Barcelona is a city full of secrets, and the Gothic Quarter is one of the most enigmatic area in this sense. All these secrets are just waiting for you to discover. Do you want to explore them?
First of all, you should know that the best way to discover the secrets of the Gothic Quarter is walking around the streets, get lost on purpose and observe everything. The Gothic Quarter is the center of the old city, where many buildings date from medieval times, and some of them remain there from the Roman settlement of Barcelona. It is a labyrinthine space, with many small streets and little squares. Walking in this area is the best way to enjoy them. You can do it alone, or if you want, you can take a guided tour, too. A lot of companies offer general or thematic guided tours through the Gothic Quarter.
Having been introduced that, you should know that the Gothic Quarter holds some of the most beautiful squares in Barcelona: Plaça Sant Felip Neri, Plaça Reial, Plaça del Pi, Plaça del Rei, Plaça dels Traginers… You cannot miss them! Each square has its own history and background… Did you know that the scars of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) can be seen in the Sant Felip Neri square? Did you know that the façade of the old building in front of the church in Plaça del Pi has the oldest sgraffiti in Barcelona, from the XVIII century?
Few people know that in the Gothic Quarter you can find some of the oldest elements of the city, too. A candle shop called Cereria Subirà is the oldest shop in the city, located in Baixada de la Llibreteria number 7. It was founded in 1761. Not so far from this shop, in a street called Sant Domènec del Call, there is the oldest house in Barcelona, occupied from the XII century. In the Gothic Quarter there is the oldest fountain in the city, too. Its name is Santa Anna, and it was built in 1356, where it was a watering trough for the animals. Finally, Can Culleretes is the oldest restaurant in Barcelona and Catalonia, and the second in Spain. 228 years serving food to musicians, actors, “toreros”, politicians… It is located in a street called Quintana, number 5.
As you explore the Gothic Quarter you will come across another of the city’s best-kept secrets: the four columns from the Temple of Augustus. They are hidden in a building on carrer Paradís, and they have survived the passing of time there for more than 2.000 years!
To conclude this article, we would like to talk about one of the symbols of the Gothic Quarter and its history. It is the Bridge over a street called Carrer del Bisbe. This bridge is not a hidden secret: most tourists visit it. However, most of them do not know its story! There are a lot of legends about it: you cannot look at the skull beneath, it is a sign of bad luck; you cannot extract the dagger beneath because the Old city will fall down… We do not know if these legends are true, but we are sure that they are only 80 years old! Although it seems a very old Gothic construction, the reality is that it was built in the 20s of the twentieth century.
These are only some of the hidden secrets in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. In future articles we will explain more! For the moment, we invite you to visit our booking website, where you will find a lot of hotels in Barcelona center: Mercer, Neri Hotel (in Plaça Sant felip Neri), Catalonia Avinyó, Petit Palace Opera Garden, Barcelona Catedral… Get ready for discovering the Gothic Quarter!