Unique and Stunning Architecture Across The Gothic Quarter In Barcelona

Written by: Cindy D’Silva

The Gothic Quarter, or ‘Barri Gòtic’ as it is called locally, is a historic place filled with narrow mediaeval streets and public squares in the centre of Old Barcelona. You can visit the Catalan restaurants, trendy bars and clubs spread all across the quarter. There are artisans and vendors that sell leather, jewellery, flowers, food, etc. around the Cathedral of Barcelona and the infamous La Rambla. 

The Gothic Quarter is so called because it used to be a Roman village, and has many remnants from those times. It covers the Cathedral of Barcelona, La Rambla, Columbus Monument (end of La Rambla), History Museum MUHBA, Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi, Museu Frederic Marès, Plaça del Rei and the Saint James’ Square. Surrounded by water on three sides, you will find the Aquàrium Barcelona which is also part of the Gothic Quarter.

1 Cathedral of Barcelona or Catedral de Barcelona

Though the construction commenced on 1 May 1298, the Cathedral was only completed by the successors of Manuel Girona and Agrafel in 1913. The building has three naves, two large bell towers, nine chapels and Gothic altarpieces painted by Guerau Gener, Lluís Borrassà, Gabriel Alemany and Bernat Martorell, among others. Inside the Cathedral, you will find the crypt, stained-glass windows, keystones on the ceilings, monuments and chapels dedicated to at least 140 saints, including Virgin Mary. Outside, there is a pond with a fountain which happens to be home to 13 white geese representing, according to tradition, the age of Saint Eulalia when she was martyred.

After buying a ticket worth Euro 14/-, you will be able to see the interiors, the choir area, the chapter house, the museum, the rooftop, and also get a virtual tour and an English audio guide that tells us about the history of this magnificent Cathedral.

2 La Rambla

This most-visited street in Barcelona is generally filled with music, flowers, human statues, live shows, mimes, etc. Though La Rambla is free to explore all day and night, it could sometimes be too crowded and home to pickpockets. Also, some of the shops charge higher for items that are cheaper in other parts of Barcelona.

3 Columbus Monument

You will find the 60 metres tall Columbus monument at the far end of La Rambla (seaside). It had been erected in honour of Christopher Columbus who discovered America and reported to Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V in Barcelona after his first trip to the new continent. Therefore, you will notice that the statue of Columbus points towards America.

4 History Museum MUHBA or MUHBA Templo de Augusto

Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA) is a small area that shows the remains of the Roman city. This Roman temple was built during the Imperial period in the Barcino colony. Now, the temple remains are sandwiched between residential buildings on all sides. You will find the history of the Temple on several boards inside the temple area.

5 Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi

The Nao Santa María is one of the most famous ships led by Christopher Columbus that led to the discovery of America in 1492. This historical landmark changed the future of universal history. ‘Santa María’ is also a title for Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus, in various languages. According to tradition, in the 5th century, a fisherman discovered the Virgin Mary’s image on a pi (pine tree) that he wanted to cut down to build a boat. Struck by the vision, he instead built a small church, which was later succeeded by the distinct Gothic structure we see today. 

Now-a-days, the Plaça del Pi, named after the Gothic church, hosts a weekend art market for art lovers.

6 Museu Frederic Marès or Frederic Mares Museum

This is an art and sculpture museum containing the collection of sculptor Frederic Marès. The sculpture collection, spanning several centuries, also features works of art, handcrafted objects, women’s items, toy theatres and a variety of pipes, from around Spain, by the sculptor Master Cabestany.

7 Plaça del Rei

This simple 14-century mediaeval public square houses the MUHBA with traces of old streets, houses and shops from the Roman Barcino times. The Casa Padellàs (Padellàs’s House) was said to be a 16th-century Gothic palace that was relocated brick by brick to the Plaça del Rei.

8 Saint James’ Square

Saint James’ Square is a garden square that has Georgian and Neo-Georgian architecture. In its initial hundred years or so, it was one of the fashionable residential streets in London as several noblemen of those days resided here. In the centre, this historic square features the statue of William III

9 Aquarium Barcelona

Located in Port Vell, Aquàrium Barcelona is home to around 11,000 animals and more than 400 species. The visit to the 35 aquariums would take about two hours and is a sight to behold, especially for children. The two types of shark – the sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus) and the sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus) – are the real stars of L’Aquàrium de Barcelona. You can enjoy different experiences with the sharks in the packages mentioned here.

10 Parks

Located within Port Vell in the Barcelona harbour, and right next to the Aquàrium Barcelona, the green park called Plaça del Ictineo houses the replica of Ictíneo II, the first engine-powered submarine from 1864 launched by the Spanish engineer Narciso Monturiol. 

The Plaça Reial is a royal square in the Gothic Quarter, close to La Rambla, and is also a tourist attraction, especially at night.

Barcelona is a beautiful city to explore at your own pace. The Gothic Quarter itself is an area that can take one whole day to experience. There are walking tours that will guide you in case you would like to try out the various local dishes of this beautiful city. So, take your time and enjoy the beauty of the mediaeval times that sets this city apart from many others in Spain! 

Guest Author:

By Cindy D’Silva

Blogger, Author, Influencer

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