My hotel was a few steps away from Placa Nova so I couldn’t start my walk from other part of the city than the heart of Barceona. This is the place where the Roman decided to build their new colony during August’s kingdom (27BC-14 AC). In 1358 the square was holding the city’s hay market and there was at least of the four gates that led to the Forum. Don’t miss some Picasso’s friezes(pic 2) in front of the of the Architects’ Association.
You will pass this square sooner or later because the gothic Cathedral(pic 4) is a must see attraction in Barcelona. Although it started to build in 1298 it finished at the beginning of the 20th century! The facade was added in 1889 and the bell tower in 1913 but both of them were based on patterns of a French architecture from 1408. The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, a 13 year old virgin who suffered a lot during the persecution of Christians from the romans (her breast were cut off, crucifixion and decapitation). You can visit the cathedral from 8.00-19.30 for free except 12.00-17.00 when you have to pay 5 euro.
On Tuesday I saw an open market(pic 5) on the square where old things (jewelries, books, vinyl records etc) were on sale. One other day we watched some amazing guys dancing breakdance there (check video).
On the square you can see part of the Aqueduct and the Gate of the roman wall(pic 3). There is an informative sign next to the wall:
“A gate to the city that was altered when building the second eclosing Barcino wall. Entry was through one of the main streets, the decumanus. One of the lateral passageways for pedestrians and the two semircular towers that defended the gate have been conserved(1st-4th centuries AC). Beside we can see the reconstruction of one the aqueducts that carried water to the Roman city of Barcino (end of 1st century)”
Walking the Barri Gotic area of Barcelona is a fascinating experience, tiny streets, unexpected squares and buildings still there from the Middle Ages. Inside the old walled city of Barcelona even some Roman remains can be found. You can do it on your own or use the Tourist Info Office walk for a guided tour.
Best to begin on Plaza Catalunya, or see travel directions below. Walk down Av. Portal de l'Angel to Plaza Nova where you see two sections of the original Roman walls and a couple of square towers from the 4th C. Then on to the Cathedral, in the Plaça de la Seu. The facade is currently undergoing restoration. The large square in front of the Cathedral was the former Roman forum of Barcelona.
Important - do not mistake the Sagrada Familia for the Cathedral. Many visitors do and the local people find that a serious error. Any given city can have one Cathedral only - the Bishop's seat - that is the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia in Barcelona.
Then around to the Cloisters, built between 1350 and 1448, to see the garden, including the fountain in the atrium. The cloister has white geese which may be visited. Enjoyed that :)
See also the Catalan Government building and City Hall on the Plaza de la Generalitat.
Then around the corner and down a small street (Pletat) to the Temple d'August, with it's 4 remaining columns from the Roman era. This building now houses the Catalan Hiker's association. If you speak Spanish or Catalan, there is some good information available here for good walkers.
Among other places, do stop in at the Capella de Santa Agata (Saint Agata Church), from the early 14th C, to see the Alterpiece.
I took the Carrer del Bisbe from Plaça Nova and I admired the picturesque balcony(pic 1) before approaching Plaça de Sant Jaume which was the site of the Forum when the city was still called Barcino. A place for politicians now and then you can see that the square houses two political powerhouses:
a)the City Hall(pic 2) that was built in the 14th century and has a neoclassical façade. It opened 10.00-13.30 on sundays and there is a tourist office on the ground floor.
Check the sculpture at the entrance “Three Little Gypsies” made by Juan Rembul. It is a copy of the original made in 1946. The two statues at the entrance are King Jaume I (founder of the Council of the One Hundred which used to meet in the Great Hall at city’s first form of government) and Joan Fiveller(member of the council that put taxes at the members of the court).
b)the Palau de la Generalitat(pic 3), which is the seat of the Catalan government which has a nice gothic staircase.
This beautiful building is Barcelona's Town Hall,is also located in Barri Gotico.If you have time enough can go inside the building to take a look,some times there are some interesting expositions.During my visit to this area,many catalan people were dancing a tipical regional dance called Sardana here at Town Hall Square,it was funny for me to see them dancing this way,because I just saw it on TV before!.(I'll add a picture on local costums of it soon!)
One of my favourite parts of the city centre was around the Barri Gotic, or Gothic Quarter, located just to the east side of Las Ramblas. Its a maze of little back streets and gothic and neo gothic architecture. Definitely worth a stroll round, although be sure to take a map with you as it would be easy to get disoriented around here. I ended up here every day of my stay in Barca, at one point or another. The main picture here is of the Bridge of Sighs, a copy of the one in Venice. Although it looks gothic in style it was actually only built in about the 1920s when that style became popular again and this area went under some extenisive restorations. It still looks cool though!
This is BARRI GOTICO (Ghotic Quarter) is the old town of Barcelona.Walking by its narrow streets you'll find many interestings things as:Cathedral of Santa Eulalia,the Town Hall, Plaça Reial,and other interesting places to visit,on this picture you can see a view of the small church called Iglesia de Santa Maria del Pí.
In this quarter of the city,you can find also some hotels,a lot of small shops,restaurants and cafeterias,is a nice place to explore.
After tossing our bags into our room, we wasted little time after checking into the Hotel Majestic. Barcelona was waiting and we were anxious to investigate the medieval district known as Barri Gotic.
Upon arriving, one couldn't miss noticing the soaring beauty of The Cathedral of Barcelona, also known as, La Seu. The Cathedral with its gargoyles and other intricate architectural embellishments is Northern European Gothic in style.
According to my guidebook*, it was constructed between 1298 and 1408; its front facade created in 1870. This is the main center of worship in the city. Inside resides a crypt belonging to Saint Eulalia, one of Barcelona's patron saints.
The medieval village with its circuitous streets and historic buildings surrounds the cathedral. We spent quite a bit of time here popping into some of the shops for souvenirs to take back home to our family, sampling a confection at one of the bakeries and observing the celebration of Le Merce', which is an annual folk festival.
Visitors are welcome to visit the cathedral; there is no admission charge.
*Barcelona City Guide by Lonely Planet
This square is not far from the Ramblas and is one of the prettiest in the Gothic quarter. It is surrounded by some of the quaintest little streets, lined with cafes and restaurants. The plaza is dominated by the Esglesia de Santa Maria del Pi, a Gothic church built in the 14th and 16th centuries. What I liked about this area was the lovely little shops, many ethnic shops where I purchased clothes and also souvenir shops, but not tacky ones, shops that had really beautiful ornaments in.
The Gothic Quarter is the historical centre and the oldest part of the ciy of Barcelona and until nowadays it is the centre of the political and institutional representation. Some of the most interesting places of this neighbourhood of Barcelona are the Cathedral, the Church of Santa Maria del Pi and the squares (the Plaza del Rei, the plaza Real,the plaza del Pi y La Plaza Sant Jaume with the City hall of Barcelona and the Government of Catalunya). The Gothic Quarter is going down from Plaça Catalunya to the famous Ramblas, the famous 2 km boulevard ending at the harbour of Barcelona. The Gothic Quertar can be distinguished by its narrow streets and squares full of stores, street-cafés, terraces, bars and restaurants.
It's so easy to do the Barri Gotic or Gothic Quarter tour. Just start walking from the Plaza Reial and work your way up til the city hall - a wide plaza - and to the carrer del bisbe irurita and its surrounds where you'll find lots of old buildings and museums, and churches.
Don't forget to enter the big Cathedral of Santa Eulalia where we found live geese inside the cloister around the water fountain.
If you want detailed explanation of the buildings around, then join the walking tour, but if you prefer - like we do - you can always skip the stories and just walk around on your own pace.
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.
This is one of my favourite parts of Barcelona and is of of the main things Barcelona is all about. The streets are old, and the houses are pretty ,and well, Gothic I suppose!
What you can see in the photo is the 'bridge' Carrer de Bisbe on Calle Bisbe which near San Jaume. It is probably the most photographed street in the barri Gotic and the are always street musicians surrounding it. I don't mean any old busker, but classy street musicians playing expensive musical instruments. Maybe they are students, otherwise they don't look short of a few bob. In any case they don't bother you and instead add to the mysterious and enchanting feel of the gothic streets.
Take a step back in time to medieval europe. You really get a feel of what it must have been like, as you walk around the maze of twisting, narrow streets.
You will come across Cathedrals, churches, town squares and excellent small shops and cafes.
The highlights include the Catedral, Barcelona's great cathedral that dates back to the 14th century and has been constantly updated over the centuries with impressive additions such as the late 19th century facade. The square in front of the cathedral (placa de la seu) is certainly worth a stop for a coffee or tapas and sit and wonder at that facade.
Along the beautiful C. del Bisbe Irurita you pass the entrance to the cathedral and end up in the magnificent square, Placa Sant Jaume, which is the historical and political heart of the city. There are 2 stunning buildings that face each other, the Ajuntament and the Palau de la Generalitat.
As you travel west along C. de Ferran and down Ptge. Madoz you enter the beautiful Place Reial with its stunning architecture. There are several good restaurants and nightclubs here.
My advice, if I may, is to just find a street and continue to wind your way round. Each street seems to have it's own atmosphere and sights.
You will find the entrance to this gothic cloister on Bisbe St. The romanic gate of the cloister comes from the ancient cathedral but the cloister was built between 1350-1448. It is surrounded by high gothic windows and chapels on 3 of its 4sides (s. rita's chapel is always the most crowded). On the forth side there is the old Sala Capitular, today the Santísimo's Chapel where the Lepanto's Christ (XVI century) is guarded. Near the fountain you can always find 13 ducks. The number 13 refers to S. Eulalia, who was 13 years old when she was tortured and killed by pagan romans. Free Entrance
Barri Gotico is a most interesting area so full of dark cool and atmospheric streets. This place is full of tiny shops and quaint restaurants. There are many things to see in the laberinth of tiny streets which will lead you through a very interesting area. Visit the copied Bridge of Sighs taken from the one in Venice but a lot more recent it was only built around the 1920's when this style once again became popular. The narrow streets have houses with ornate balconies but I suspect they will not get much sunshine.