Barri Gótic, the old town distric known as the Gothic Quarter for the treasure house of Gothic monuments found there, occupies what was formerly an ancient fortified Roman village. It is the site of both historic monuments and modern institutions. Our itinerary begins at the Plaça Nova with its twin semicircular towers of the well-preserved Roman walls. Approaching the Cathedral, another portion of the wall the beginning as well as of the aqueduct which transported water from the Collserola hills. Taking Avinguda de la Catedral, we arrive at the Pla de la Seu with its steps leading up to the Cathedral(1), a Gothic structure dating from the 14th and 15th centuries with a 19th century neogothic façade. The cloister, the ogival ribbed vaults, the pulpit and choir stalls are the most remarkable artistic features. The Cathedral complex also comprises three medieval palaces: Cases dels Canonges(2), Casa del Degà, with its restored Renaissance façade, and Casa de l'Ardiaca(3) (Archdeacon's house), the most interesting one of the three with its flamboyant Gothic architecture.
Returning to the Av. de la Catedral, we take C. Tapineria along an impressive section of the Roman wall to get to Plaça de Ramon Berenguer el Gran(4), one of the most spectacular places in Old Barcelona, with its Roman walls and broken section of the old Palau Reial Major(5) wall with a 40 meter bell tower. In the square there is an equestrian statue of Ramon Berenguer III.
Beyond the square, the street of C. Sots-tinent Navarro takes us via C. Llibreteria to the Plaça del Rei. Designed as a complete unit, it is the most noble square in Old Barcelona. Facing the square are the Palau Reial Major (Royal Palace), Chapel of Santa Ágata(6), and the Museu d'Història de la Ciutat(7) (City's History Museum). The Palau Reial Major (11th-14th centuries) was originally a Romanesque building with Gothic additions. Our attention is drawn to the great hall called the Saló del Tinell, supported by six stone semi-circular arches.
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We then proceed to C. Paradís, where we find an old millstone embedded in the pavement which points to the summit of the small hill called Mons Taber, just in front of the building housing the Catalonian Excursionist Center. In the patio there are four Corinthian columns belonging to the old Roman temple of Emperor Augustus. The street soon leads to the Plaça de Sant Jaume, administrative center of the city and site of the Palau de la Generalitat(8), a 15th century Gothic structure with a Renaissance façade. The imposing interior staircase, the orange tree courtyard and the chapel of Sant Jordi (St. George) are exceptional features. The 14th century Adjuntament(9) (Town Hall), with its celebrated Saló de Cent (Room of the hundred), features a Gothic façade, facing the street of C. Ciutat, and the main neoclassic one, facing Plaça de Sant Jaume.
Taking C. Ciutat and C. Hércules, we arrive at the Plaça de Sant Just, one of the places which best preserves the character of Old Barcelona, with its Gothic fountain and the 13th century Palau Moixó(10). On C. Bisbe Caçador, we encounter the largest private palace that existed in Medieval Barcelona and the Gothic Church of Sans Just i Pastor(11), with a single nave and interesting polychrome reliefs on the keystones of the vaults. Taking the streets of C. Gegants, where we find the 16th century Palau Centelles(12), a predominately Gothic opening in the façade and an important Gothic staircase covered by a portico in the courtyard.
Now walk down C. Sant Miquel and turn right at C. Avinjó which leads to C. Banys Nous and C. Palla, limit of the old jewish Quarter, or Call. In this sector there are several very old houses, the lovely, peaceful square Plaça Sant Felip Neri(13), and the Church of Sant Sever with its priceless Baroque altarpiece.
From C. Banys Nous we proceed on C. Ave Maria to the Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol(14) and to the nearby beautiful and harmonious square of Plaça del Pi. In the Plaça del Pi we find the solemn church of the same name with a rose window noted for being the largest in the world. In the two squares there are weekly art and antique markets, and on the nearby C. Petritxol, various antique shops. A walk down this old-fashioned street with its famous "granjas" (establishments which serve coffe or hot chocolate with bakery delights), as well as the parallel street of C. Pi, is almost as fascinating as visiting the nearby monuments.
Metro: Line 4 (Jaume I)
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