The Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) is situated in the center of Barcelona and it is one of the most famous and oldest parts of the Catalan city. This site has a long history, starting back in the times of the Roman empire when a small settlement was already established. The Roman ruins can be admired in different parts of the quarter, for example on Plaça del Rei. Tourists can also check the ruins of the old Roman temple built to honor Emperor Augustus.
Between the 11th and 13th centuries, the quarter was where El Call is located, the Jewish district of Barcelona. Under the harsh centuries of the Spanish Inquisition the Jewish community of Barcelona has scattered but some beautiful buildings have remained from their glory days. The most significant one is the Sinagoga Major de Barcelona (Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona).
During the 14th and 15th centuries, the quarter played a very important role in the development of Barcelona, and this led to the construction of many beautiful and architecturally-significant buildings that were built in the Gothic style. The design of these buildings is unique in Barcelona and in Catalonia. Some of them are decorated with unusual symbols and mosaics. These wonderful buildings and the narrow medieval streets inspired many famous artists such as Pablo Picasso and Juan Miró.
Main Landmarks in the Gothic Quarter
There are a lot of famous historical buildings, statues, art galleries, museums and beautiful squares in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, and beside these attractions the tourists can enjoy different street shows and visit many cafes and restaurants.
Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de Santa Eulalia)
One of the main attractions of the Gothic Quarter is the Barcelona Cathedral. This is the main cathedral of the Catalan city. It is located on the Plaça de la Seu, in the center of the quarter. The cathedral is a very impressive gothic building from the 15th century. On the roof of the church, visitors can admire the Gothic Quarter from a bird’s eye view. The building is particularly beautiful at night when it is wonderfully lit.
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|Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de Santa Eulalia) is one of the most visited sites in Barcelona and it is in a walking distance from Plaça
de Sant Jaume and Sinagoga Major de Barcelona (The Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona).
Sinagoga Major de Barcelona (Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona)
Sinagoga Major de Barcelona is another important old building in the Catalan city. It is located in El Call, the old jewish quarter of Barcelona. It was built approximately in the 6th century and between the 11th and 13th centuries it was the main synagogue of the Jews in Barcelona. Nowadays, the synagogue serves as a museum and as a cultural center.
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Palau Reial Major (The Grand Royal Palace)
Palau Reial Major is also a beautiful medieval building. It is situated in Plaça del Rei. In the past, the palace served as the residence of the kings of Aragon and as a building of the inquisition. Nowadays, it is famous for its unique gothic design.
La Casa de l’Ardiaca
La Casa de l’Ardiaca is an architecturally significant building from the 15th century. In the past it was the house of the archbishop of Barcelona. Today the building is used by the Historical Archives of the City of Barcelona.
University of Barcelona
In addition to the above-mentioned attractions, tourists can visit the architecturally and historically significant old building of the University of Barcelona.
Though the Museu Picasso is situated a little further from the Gothic Quarter, namely in El Born quarter, it is worth a visit for those who take a trip in the Barri Gotic. It is recommended mainly for art lovers. In this museum visitors can admire a wide collection of Picasso’s paintings. There are more than 3,500 artworks of the famous painter exhibited, mainly from the early period.
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Plaça del Rei
Due to the old buildings of the Grand Royal Palace, Plaça del Rei has a unique atmosphere. That is why each individual who visits the Gothic Quarter must take a walk on this beautiful medieval square.
Plaça Sant Jaume
Plaça Sant Jaume is another famous square in Barcelona. It is located in the center of the Gothic Quarter. In the times of the Roman Empire, the square served as a meeting place. Due to its central position, the place did not lose its importance in the political life of the Catalan city even as of today.
In this square there can be found the City-Hall and the Palau de la Generalitat (Palace of the Generalitat of Catalonia). The latter is the building of the Catalan government. It is a beautiful gothic building that cannot be missed because of the flags on its frontage.
The building may be visited but only on a Sundays and with an advance announcement of the visit (for additional information – Gothic Quarter on Sundays).
Plaça de la Seu
Beside the two above-mentioned squares, there is one more famous square in the Gothic Quarter –Plaça de la Seu, which is an important touristic center. The famous Barcelona Cathedral is located there. On each Sunday at 12 PM, visitors can enjoy a lovely Sardana dance show, where they can also join the dancers.
Plaça Sant Felip Neri
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri is a wonderful square in the Gothic Quarter. The main tourist attraction of the site is a marvelous baroque church. Usually this part of the quarter is really quiet. However, it can become quite crowded every once in awhile, especially during the summer.
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri has a sad past. During the Spanish Civil War many bloody events took place there, and a lot of people were shot. Even today bullet holes can be observed in the buildings.