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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).

entrance barcelona plague statue saint roch walking tour

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