All you need to know about the arts, culture, local fare and activities in Catalonia’s capital city. This is your guide to Barcelona.
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November 22, 2017 | Arts & Culture
Located in the heart of Barcelona, The Gothic Quarter is home to a Roman village from generations past. The narrow Medieval streets are lined with impressive architecture, shops, cafes, restaurants, and artisan vendors. It can be a lot to take in, so we’ve narrowed down which landmarks to prioritize on your trip.
Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia is famous for gargoyle statues and other animals and mythical figures that perch atop its roof. Its Gothic-style architecture was constructed from the 13th–15th centuries and revamped with a neo-Gothic facade in the late-19th century. The infrastructure is just as impressive on the inside, with vaults sweeping over two chapels and nine radiating chapels connected by an ambulatory. The highest alter offers a full view into the crypt, which houses the tombs of famous saints, counts, and bishops, including Raymond of Penyafort, Count Ramon Berenguer, Berenguer de Palou II, and Salvador Casañas y Pagés. Visit their website here for hours and public mass dates.
Plaça del Reial Major is a complex of historic buildings in Plaça del Rei that showcases some of the best Gothic infrastructure in all of Barcelona. The complex was originally built as the residence for counts and kings of Aragón. Within its confines you’ll find Mirador del Rei Martí, a watchtower built for King Martin, El Verger, a beautifully decorated courtyard and patio, Palau del Lloctinent, a royal residence, Saló del Tinell, a former royal reception hall, and the Chapel of Santa Àgata. Both the Saló del Tinell and the Chapel of Santa Àgata are a part of MUHBA Barcelona History Museum, so admission prices apply for these sites. Click here for more information, including hours, museum prices, and tours.
Portal de l'Àngel Is a large street spanning from Plaça Catalunya to Barri Gòtic bustling with vendors, boutiques, and designer shops. In addition to the famous El Corte Inglés department store, Portal de l'Àngel also includes international shopping brands such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, and Benetton. And don’t forget the food vendors—delicious gelato, pastries, and home-cooked entrees scatter the streets among its impressive Medieval architecture. Click here for more information and a map of shops.
Built between 1765 and 1775, Basilica of La Mercè is a Baroque-style basilica designed by Catalan architect Josep Mas i Dordal. The church flaunts an iconic dome and the statue of Our Lady, both which can be seen in plain view from the seaside promenade. In 1918 Pope Benedict XV awarded the church title of minor basilica, preceded only by the Barcelona Cathedral. Its interiors are also a sight to behold, lined with gilt molding and impressively rendered oil paintings. Visit their website here for hours and guided tours.
The original infrastructure of The Temple of Augustus can be found within the Gothic Quarter’s confines, dating back to the first century BC. Each nine-meter Corinthian-style column was originally part of a forum in the center of the Roman city of Barcino. Later, in the first half of the twentieth century, the columns were purchased by the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya and restored by Catalan architect Lluís Domènech. More information on the columns can be found here, along with directions.