Barri Gòtic is the old part of Barcelona and the site of the original settlement that predates Roman Barcino. During the reign of Emperor Augustus in 27 BC, the site was chosen for the city of Barcino. Even as the city expanded outwards over the centuries, this area remained the administrative part of the city where its most important temples and palaces were located. The district is appropriately named Barri Gòtic as much of its architecture is Gothic, dating from the 12th - 16th centuries. Among its treasured monuments is the Catalan Gothic Cathedral of Barcelona and the Royal Palace. With its mediaeval architecture, narrow streets, small shops and tapas bars, this district is the most charming in all of Barcelona.
Tucked away in a narrow street, Carrer Montsió, Casa Martí is double famous. Not only is it a shining example of Gothic Modernista architecture, but it is also home to the famous cerveseria dels Quatre Gats. Once upon a time, this bar was a rendez-vous place for Barcelona's Modernista painters, such as Casas, Rusiñol and Picasso. The building was completed in 1896 by the Barcelona architect, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, the same architect who designed Casa Amatller on Passeig de Gràcia. The similarity in design is thus no accident, particularly in the intricately carved stone Gothic window frames. Next door to Casa Martí is the attractive Casa Carreras, another building designed (or remodelled) by Puig. This one combines exuberant floral motifs with traditional Spanish tiles and Art Nouveau accents (see attached Photos).
Built in the 13th century, the Palau Reial was the royal palace for the rulers of Barcelona. It was built in part over a section of the Roman fortified walls, while the other façade is on Plaça del Rei. The palace contains the famous Gothic Saló del Tinell, where Christopher Columbus met with Isabel and Fernando upon his return from the Americas. The Saló del Tinell is accessible through the Museu d'Història de la Ciutat, whose entrance is at Palau Clariana-Padellàs next to Capella Reial de Santa Agata.
Rising up like a mediaeval skyscraper, the Mirador del Rei Martí is named after a king who died in 1410 AD. The tower, however, is of a much later construction, completed 1555 AD. Historians are uncertain why the tower was named after a king who had died over a century earlier, but came to the conclusion that it might have replaced an earlier tower with the same name. The Mirador is adjacent to the Palau Reial Major (royal palace).
This old medieval part of the city is very popular with tourists.
It is an area that needs to be discovered by foot. I think you should take some time and walk around these narrow streets and squares in order to experience its beauty and charm.
In this area you will find the Cathedral (Santa Església Catedral Basilica de Barcelona), the Pont dels Sospirs (Bridge of Sighs), Plaça Reial and many, many more.
This Gothic church, located just to the south of Plaça de Sant Jaume, dates from the 14th century. It was built on the site of an older church. Over the centuries, a few additions were made to bring it to its current state. For example, the Gothic windows in the façade were only added in the 19th century, while the octagonal tower was raised in the 15th century.
Also known as Santa Maria del Pi, Església del Pi is one of the churches most representative of Catalan Gothic architecture. The structure dates from the 14th century, but it is said that a Roman temple once existed on the site and possibly also a mosque in later years, although there are no remains from either. The church's square façade is flanked with two small polygonal towers and decorated with an oversized central rose window over an intricately carved Gothic portal.
The monumental Barcelona post office is likely overshadowed by the amazing architecture all around, yet it is worth stopping for and admiring. I happened to enter the building with the intention of purchasing stamps for postcards I was sending, but found a beautifully decorated interior (see the attached photo). The edifice was constructed in 1927 in a Baroque style and is located at the lower end of Via Laietana.
Capella Reial de Santa Àgata is a beautiful Gothic chapel in the Barri Gòtic. Work on the chapel began in 1302 and continued for a couple of centuries. It was constructed over the Roman wall and is attached to the Palau Reial, the royal palace. The edifice is no longer used as a church, but the interior - accessible through the Museu d'Història de la Ciutat - contains an impressive 15th century altar.
The seat of the Catalan government today, el Palau de la Generalitat, was constructed in the 15th century and expanded over the centuries. It is located on Plaça de Sant Jaume in the centre of Barri Gòtic, where a Roman theatre once existed. The oldest part of the building, built in Gothic style on the side street, incorporates an older 13th century wall, but the main Italianate façade overlooking the square was completed in the 16th century. The stunning neo-Gothic bridge in the alley next to the edifice is in fact an early 20th century addition, attached to the original 15th century Gothic building. Visits to the Palau are permitted.
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