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Explore the historically rich Gothic Quarter!

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is more than 2,000 years old and is considered one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city. The neighborhood is very charming and has a rather rich history.

Therefore, there is a lot to do and see in this amazing neighborhood. No matter how much you explore, you will always run into some fascinating square or mysterious alley. To make your visit to the Gothic Quarter easier and more exciting, we have prepared a list of must-see sights!

You can start your discovery by visiting Plaça Nova (Plaza Nueva). It is the place where the old city was born. It was originally built in the 14th century as a part of the Roman city walls, and it served as a market and a place for public gatherings. Later on, it became a site for public executions, and during the Spanish Civil War, it was used as a military parade ground by the Nationalist forces. Moreover, over there you can find the 'Barcino' sign on the floor, which was the name of Barcelona back in the days of the Roman Empire.

La Plaza Nueva

Near the Barcino sign, you can also see the Roman Aqueduct – but don't let it deceive you, the remains of the first aqueducts system has not been discovered yet and this one was done as a reconstruction by the city in the 20th century.

The Roman Aqueduct

Just a minute of walk from Plaça Nova you will find a famous mural 'The Kiss of Freedom'. From the distance, it seems like it is a graffiti, but when you come closer you realize that it is a mosaic that is made of thousands of tiny ceramic pieces. Each tile has a photo of a person, a place, a moment, or something which represents an expression of freedom in itself.

The Kiss of Freedom

Next monument you should see is the Roman Wall of Barcelona, also known as Muralla Romana. It is a set of ancient fortifications that date back to the Roman era. The wall was built in the 1st centur AD, and it was part of the original Roman city of Barcino.

The wall was constructed to protect the city from invaders, and it originally stretched for about 1.5 kilomteres. Today, only a few sections of the wall remain, but they are still an impressive sight and offer a glimpse into Barcelona's ancient past.

The Roman Wall (Muralla Romana)

One of the important squares of this part of the city is Placa del Rei. It's been said that the first bullfights in Catalunya were held here in 1387. Another interesting story says that when Columbus had come to Spain after his first voyage in 1493, he was welcomed here by Ferdinand and Isabel. Moreover, on the corner of the square is located a small house that is called The Hangman's house. People say that nobody wanted to have the hangman or executioner as their neighbor, so they put the executioners in that house that had no neighbors. Visitors can also see some of the archaeological remains of the Roman wall in the MUHBA Placa del Rei, a museum dedicated to the history of Barcelona that is located in the Gothic Quarter. Temple d'August is the oldest thing above ground that still exists in Barcelona.

Tickets: FREE entrance

Working hours: Saturday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Muhba, Placa del Rei

The August's Temple

The General Archive of the Crown of Aragon (Archivo de la Corona de Aragon) is a historical archive located in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is one of the most important archival collections in the world, and its holdings include documents from the medieval kingdom of Aragon and its successor states, including Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands. There is over 80,000 volumes of documents, dating from the 9th century to this day.

Working hours: Sat/Sun 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

The General Archive of the Crown of Aragon

Barcelona Cathedral, also know as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia), is a Gothic-style cathedral located in the heart of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. The Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Eulalila, a co-patron saint of Barcelona, who was martyred during Roman times. The cathedral is open to visitors for both worship and sightseeing, and there is a small admission fee to enter. Visitors can also climb to the top of the cathedral's bell tower for panoramic views of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter and beyond.

From the side of the cathedral (Carrer dels Comtes) you can see a hairy soldier, Wilfred the Hairy, who is considered the founder of Catalunya (father of Catalunya). They say he was so hairy that he didn't have to wear the armor.

Tickets: 9€,

If you visit from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and after 3:15 p.m. any day of the week, entry is free. From 1 to 3:30 p.m. any day of the week, for entry it is required to give a donation of your choice.

Working hours: Fri/Sat/Sun: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (with three 15-minute breaks)

Barcelona Cathedral

Wilfred the Hairy

Only two minutes of walk from the magnificent cathedral you will find the Bisbe Bridge (Pont del Bisbe). This relatively young bridge, which was built in 1928, has a quite interesting story. Besides its beauty, what is interesting is the skull with the dagger on the bottom part of the bridge. The legend says that if the dagger was pulled out, Barcelona would crumble. Other say it was a revenge from an architect whose plans for renovating the Gothic Quarter weren't approved. Moreover, it is said that if you walk under the bridge backwards, while looking at the skull, and make a wish, your wish will come true.

The Bisbe Bridge

The skull

The Gothic Quarter was also partly a Jewish quarter in history, until they were expelled from Spain. Carrer del Marlet is a symbol of jewish community. It is nice area with the symbols to preserve their memory.

Carrer del Marlet

Placa de Sant Felipe Neri is also one of the squares that need to be visited. What is interesting about it is that Mussolini dropped the bomb on it and killed 42 people, including the children, becaue it was some kind of playground. He did that to support Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war. You can still see the shrapnel traces in the walls. They left it like that to always remember of that tragical event.

Placa de Sant Felipe Neri

Very close to this one, there is another square – Placa Sant Jaume. It has been the administrative center of the city for 2000 years. The reason for that is the fact that Palau de la Generalitat and Palacio Municipal (Barcelona Town Hall) are located on this square. On the square you will see three flags: the flag of Catalunya, Spanish flag and the flag of Barcelona. By law, national flag has to be positioned a bit higher than the regional flag. One more flag that you will maybe be able to see is the Independence flag, which is unofficial flag. In addition, yellow ribbon means that they want Catalan politicians out of prison. There is the story behind the flag of Catalunya. They say that when Wilfred the Hairy (the father of Catalunya) was dying, he dipped his fingers in his blood (or somebody else dipped his fingers in Wilfred's blood) and scraped four bloody fingers down his shield and that is how the Catalunyan flag was invented (4 red stripes on yellow).

Placa Sant Jaume

Catalunyan, Spanish, and Barcelona flag

You can finish your visit of the Gothic Quarter by going to the bar with rich history itself. On the Placa del Pi you will find the bar with the same name – Bar del Pi. The bar was open 24/7 every day in the period between 1920s and 1930s. The bar is for the four generation in the same family, up to this day.

Bar del Pi

We hope this blog helped you to get insight into the rich and a bit mysterious history of the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. If you still haven't booked your ticket to come with us, now is the time! You can find the tickets on this link:

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