Strolling through the Gothic
Route through Medieval Barcelona. Located in the Ciutat Vella district, the Gothic Quarter is the oldest nucleus and one of the most beautiful areas of Barcelona.
The neighborhood is delimited by Las Ramblas, Vía Laietana, Paseo de Colón and Plaza de Cataluña and attracts thousands of tourists daily in a maze of medieval alleys. We will start the tour on the Ramblas next to Plaça de Catalunya. This walk was an old torrent that channeled the water to the sea and was the limit of the old medieval city, since the 13th century wall passed through here.
A century later the city was expanded, building a new wall beyond the Rambla.
It was still an area of orchards, markets and fairs. Its urbanization came with the demolition of the medieval walls in the 19th century.
Medieval Barcelona originated on the remains of the Roman Barcino, led to the construction of Gothic churches and palaces that caused the disappearance of the previous Romanesque remains. The streets of medieval Barcelona make up an ideal setting to enjoy the city center without haste, a real pleasure.
What to see ?
The Gothic quarter has numerous tourist attractions such as the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, the Plaza de Sant Jaume, where the Palau de la Generalitat and the consistory are located, or the carrer del Bisbe that connects the Plaza Sant Jaume with the cathedral. The Plaza Real, near the Ramblas or the Plaza del Rey, seat of the Royal Palace that houses part of the Museum of the History of the city.
Plaza Nova, one of the oldest in the city, still preserves two ancient Roman towers. In addition to the Cathedral, in Plaça Nova we find La Pia Almoina (15th century), an institution that offered food and aid to the poor, today houses the Diocesan Museum. In the Episcopal Palace a gallery from the s. XIII on its first floor.
Churches such as Santa María del Pi, dedicated to the Virgin or Sant Felip de Neri, the church of Sant Just i Pastor or the one dedicated to La Mercé, patron saint of the city, are other interesting buildings to visit.
The Palau de la Generalitat, which retains its original 15th-century Gothic façade on Carrer del Bisbe, stands out for its gargoyles and, especially, the one that represents the princess of the Sant Jordi legend. Let us remember that he saved the princess from a ferocious dragon that frightened the population, Sant Jordi ended the life of the beast, and from the dragon’s blood grew a beautiful rose.
In this street we find a bridge with a beautiful balcony of gothic inspiration. It is actually a neo-Gothic arch (1928) linking the Palau de la Generalitat with a religious building, the Casa dels Canonges.
The Casa Ardiaca and the Royal Palace
Another example of noble residence can be found in La Casa de L’Ardiaca, (XV century). Its inner courtyard is one of the most beautiful corners of the area, and part of the 1st century BC Roman wall appears in it.
Of the Royal Palace, the Saló del Tinell stands out, or the Throne Room that houses a model that helps to understand what medieval Barcelona was like. Next to it, the Palau del Lloctinent, (s. XVI) was to be the seat of the viceroy, and was finally the seat of the Inquisition. Today it houses the Archive of the Crown of Aragon.
Sant Jaume and Portal del Ángel
In this area, and despite the fact that the Jewish quarter (El Call Jueu) was abolished more than 600 years ago, it is still possible to find some vestiges, such as the Church of Sant Jaume, first synagogue and later transformed into a church and convent for Jewish converts.
Calle del Portal del Ángel is one of the most important commercial arteries in the city.
The main access to the Cathedral and the Cloister from Bisbe street have stairs.
People with reduced mobility can access the temple through the left side door in Plaça de Sant Iu, although a mobile ramp must be requested in advance.
The itinerary through the interior of the Cathedral and the cloister does not present notable difficulties, although the access to the chapels presents steps.
It does not have adapted toilets.
There are audio guides in different languages. They are not designed for the visually impaired and do not contain audio descriptions.
In the cloister of the Cathedral there is an audio that explains and describes the space to visitors.
Access for people with reduced mobility is located on Calle Santa María, with a mobile ramp that allows access with some ease.
The rest of the entrances have architectural barriers.
Inside the temple there are protruding elements that could imply a risk of blows for people with visual impairment. Access to the chapels has steps.