Royal Palace - on the right), on top of the old Roman wall of Barcelona. Santa Agata chapel is also known as the Royal Chapel. It was built in 1302 by order of Jaime II and his wife Blanca D'Anjou. Opening hours: TUE - SAT:10.00 - 19.00, WED: 10.00 - 20.00. Closed: Mondays. Prices: General: €7, Concessions: €5, Groups: €5, Children: FREE:
Inside, the Agatha chapel houses the 15th century reredos of the High Constable, by Jaume Huguet, one of the landmarks in Catalan painting. A staircase that leads to the sixteenth century tower by Martín el Humano is accessed from a small room to the right of the altar:
The building opposite is the 16th-century Palau del Lloctinent, or Lieutenant's Palace, which has a beautiful Renaissance courtyard. The Palau (palace) was built in the 1550s as the residence of the Spanish Lloctinent (viceroy) of Catalonia and later converted into a convent. From 1853 it housed the Arxiu de la Corona d’Aragón, a unique archive with documents detailing the history of the Crown of Aragón and Catalonia, starting in the 12th century and reaching to the 21st. Entrance from Carrer dels Comtes de Barcelona 2:
From Placa del Rei walk eastward 30 m. along Carrer del Veguer to enter the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA). Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 19.00, SUN: 10.00 - 20.00. Closed: Mondays. Price: 7 euros. FREE admission every first Wednesday of the month. DO NOT MISS THIS MUSEUM. Beautifully presented Roman and early Christian excavations. Excellent voice commentary and clear directions. Most of the museum exhibitions are underground. You actually go below the streets of medieval Barcelona to see the older Roman city of Barcino. You will be blown away by the Roman archeological ruins which are very interesting and have good explanations. You follow a walk way through the Roman ruins listening to an audio guide and It is really fascinating. The Roman ruins are displayed In the basement of the museum You walk on top of the foundations and view them through a plexi-glass floor. Note: during the summer months the temperature downstairs in the MUHBA halls can be a bit too high. Expect the aircon system there to solve this problem entirely.
After entering the Museu d'Historia de Barcelona - MUHBA we shall walk around (eastward) its walls. Head southeast on Plaça del Rei toward Baixada de Santa Clara, 20 m. Continue onto Carrer del Veguer, 60 m. Continue onto Carrer de les Trompetes de Jaume I, 25 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Jaume I, 35 m. Continue straight onto Plaça de l'Àngel, 20 m. From Plaça de l'Àngel - you can see the eastern wall of the Palau Reial Major:
Head BACK southwest on Plaça de l'Àngel toward Carrer del Sots - Tinent Navarro, 20 m. Turn right to stay on plaça de l'Àngel, 25 m. Turn left onto Baixada de la Llibreteria, 60 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Freneria
20 m and walk until you arrive to Plaça De Sant Iu and see, again, the towering Cathedral of Barcelona:
From Plaça De Sant Iu - there is an entrance to Museu Frederic Mares (see Tip 2 below). We skip to Tip 2 - continuing our itinerary in the Barri Gotic. Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA).
Tip 2: from Plaça del Rei and Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA) to Plaça Nova.
Main Attractions: Museu Frederic Marès, Cathedral of Barcelona (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia), Pont del Bisbe, Casa de l'Ardiaca, Plaça Nova.
Our last stop in the daily itinerary in Barri Gotic of Barcelona was the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA). We change direction and move westward towards the Barcelona Cathedral - but, we stop also in the Museu Frederic Mares in Placa Sant Lu. Head south on Carrer dels Brocaters toward Carrer de Segòvia,25 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Freneria, 35 m. Continue onto Carrer dels Comtes for 56 m. to see the entrance to Museu Frederic Marès, Plaça Sant Iu, 5. The Museu Frederic Marès in Barcelona, as the name suggests, is dedicated to showcasing the collections of its founder - Frederic Mares. He was born in 1893 and died in 1991 and obsessively collected statues and valuable atefacts of Spanish and Latin arts from the 12th to the 19th centuries. Marès donated his extensive collection and helped establish this museum in the Catalan capital until the project reached its completion in 1946. Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 19.00, SUN: 11.00 - 20.00. Prices: adult - €4.20, concessions - 2.40, child - FREE. After 15.00 every Sunday and on the 1st SUN of every month: FREE.
The original entrance courtyard garden has been preserved in its original form ! The shady courtyard houses a pleasant summer cafe (Cafè de l’Estiu):
The museum is housed in a former palace of the Inquisition and, later, a royal palace of the counts of Barcelona:
Marès gave a whole new meaning and form to the conventional concept of sculpture. As a collector, he gathered a priceless variety of Hispanic sculptures throughout his life. Pieces from the ancient world to those dated the 19th century can be seen in this collection, along with the numerous religious polychrome carvings widely displayed in the museum. NOTE: the main theme is this museum or collection is RELIGIOUS CHRISTIANITY and SACRED ART. It might be, sometimes, overwhelming some visitors !
In the basement of the museum can be found mainly sculptures of the 3rd and 4 Century, a collection of crucifixes and statues of the Virgin Mary from the Romance and Gothic and other religious artifacts.
On the first floor will continue this collection of works from the Baroque and the Renaissance.
Among the most eye-catching pieces is a reconstructed Romanesque doorway with four arches, taken from a 13th-century country church in the Aragonese province of Huesca.
You'll also find the room of Museu Sentinel, which displays objects from the bourgeois life in Barcelona in the last two centuries: handicrafts, fans, scissors, glasses, canes etc. The room is divided into two areas: goods of women of the 19th Century and the part of men: smoking pipes, handkerchiefs, playing cards and other toys and gadgets of 19th century men in Barcelona.
When you exit Museu Frederic Marès raise your head to see the bell tower of Barcelona Cathedral - our next destination:
From Museu Frederic Marès we head northwest across Placita de la Seu, 55 m.
Turn left to stay on Placita de la Seu, 20 m. On your right is the Cathedral of Barcelona (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia), Placita de la Seu. The commonly used name La Seu refers to the status of the church as the seat of the diocese.
The Cathedral is dedicated to Santa Eulàlia martyr, the patron saint of Barcelona. She was tortured to death in the late Roman period. The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral's crypt under the high altar. Her feast day is always celebrated on the 12th February. The cathedral was constructed from the 13th to 15th centuries, with the principal work done in the 14th century. The Cathedral is huge with impressive dimensions (about 90 meters high and about 40 wide). FREE entry Weekdays and Saturdays from 8.00 to 12.45 and from 17.15 to 19.30. Sundays and holidays FREE entry is from 8.00 to 13.45 and from 17.15 to 19.30. Prices: Visit the choir: Single: €2,80 per person Groups: €2,50 per person. Visit the rooftops: Single: €3,00 per person Groups: €2,50 per person. Otherwise you have to pay €7 to get in. You can't go in with super short shorts/skirt or bare shoulders. Be advised though, especially for women !!! Beware of pickpockets !
Note the neo-Gothic façade:
During the summer months - expect to queue up for, at least, half an hour - to enter (FREE) the Cathedral:
Breathtaking interiors. This cathedral is comforting, safe and yet majestic and impressive at the same time. The interior of the cathedral is particularly impressive in the light of dusk. There are many chapels around the periphery (28 of them if not wrong...). The high altar is raised, allowing a clear view into the crypt. High ceilings are one of the most stunning aspects of the interior of the Cathedral:
The interior consists of an imposing nave lit by large windows dating from the 15th century. The nave is flanked by aisles, with 28 side chapels:
The Cathedral's organ is of great artistic, liturgical and historical importance. It is inside the nave, under the bell tower, in the upper gallery over the door of Saint Ivo. It was built between 1537 and 1539 and the windchest covers are decorated with grisailles by Pedro Pablo Serafín "the Greek":
If you would like to pray in the cathedral, you can do so in peace and undisturbed view of tourists in the first side chapel (Holy Sacrament and of the Holy Christ of Lepanto) on the right side of the main entrance. This chapel is also the largest chapel in the cathedral. It contains a cross said to date from the time of the Battle of Lepanto (1571). It was constructed by Arnau Bargués in 1407, as the chapter house. It was rebuilt in the seventeenth century to house the tomb of San Olegarius, Bishop of Barcelona and Archbishop of Tarragona:
Icons in the Cathedral:
The cathedral contains the tombs of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Count Ramon Berenguer I and his third wife Almodis de la Marche, and Bishops Berenguer de Palou II, Salvador Casañas y Pagés, and Arnau de Gurb, who is buried in the Chapel of Santa Llúcia, which he had constructed. The two gravestones of the founders of the Cathedral Ramon Berenguer and his spouse Almodia are on the left hand side, right before the entrance of the cloister.
Crypt and Tomb of Saint Eulalia:
Tomb of Saint Raymond of Peñafort:
Cloister of the Cathedral: The cloister, which encloses the Well of the Geese (Font de les Oques) was completed in 1448. Be sure to look at the Cloister with small chapels, gardens, fountains and group of 13 white geese walking around. There are 13 geese because they are representing Eulalia’s age when she dies in tortures. You can hear the loud cackling of the geese from the church building. The geese used to warn the Cathedral dwellers against intruders and thieves. Especially on hot summer days, the cool cloister is a joy. At the top of the garden's fountain sits a statue of Sant Jordi slaying a dragon:
Cathedral bells tower from the Cloister:
With the elevator you can get to the roof of the cathedral. The elevator is located in the church building on the left side in the Capella de les del Ànimes Purgatori between the nave and the apse. The roof is notable for its gargoyles, featuring a wide range of animals, both domestic and mythical:
The view from the roof should not be missed. Rooftop visit is a must, but be prepared to have to wait for the lift to come back down:
We exit the Cathedral of Barcelona from the main entrance in Placita de la Seu. We walk south on Placita de la Seu towards Calle del Obispo/ C. del Bisbe, 70 m. and turn left onto Calle del Obispo.
On your left is the Carrer de la Pietat:
C. del Bisbe x C. de la Pietat:
After walking 100 m. along Calle del Obisp - we face Pont del Bisbe, Calle del Obispo, 1. Another name of this road is Carrer del Bisbe - meaning ‘Bishop’s street’, where you will find the stunning neo-Gothic bridge known locally as the ‘Pont del Bisbe‘ or ‘Bishop’s Bridge’. The bridge crosses the street uniting buildings on either side: the ‘Casa dels Canonges‘ (Canon’s House) and the ‘Palau de la Generalitat‘ (see above in Tip 1). The bridge was in fact constructed in 1928 by Joan Rubió i Bellver. The architect’s ambition was to construct a series of new buildings inspired by the dominant Gothic style of the area, but his project was not accepted by the government, who only approved the construction of the Bishop’s Bridge. The architect, disappointed with the decision, secretly incorporated a hidden skull with a dagger inside. Legend says anyone who crosses the bridge and sees the skull will fall prey to an evil spell.
Carrer del Bisbe:
RETURN back northward along Carrer del Bisbe (if you keep walking southward - you'll arrive to Placa Sant Jaume again). On your left Placa de Garriga i Bachs with the Monument to the heroes of 1809 in contrast to the predominant Gothic style of the surrounding buildings. It portrays five martyrs who were executed following an attempted uprising against the French troops during the occupation of Barcelona in 1808. The year was 1929 and Josep Llimona was commissioned to create the five bronze elements that surmount the plinth. The sculptures show the people who had been executed at the Citadel. They were accused of attempting to free Barcelona from the French forces of occupation who had made the city their stronghold during the War of the Spanish Succession. The plaque on the plinth bears the name of the insurgents:
We walk NORTHWARD along Carrer del Bisbe.Turn right to Carrer de Santa Llúcia to see the La Casa de l'Ardiaca (Casa del Arcediano) (Archdeacon's House), Calle Santa Llúcia, 1. Here, emerges a piece of the past Roman aqueduct (see below). It houses the city of Barcelona archives. Worth popping in. it is a lovely little courtyard with a nice fountain and palm tree. Not much else to see. Stroll around the supremely serene courtyard, cooled by trees and a fountain. The fountain is the place where the locals celebrate the Corpus Christi day (60 days after Easter Sunday) and the traditional "l'ou com balla" (dancing egg ). Therefore the fountain is decorated with flowers and fruits and an egg is laid under water jet. The current House of L'Ardiaca was built in the 1400s AD by the Archdeacon Lluís Desplà, who converted the traditional 12th-century site of his residence into a Gothic palace. It was renovated by Lluis Domènech i Montaner in 1902, when the building was owned by his sponsor - a rich local lawyer. Domènech i Montaner also designed the postal slot, which is adorned with swallows and a tortoise, said to represent the swiftness of truth and the plodding pace of justice. Opposite this building - Domènech i Montaner added to the Renaissance portal a unique marble-mail box with three swallows , as well as a turtle, work of the sculptor Alfons Juyol. Opening hours:
From SEP-JUN:: MON - FRI: 9.00 - 20.45, SAT: 9.0 - 13.00. JUL - AUG: MON - FRI: 9.00 - 19.3. Prices: FREE entrance:
After passing Carrer de Santa Llúcia on our RIGHT - we arrive to Plaça Nova. The origins of Barcelona's Plaça Nova can be traced back to 1358, when it was the site of the city's hay market. At the time, the locals could still see one of the four gates in the wall to the Roman city. Two circular towers flank the gate that leads into the heart of the Gothic Quarter. These are the result of renovations carried out during the 12th century, although the origins of the towers and wall can be traced back as far as the 1st century BC and, even, the 4th century AD.
Immediately, before we face Plaça Nova, in the end of Carrer del Bisbe - we see on our right the Torres Romanes and a piece of the Aqueducto Romano - a reproduction of a fragment of the Roman aqueduct, built in 1958:
Plaça Nova becomes a market with antique dealers every Thursday and Saturdays from 9.00 to 20.00 (Mercat Gòtic de Antiguitats):
Festivals and Sardanas dances are held here also (Saturdays):
It was a closed square, typically medieval, until the 1940s , when it was opened and extended - taking advantage of the remodeling due to the destruction caused by the bombings of the civil war.
Joan Brossa's Bárcino Visual Poem and the reconstructed Roman Aqueduct:
At number 1-2, the Baroque façade of the Palau del Bisbe (1782-1786), framed by Carrer de la Palla and the right tower of the Roman door, which opens onto Calle del Bisbe; The tower on the left, where there is a niche with the image of Sant Roc in the 16th century and the start of the reconstructed Roman Aqueduct:
If you look across to the other side of the Plaça Nova, you'll see at number 5, the College of Architects (1958-1962), between Carrer dels Arcs and Capellans Street. The building of the Architects' Association (Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Barcelona). The most striking element is the series of friezes around the façade. The most famous one, El Mur dels Arcs (Archs Wall), was designed by Pablo Picasso and produced by the Norwegian Carl Nesjar (1961).
Other ones: the "children's frieze" on the façade overlooking Carrer dels Arcs:
El fris dels Gegants (Giants Frieze) facing Plaça Nova:
and the "frieze of the Catalan flag" (Fris de la Senyera) on the façade overlooking Carrer Capellans (Monks St.).
The Cathedral from Plaça Nova:
In case you decided to complete your day in the Barri Gotico - return to La Rambla, otherwise, continue to the Plaça del Pi (Tip 3)
To return to the La Rambla: From Plaça Nova head westward and walk along Carrer de la Portaferrissa until it meets La Rambla, 330 m. Walk south along La Rambla 300 m. further south to arrive to the Liceu Metro station.
To walk to (350 m. ) to Plaça del Pi: From Plaça Nova continue westward onto Carrer dels Boters, 100 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Pi, 140 m. Continue onto Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 25 m. Turn right to stay on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 10 m. Continue onto Plaça del Pi, 5 m. Skip to Tip 3.
Barcelona - Barri Gòtic.
Tip 3: from Plaça del Pi to Plaza de San Felipe Neri.
Main Attractions of Tip 3: Plaça del Pi, Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi, Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, Plaza de San Felipe Neri, Church of Sant Felip Neri.
How to arrive from La Rambla to Plaça del Pi: From Liceu Metro station (lin3 , the green line) - head northwest on La Rambla toward Pla de la Boqueria, 40 m (see Tip 2). Turn right onto Pla de la Boqueria, 20 m.
Continue onto Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 100 m and continue straight onto Plaça del Pi for further 15 m where Carrer d'en Roca on your left:
The name of Plaça del Pi stems from the pine tree planted in the centre of the square. The “pine” refers to the grove of Mediterranean scrub pines that used to cover this area, which originally spanned the area from the Roman walls to what is now the Ramblas. The local custom is that should be a pine tree planted in the centre of this square. with the time the pine had to be replaced so you won't see the original, of course. The existing one has been planted in 1985 and succeeded numerous ones planted during the history. This is one of the best loved areas for artists and bohemians, located just off the Ramblas. Without the frequent festivities held here - this romantic square is calm, relaxing and one of the best squares for having a breakfast or supper. Food markets (honey, cheeses (including "mato" - local mild cheese), breads, nuts, fruits, vegetables and meats) are held here at certain times. As you walk along the stalls, you're frequently offered free samples:
The square is surrounded by old decorated façades antique shops and old bars and restaurants. Do NOT miss having photos of the surrounding houses' facades:
During Septembre the famous procession of the Gigantes (Giants) is taking place:
The quite small square is dominated by the mighty Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi (14th and 15th centuries) with its huge multicolored rose window. Along with the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral, and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, it is one of the most-visited churches in the city. The meaning is: "St. Mary of the Pine". It is a 14th-century church. The church was built in Catalan Gothic style during 1319 to 1391. it is known that in 987 there existed a church outside the city walls and to the west of Barcelona. This was a small Romanesque church dedicated to the Blessed Lady of the Pine Tree (one of the titles of the Virgin Mary). The church was built between 1319 and 1391. The style of the church was Catalan Gothic. However, in 1936 the church was gutted by a fire deliberately set by anarchists, who wanted to destroy the building. The church was restored following the end of the Civil War. Opening hours: every day: 9.30 - 13.00, 17.00 - 20.30. FREE. We can also find here the house of the Gremio de los Revendedores, which dates from 1685. Opening hours: everyday: 10.00 - 18.00.
The front façade has an incredible large rose window, that is actually a reproduction done on 1940 of the original one that was destroyed in 1936. Over the years, the construction of neighbouring buildings has obscured the ancient walls of the church. Below is the Gothic arch of the main entrance. The tympanum of the main entrance is divided by two small columns into three arched areas. In the central area is a statue of the Virgin and Child, and above this are placed the arms of the city and of the parish.
Outside, we can see a Romanesque portal from a series of sculptures, such as capitals, with figurative ornamentation plant, a remarkable quality, which joined the Gothic doorways and can be dated to the middle of the 12th century:
The bell tower is octagonal in shape, rising to 54 metres. It has six bells, of which the largest is "Antònia", which has a diameter of 1.4 metres and weighs 1,806 kilograms. Construction was started on the bell tower in 1379, under the instructions of the architect, Barthomeu Mas, and was completed in 1461, or thereabouts:
Inside, the church is vast and very dark, making the light from the rose window (particularly in late afternoon) all the more stunning. The floor plan of the church comprises a single nave, almost devoid of ornamentation, made up of seven rectangular sections, each covered with a vaulted ceiling and with side-chapels placed between the supporting pillars. The fire of 1936 destroyed the high altar, the altarpiece, the statues, the choir stalls from 1868 and the organ created in 1808 by Johan de Kyburz:
The high altar is the work of Joaquim de Ros i de Ramis. It was installed in 1967. The statue of Santa Maria del Pi, 3.3 metres high, was created in 1973 by the sculptor Enric Monjo.
The original Baroque choir stalls dated from 1771 and were designed by Josep Mas i Dordal. In 1868 these were replaced by neo-Gothic stalls, which were destroyed in the fire of 1936. In 1986 the previous Baroque stalls were re-instated.
The most notable feature of the architecture however, and which completely dominates the facade, is the gigantic rose window, a full 10 meters in diameter. It was completely restored in 1940 thanks to the efforts of the great Catalan architect Josep Maria Jujol, a pupil of Gaudí. By sheer luck, Jujol and his students had sat down and drawn detailed plans of the window prior to the Civil War. The parish was able to use the plans to reconstruct their lost window directly from an architect’s plans, rather than from photographs or simply a best guess. The original stained-glass windows have not survived:
The oldest of of the other windows that exist now date from 1718. Of these, the window depicting the Adoration of the Magi (above the Door of Avemaria) is the work of Antoni Viladomat. Saint Joseph Oriol, canonized in 1909, who was priest in this parish between 1687 and 1702, is buried in this church in the Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat:
the treasury (Tresor) of the Basilica, which contains a large collection of jewelry Catalan, the permanent historical exhibition, the crypt, the garden and the bell, first opened to the public with views of Barcelona:
The Basilica Garden:
When you enter Santa Maria del Pi, look directly to your right and you will find four giants staring back at you from inside a floor-to-ceiling glass case. These Gegants are wearable puppets. They’re a highlight of parades and Catholic feast days in Barcelona and are known for their traditional dances. The largest giants are the oldest, dating from some time prior to 1601. The man is a Saracen, a medieval Muslim and the woman is a medieval lady. They were temporarily retired in 1780 when King Charles III issued a decree declaring them too grotesque for religious celebrations, but they returned in 1799 for the feast of Corpus Christi after a successful petition on their behalf and a formal pardon. The smaller giants, the petit Gegants, joined in the festivities after the 1780 ban was lifted. They’re dressed as a respectable, upper-class couple and their clothing has often changed with fashion. All four giants were packed in boxes and stored in the bell tower in 1870. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War they were moved to the city’s historical archives and then to the Monastery of Pedralbes in Barcelona north district. There they were spared during the Tragic Week of 1936 when members of the Radical Party destroyed many of Barcelona’s churches and monasteries. After the war the giants were moved back to Santa Maria del Pi and were sadly forgotten about. In 1951 the giants were rediscovered and restored. Nine years later they were back on the streets performing in festivals. In 1985 they were given names to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their rediscovery. The Saracen is now known as Mustafá and the medieval lady Elisenda (to honor Queen Elisenda de Montcada, the foundress of the Monastery of Pedralbes.) The petit Gegants are known as Oriol (for St. José, patron saint of the barrio of Pi) and Laia (a nickname to St. Eulalia, the patroness of Barcelona). Every year close to the end of September Barcelona holds its largest street party, the Barcelona La Mercè Festival. These 4 giants and many others are marching along Barcelona streets - statrting their route in Placa del Pi:
Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol resides 45 m. east to Plaça del Pi. Again, one of the prettiest in the Barri Gòtic. Its bars and cafes attract bohemians and artists and make it a lively place to hang out. It is surrounded by quaint streets, many dotted with appealing cafes, restaurants and shops. The Mercat del Art de la Placa de Sant Josep Oriol is held here. On your way to this square you pass through Placeta del Pi (behind the Basilica). Both are cosy and idyllic areas in Barri Gotic.
From Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol we head northeast on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 10 m. Turn left to stay on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 35 m. Turn right to stay on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 10 m. Slight right onto Carrer de la Palla for 60 m. and you see the Duck Store, Carrer de la Palla, 11 on your left:
From the Duck Store, Carrer de la Palla, 11- head north on Carrer de la Palla toward Carrer dels Banys Nous, 5 m. Sharp RIGHT (east) onto Carrer dels Banys Nous, 45 m. Turn left onto Baixada de Santa Eulàlia, 45 m. Continue onto Carrer de Sant Sever, 30 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Sant Felip Neri, 30 m. Turn left onto Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, 30 m. The narrow, labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter come out into this unexpected spot. A tiny square with a charming little fountain in the middle and overlooked by the Baroque church of Sant Felip Neri. On one side, you can see the buildings that once housed the city's shoemakers' and coppersmiths' guilds, which moved here from their premises on Carrer de la Bòria and Carrer de la Corribia, respectively. The square features a number of historic elements that make it particularly attractive, especially when you view it in silence. During the civil war the convent was used as a home for evacuated children. On the 30th of January 1938 a bomb dropped by Franco’s air force exploded directly in front of the church killing 30 of the children who were sheltering inside. Shortly afterwards, while people were trying to rescue survivors, a second bomb exploded in the square bringing the death toll to 42. A plaque reminds us of the fact that a bombing raid by Fascist planes:
The romantic, slightly faded Plaça Sant Felip Neri is an unmissable corner of the Gothic Quarter. It is dominated by the Baroque church from which it takes its name. The Church of Sant Felip Neri was built as an annex to the convent of the "Felipons" (the followers of the saint) who settled on this site in 1673. The Baroque church was built later, in around 1750, and was one of the few examples of this style in Barcelona. The main façade has simple lines. The doorway is crowned by a niche with a statue of the Saint to which the temple is dedicated. Note the awful verdict of the Fascist bombardment in the church walls:
The interiors has a single cross-vaulted nave and rectangular apse, and features side chapels with neoclassical altars and paintings by Joan Llimona. The atmosphere inside the church is very peaceful. The sculptural group behind the high altar in the apse with the crucifixion in the center is spectacular. There is fantastic acoustics in the church. Sometimes concerts of Baroque music are held inside.
In case you find yourself in the Barri Gotic in Saturday midday or afternoon - hurry up to Plaça Nova (150 m.) - to see the Sardana dances there during the summer months. (we've been in Plaça Nova - see Tip 2).
From Plaça de Sant Felip Neri to Plaça Nova: Head northeast on Plaça de Sant Felip Neri toward Carrer de Montjuïc del Bisbe, 15 m. Continue onto Carrer de Montjuïc del Bisbe, 55 m. Continue straight onto Plaça de Garriga i Bachs, 10 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Bisbe, 55 m. Slight right onto Plaça Nova.
To return from Plaça Nova to La Rambla - see Tip 2.
To return from Plaça Sant Felip Neri to Liceu Metro station, La Rambla: From Plaça Sant Felip Neri head south toward Carrer de Sant Felip Neri
30 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Sant Felip Neri, 30 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Sant Sever, 30 m. Continue onto Baixada de Santa Eulàlia,
45 m. Turn left onto Carrer dels Banys Nous, 30 m. Turn right onto Carrer de l'Ave Maria, 40 m. Continue straight (BACK) onto Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 10 m. Turn right to stay on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 40 m. Turn left BACK onto Plaça del Pi, 25 m. Continue onto Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 50 m. Turn right BACK onto Passatge d'Amadeu Bagués, ascend the stairs, 50 m. Turn right onto La Rambla/Rambla de Sant Josep, 30 m.
You arrived to the Liceu Metro station.