This large square in the Barri Gotic is at the centre of the old town and is home to two rival buildings. On one side is the Ajuntement which is home of the left wing city council and right opposite is the Palau de la Generalitat which is the official HQ of the Catalan government
The site that is occupied by Plaça Sant Jaume was once at the heart of the ancient Roman city of Barcino. It was here that major streets converged and the ancient Roman forum was located.
The modern name for this square comes from the church of San Jaume which used to be located here. Plaça Sant Jaume was remodelled in 1823. Nowadays this square is home to Barcelona's City Hall and the Palau de la Generalitat.
As soon as you exit the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona, you will find yourself in Sant Jaume Square or as it is known in Barcelona, Plaça Sant Jaume. Take a stroll down the square to see the Barcelona city hall, and if you're lucky enough to be there during the Christmas season you will also see the popular life-size Nativity scene.
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 popular square is in the Gothic District/Barri Gotic, the old town.
The power "lives" here:
- On one side, the Generalitat Palace (the presidency of Catalunya); gothic style from the 15th century (main pic).
- On the other side, the City Hall; neoclassic style from the 19th century (second pic).
Mero: Jaume I (line 4) is the closest station although once you are in the Gothic district, you will find it easily.
This square, reminiscent of an Italian piazza, is the political centre of Barcelona. The ancient Barcelona was founded excatly here (on Mons Taber, they built the roman forum here) and nowadays we can find the two political powers: the Generalitat (or the seat of the Catalan Autonomous Government) and the Town Hall.
You might find strange this big square in the middle of the narrow streets of the Barri Gòtic. This is a result of a "desamortització" (destruction of a lot of houses) in 1823 to build this square and the Princesa and Ferran streets.
Sant Jaume Square has this name in honour of a little church dedicated to Sant Jaume that was exactly here
Placa de Sant Jaume is the centre of Barcelona's civic life and has a historical past that dates back to Roman times. The square is flanked by the city's two main government buildings - the Palau de la Generalitat and the Ajuntament.
Located on the northern side of the square is the Palau de la Generalitat, which is the seat of Catalonia's regional government. The building was constructed in the 15th century, though parts of it have been updated since then. It is open for guided visits on the 2nd & 4th Sundays of the month (from 10am-1pm) and also on 23 Apr, 11 Sep & 24 Sep (entrance via Carrer de Sant Sever).
Across the square is the Ajuntament, also known as the Casa de la Ciutat. This is the City Hall, and has been the seat of city power since the 14th century. There have been many modifications to the building over the years, and it doesn't retain much of its former Gothic style. The Ajuntament is open to visitors on Sundays between 10am-1pm.
The heart of Barri Gotic.Here you'll find Palau de la Generalitat and the Ajuntment or Casa de la Ciutat.Both are architecturally beautiful.This is also the meeting place for the "Gegants" (giants),huge papier-maché figures that parades through the street on Barcelona's main festival on September 24,Our Lady of Mercy.
The Placa de Sant Jaume is a lively place to be. Always so full of tourists which provides a vibrant atmosphere. The pretty buildings which line one side have beautiful wrought iron balconies. This is the place where you will see the Town Hall or city council building and the building of the Catlan Government.
Whilst wandering through the Barri Gòtic try to take in the following: the Cathedral, the Town Hall and the 15th Century Palace of the Government of Catalunya (Generalitat de Catalunya), which are opposite each other in the the Plaça Sant Jaume.
In this centric square, in the very heart of the Gothic Quarter, you will find the Generalitat Palace and the Town Hall.
I used to see it on TV every time the Barcelona FC soccer or basketball teams won something, as it is a local custom to celebrate it here. Seeing it so full of people made it look bigger, so I found it smaller when I visited, but anyway is a nice spot. You will find a statue of St. Jordi (George) and the dragon in the Generalitat facade...
You can go next to the forum, today Plaça St. Jaume, where nowadays is placed the city hall and the Palau de la Generalitat (Catalunya administration, shown in the picture).
The roman city had the typical structure of a roman city; that is a Forum (today Plaça Sant Jaume) and to main roads called Decumanus (today Llibreteria and Call streets) and Cardus (Ciutat and Bisbe streets).