City Center Barri Gotic Walking Tour
This Barri Gotic tour will goes back to the roots of the city. From the Romans till today, there are plenty of elements that reflect the centuries of the last 2000 years. Discover the incredible Cathedral and its secrets. Enjoy the atmosphere in Las Ramblas. Enjoy the mystic of Santa Maria del Mar or the Saló del Tinell, where Christopher Columbus announced the discovery of America.
In this city center walking tour you will see centuries of history. You will learn not just dates and facts but also legends and anecdotes that made Barcelona one of the most iconic cities in Europe.
#HISTORY #ADVENTURE #SECRETS
Las Ramblas and Plaça Reial
Santa Maria del Mar
Plaça del Rei
What to expect on this tour
A walking tour to enjoy the highlights of the historical side of the city. We will go thru the main attractions in the old town, showing and explaining the meaning of, and secrets in the walls. Barcelona downtown is one of the most dynamic areas of the city with many attractions to visit and many small, cozy places to get lost in.
Meeting Point - Transportation
Starting from L3 Dressanes metro station
The tour is done outdoors
In case of heavy rain, it is recommended to find another indoor tour
Small Statue of Liberty in Barcelona
Did you know there is a small copy of the Statue of Liberty in Barcelona? Indeed, you can find it near the Arch of Triumph, in a small library called Biblioteca Arús (Arus Public Library). The statue was completed in 1894 and is made of bronze. It is just only 2 meters height, a bit smaller compared with the 46 meters from the original one in New York. It is made of bronze and looks exactly similar to the original one except for one little detail: the text on the tablet is not "July IV MDCCLXXVI" but "Anima Libertas" which means "soul freedom". A clear reference to the scope of the library and its purpose within the society of the XIX century. The state is just at the entrance of the library that is considered the center and the origin of the Masonry Fraternity in Barcelona. The library entrance is free and is open to visitors. More information can be found at https://bpa.es/en/
6 things you probably did not know of Santa María del Mar
Santa María del Mar is one of the most beautiful churches in Barcelona and most probably of all Europe. For its simplicity and also for its incredible beauty, this church is one of the purest gothic buildings in the south of Europe. Here you have 6 elements that you might not know about it: Santa María del Mar was build in just 30 years while other big churches, like Barcelona Cathedral needed more than 500. The gothic rosette was destroyed during a big earthquake of magnitude 8 in Richter scale during the 15th century Santa María del Mar church was burning for 11 days during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 4. In one of the big crystals hat were restored after the Civil War, you can find FC Barcelona icon 5. It is being said that, if any couple wants to get married in this beautiful church, the average waiting time is more than 2 years. Although there is a book called "Cathedral of the sea" referring to this church, the truth is that Santa María del Mar is not a Cathedral at all. It was just the Church of the ordinary people, since the Cathedral of Barcelona was considered only for the relevant and influential people of the 14th century. http://www.santamariadelmarbarcelona.org/home/
The geese of the cathedral
Among the many curiosities of the Cathedral of Barcelona, for sure the most interesting one is related to the geese of its cloister. The cloister is a peaceful and serene space, and it provides a nice contrast to the busy streets outside the cathedral. It is also a great spot for photography and it is a popular spot for visitors to the cathedral to take a break and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. People always get surprised when they find them! Of course, it doesn't happen every day to find geese inside a church...! They are related to the patron Saint of the city, Eulàlia. And they are 13 to recall both the age of Saint Eulàlia and the martyrdom she had to suffer because of her faith during Roman Times in the 4th century. The cloister is a rectangular courtyard surrounded by a covered walkway, or arcade, that is supported by columns and arches. The walkway is lined with chapels, each of which is dedicated to a different saint. Overall, the Cloister of the Cathedral of Barcelona is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in Gothic architecture, art and history. It is a beautiful and historic architectural feature that provides a glimpse into the past and is a great spot for visitors to relax and admire the beauty of the Cathedral.
Sant Felip Neri
The name refers both to the square and the church. The church is one of the few examples of baroque architecture in the city. Looking carefully you can see that the lower part of the façade is highly damaged: that is because of the bombings during the Civil War. It was the 30th of January 1938 when this area was bombed and more than forty people died, the majority of them were children, as next to the church there was, and there is still today, a school.
The story of Cristo de Lepanto inside the cathedral of Barcelona
This beautiful wooden sculpture was build to command one of the ships that fought in the Battle of Lepanto 1571 (a naval engagement of the Holy league against the Ottoman Empire). The Battle of Lepanto was a naval battle fought near the western coast of Greece. The Holy League, a coalition of European Catholic maritime states, led by the Republic of Venice and the Spanish Empire, fought against the Ottoman Empire. The Holy League's fleet was commanded by Don Juan of Austria, the illegitimate half-brother of King Philip II of Spain. The Ottoman fleet was significantly larger and had more experienced sailors, but the Holy League's ships were better equipped and had better artillery. The battle was fought primarily with galleys, which were long, narrow ships propelled by both sails and oars. The two fleets clashed in a fierce battle that lasted for several hours, and ultimately, the Holy League emerged victorious. The battle was a significant victory for the Holy League as it stop the invasion of the Muslim towards Europe. The war ended the Ottoman naval expansion and started the beginning of the decline of Ottoman naval power. The tales suggest that this wooden Christ has this curved shape because it was used as a figurehead in a Christian ship and tried to avoid a cannonball shot from the Muslims during the war. The sculpture can be found in one of the small chapels inside the Cathedral in Barcelona.
The plague in the old town of Barcelona
The old roman town of Barcelona was originally a basement settled by the romans 2000 years ago. It had 4 main gates with 2 main streets crossing from north to south and from east to west surrounded by the walls. Today just few things remain of that ancient roman city of Barcelona, but still some of that initial urban layout can be seen. In the picture below we can see one of the main entrances of the city, just close to the Cathedral. In 1560, a major outbreak of the bubonic plague, also known as the "Black Death," affected the city of Barcelona, causing widespread death and panic. The disease, which was spread by fleas on rats, had a significant impact on the city's population, killing as much as one-third of the population. The city's government was ill-prepared to deal with the outbreak, and many people fled the city in an attempt to escape the disease. Businesses and trade came to a standstill as people were too afraid to leave their homes, and those who could afford to, fled the city. The outbreak also had a significant impact on the city's economy and social structure, as many of the city's most wealthy and powerful citizens were among the casualties. It took several years for the city to recover from the outbreak, and it left a lasting impact on the people of Barcelona. One quick anecdote that can be seen in the picture is the little statue in the left tower. It is a small image referring to Saint Roch, a catholic saint that is devoted to fight against the plague. In 1589 the city celebrated the festivity of this Saint because it helped to cure of the severe Black Death the city was suffering at the time (Barcelona suffered the plague several times during teh 15th and 16th century).
Origins of Santa Maria del Mar
In the 13th century, in this same place there was another church, called Santa Maria de les Arenes, but the economic growth of the city and mainly of this neighbourhood, led to the need of a bigger church.
The merchants of Barcelona raised funds to build it, but the real effort was made by the so-called "bastaixos" (Barcelona workers in charge of loading and unloading vessels) and fishermen, who transported the stone from the quarry of Montjuïc. If you look closely, you will see these men remembered on the main entrance portal, represented while they are carrying the stones on their back.
The church suffered big damages during the Civil War, as it was torched. The fire lasted eleven days and destroyed the baroque altar, the archives and many stained glasses.
The restoration that followed, underlined its elegant and sober gothic style.
Visit the city under Barcelona!
Did you know there is a city that can be visited under the current Barri Gòtic?
Inside the Barcelona museum, you can visit the old roman ruins that are left. Still many streets and building walls and columns can be seen in the Barcelona History museum (MUHBA). In this museum you can visit also the big hall (Saló del Tinell) where the explorer Christopher Columbus was received at his return of his first trip to America in 1493. Fascinating Museum, defintely worth visiting. https://visitmuseum.gencat.cat/en/muhba-museu-d-historia-de-barcelona
The oldest church in Barcelona
Sant Pau del Camp is the name of this magnificent ancient church from the 10th century. It is located in the Raval district, and it was a Benedictine monastery located outside the city, for this reason it is called "del Camp" which literally means "of the field". In the XIV century the Medieval walls were expanded, and the monastery started to form part of the city. Even if it suffered many attacks and damages throughout the centuries, we can still appreciate ancient original elements, such as the Visigoth marble capitals of the columns at the main portal. Nowadays, it is not a monastery anymore, the monks left it in the middle of the XIX century, after the so-called "Desamortización de Mendizábal". After this event, it was used for different purposes: first as a school, then as a military barracks, until it was declared a national monument in 1879.
Beautiful modernist balcony in Palau de la Música
The access to this kind of "vertical garden is from the room that was used as foyer, at the first floor of the Palau de la Música Catalana. The columns are decorated with mosaics and the images recall a great variety of flowers and plants. Every column has a different decoration. There are two lines of columns so that people can have a different perspective, as they give a stronger sense of depht.