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Essential Old Barcelona: the Gothic Quarter and El Born tour
Hello everyone and welcome to Barcelona. I am a passionate historian and an expert world traveler. Born in Naples (Italy), after completing a BA in History, I have traveled extensively around the world and have lived in London, Dubai, Berlin and São Paulo. Barcelona has had a special place in my heart since spending 6 months on an Erasmus project. So what are you waiting for, don't hesitate and let me show you the great Enchantress. Barcelona! and with all our sins, ours! ours! Barcelona ours! the great enchantress! - Joan Maragall Menjar ben I cagar fort /I no tingues por de la mort – Eat well shit strongly and you will have not fear of death -Catalan Proverb
We will take a leisurely paced walking tour through Barcelona Ciutat Vella which includes the oldest Neighbourhoods of the city: the Gothic Quarter and the Ribera.
We will be looking at the history of the city as well as the cultural traditions of Catalonia, what they are passionate about.
Our two hours and a half route will take you through the old city's quintessential sightseeing:
- The Roman walls
- Saint Jaume square: Palau de la Ciutat and de la Generalitat
- Temple of Augustus
- Plaça del Rei
- Palau Reial Major and Palatine Chapel de Sant Agata
- Palau Lloctinent: Subirachs San Jordi's door
- The Cathedral of Santa Eulalia
- Patio Museum Mares
- Plaça Nova
- Archdeacon House
- La Puerta Praetoria, Portal del Bisbe
- The Bishop's bridge
- Sant Felipe Neri Square
- The Jewish medieval quarter and the Synagogue Major
- The Human Pyramids Monument
- Basílica de los Santos Mártires Justo y Pastor: La Morenita
- La Mercè
- El Born
- Fossar de Les Moreres
- Santa Maria del Mar
- El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria
As we progress through the city sights, we will be able to answer all the following questions and many others:
- Did really Hercules founded Barcelona?
- Did you know that the first known Barcelonian was called Caius Coelius?
- What is the Diada?
- What’s the origin of the Catalan Flag?
- Why is the Catalan language so different from Spanish?
- Why are there marijuana leaves on Colon’s column?
- Are the scantily dressed ladies in Picasso Ladies d’ Avignon really french?
- Was the Eiffel tower going to be installed in Barcelona?
- Why the Eixample urban plan looks so peculiar?
- Why was the statue of Antonio Lopez, one of the De Medici of the xix century Barcelona, removed?
What will we visit on this tour?
Meeting point:Pl. de Sant Jaume, 3, 08002 Barcelona...Pl. de Sant Jaume, 3, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
We are meeting In front of the STARBUCKS store in Placa Sant Jaume 3, 08002 Barcelona. This is the most important square in town since Roman Times. One finds here the Town Hall (ajutamiento) and the palace of the government of Catalonia ( Generalitat)
1Outside visitPlaça Sant Jaume
The Plaça Sant Jaume has been the city's political centre almost since its inception. Today the Plaça Sant Jaume is an open space, a "lung" in the middle of the Gothic Quarter. The square is the site of the most important buildings in the lives of Barcelona and Catalonia: City Hall and the Palau de la Generalitat.
2Outside visitMonument als Castellers
Antoni Llena’s Chicken Wire Tribute to Catalan Human castles.
3Outside visitMUHBA Temple of Augustus
Inside a small medieval courtyard, the four columns from the Temple of Augustus have survived despite the passing of the centuries. They are more than 2,000 years old, like Barcelona itself.
4Outside visitBarcelona's cathedral
The Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia was built over six centuries. Funded by donations from the medieval brotherhoods and guilds, the building work in Santa Creu commenced in 1298, on consecrated ground which was the former site of a 4th-century early-Christian basilica,
5Outside visitPont del Bisbe
One of the most photographed sights in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, thr Bishop’s Bridge was built for the Barcelona International Exposition which took place in 1929. The bridge was designed by architect Joan Rubió I Bellver who suggested that all non-Gothic buildings in the immediate vicinity of Barcelona Cathedral should be demolished and replaced by new Gothic style buildings.
6Outside visitPlaza de San Felipe Neri
The romantic, slightly faded Plaça Sant Felip Neri is an unmissable corner of the Gothic Quarter. Presided over by the baroque church from which it takes its name, the square features a number of historic elements that make it particularly attractive, especially when you view it in silence.
7Outside visitLa Casa de l'Ardiaca
The Roman wall which adjoins Barcelona's Plaça Nova has a secret in store. On the other side, stands the entrance to the Casa de l'Ardiaca, or Archdeacon's House, which contains interesting archaeological remains. As you enter the Casa de l'Ardiaca's courtyard, you'll find a building which is a fusion of all eras and styles.
8Outside visitCall of Barcelona
While Barcelona was never the largest Jewish center in Spain, it did play a large role in the history of Jews in Spain. Long before the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, Jewish culture flourished throughout the Iberian Peninsula. 4,000 Jews were living in Barcelona during the 13th century and many worked as doctors, scientists, scholars, merchants, or money lenders for the Catalonian aristocracy and crown. Medieval Barcelona was approximately 15% Jewish,
9Outside visitCapilla de Santa Lucía
The oldest party of the Cathedral. A Romanesque jewel in the heart of The Gothic Quartier. Simple but beautiful, don't forget the fact that you are looking at the most ancient part of the stunning cathedral.
10Outside visitPalau Episcopal de Barcelona
It has an interesting interior courtyard with Romanesque arches and Gothic windows. The building has a range of styles deriving from the various remodelling projects it has undergone. The oldest work dates from the late 12th and early 13th centuries
11Outside visitNova Square
Plaça Nova is the place where the old city was born : Barcino. These letters are sculptured in the square. Two Romanesque towers flank the door Del Bisbal. This square becomes a market with antique dealers every Thursday from 9h to 20h. Festivals and Sardanas are held here also.
12Outside visitCollege of Architects of Catalonia
Opposite the Barcelona's Cathedral, you can find a great frieze made of sand. It was designed by Pablo Picasso and made by the Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar. Each of these 3 friezes that form the facade of the building, has a particular theme: the frieze of children; the frieze of the giants; frieze of the Catalan flag (the “senyera”).
13Outside visitMuseu Frederic Marès
It is housed the museum Museu Frederic Marès in a former palace of the Inquisition in the district Barri Gòtic, just behind the cathedral.
14Outside visitPalau del Lloctinent
The Lloctinent Palace, located next to the Royal Palace, was built in the mid 16th century with a Rennaissance style. Its purpose was to be the residence of a lieutenant, who was the king’s representative in Catalonia. The door on the stairway is a 1975 Josep Maria Subirachs work portraying scenes from the life of Sant Jordi and the history of Catalonia.
15Outside visitPlaça del Rei
Apart from 4,000 m2 of archaeological remains below the square, the monumental ensemble comprises the 11th-century Palau Comtal – the Count's Palace – later to become the Palau Reial Major – the residence of the kings of Catalonia and Aragon –, highlights of which include the Saló del Tinell, or Great Hall, and the 14th-century Chapel of Santa Àgata. The Watchtower of King Martí was added in the 16th century.
16Outside visitRoyal Palace Major
It was built about ten centuries ago. One of the buildings, Saló del Tinell, is a ceremonial area built by King Peter IV. It served as the royal reception hall and it is also where Catholic monarchs received Colombus after he returned from America. The interior was built between 1359 and 1570 in Gothic style. The Palatine Chapel of St. Agatha was built in 1302 by Jaume II the Just and it is dedicated to a popular Sicilian saint. It features an altarpiece of Constable Peter of Portugal.
17Outside visitPicasso Museum
18Outside visitLes Moreres Fossar
The Fossar de les Moreres is a place of great symbolic significance where the weight of history takes centre stage. Here, right in the centre of the Born neighbourhood, was the site of the graveyard for the fallen during the 1714 Siege of Barcelona. A monument stands on the site as a reminder. The place sometimes goes unnoticed by visitors. For the Catalans, the fossar is more than a memory. It is a homage.
19Outside visitEl Born
El Born is one of Barcelona‘s trendiest and most popular neighborhoods. Home to some of the oldest buildings in the city, it is not only one of the most historic areas of Barcelona but also one of its liveliest.
20Outside visitSanta Maria del Mar
The basilica of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona, also known as the "cathedral del mar”, is one of the most perfect examples of Gothic style architecture due to its harmonious proportions and the serenity of the ensemble.
How much does this tour cost?
Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).
Who is this tour for?
What should you know?
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