Barcelona's architecture

Barcelona, cities into the city. History.

The Roman city: Barcino, the first Roman township, was founded at the end of the first century B.C. However the name Barcino dates from an earlier settlement possibly dating from the first half of the 1st millennium B.C.. Roman Barcino was a small city of about 100 hectares bounded by walls 2 metres thick. The walls were strengthened and the height increased in the 3rd century A.D.. Impressive stretches of the walls remain notably parallel to Via Laietana at Plaça Ramon Berenguer. To the right of the cathedral, twin towers of the Portal de l'Angel flank the entrance to Carrer del Bisbe (note: street names are shown in italic and Catalan - Carrer is Catalan for street). The lower sections of these semi-circular towers are Roman. Much else remains buried under the medieval city. The Roman forum is believed to lie under the Plaça Sant Jaume. Nearby, at number 10 Carrer del Paradis, three columns of the Temple of Augustus can be seen in their original position, well below the present street level. Clearly a Roman back-water, Barcelona's periods of glory were still to come. Metro: Jaume I (Line 4).

Barcelona Gothic Quarter Guided Walking Tour

The medieval city: By the end of the 13th century Catalunya had grown rich on exports to the rest of the Mediterranean and as far as Flanders. This area of the city is known as the Barri Gòtic (Catalan), Barrio Gótico (Spanish) or Gothic Quarter.

The modern city: In the 19th century, two great events shaped the present Barcelona. In 1854 the Bourbon walls, built following the surrender to Felipe V in 1714, were torn down. This allowed the city the possibility to expand. In 1859 a competition for a town plan was won by Idelfons Cerdà, an engineer rather than an architect.

Cerdà's plan was an uncompromising grid of streets with three great avenues cutting across. Thus we have the layout of the present day Eixample (enlargement). Cerdà's stroke of genius was to cut the corners of each block at a 45º angle, to make small squares at the intersections which give light, space and air to what might have been an oppressive grid-iron.

It was not until the end of the century that work seriously started on filling in the grid with buildings. Fate allowed the happy conjunction of rich patrons, architects of genius, and unsurpassed craftsmanship. In the years before and after the start of the 20th century, Barcelona produced its version of art nouveau - modernisme.

Gaudi Tour by Bike

Antoni Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner y Josep Puig i Cadafalch were the principal exponents of Catalán Modernism. Each has an individual section which includes their most famous buildings.

The Agbar Tower is the third tallest building in Barcelona with 142 meters and 34 floors, after the Hotel Arts and the Mapfre Tower.

Type: 
New symbols of the city
Area: 
Sant Martí
Address: 
Avinguda Diagonal 211
Torre Agbar

The Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, dating from 1847, is located on the Ramblas, and regarded as an institution in the city for its cultural and social importance.

Type: 
Other buildings and emblematic monuments
Area: 
Ciutat Vella - El Raval
Address: 
Les Rambles, 51-59
Gran Teatre del Liceu

A Jewish community lived in the El Call quarter between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.

Type: 
Medieval buildings & monuments
Area: 
Ciutat Vella - Barri Gòtic
Address: 
Carrer Sant Domènech del Call

Next to the Roman city wall is the entrance to the house of the Archdeacon (Casa del Arcediano) from the XII.

Type: 
Medieval buildings & monuments
Area: 
Ciutat Vella - Barri Gòtic
Address: 
Carrer de Santa Llúcia, 1
La casa de l'Ardiaca

1380-1392. Magnificent gothic room with three naves which can be seen from the large windows in the ground floor.

Type: 
Medieval buildings & monuments
Area: 
Ciutat Vella - La Ribera / Born
Address: 
Carrer del Consolat del Mar 2

1359-1370. The roof of this huge hall is supported by rounded arches, where Christopher Columbus is said to have been received by the king after returning from America.

Type: 
Medieval buildings & monuments
Area: 
Ciutat Vella - Barri Gòtic
Address: 
Plaça del Rei 9

The exterior of the Santa Maria del Mar (1329-1383) offers a compact look that does not convey what we will find inside.

Type: 
Medieval buildings & monuments
Area: 
Ciutat Vella - La Ribera / Born
Address: 
Plaça de Santa Maria, 1
Santa Maria del Mar

1322-1486. A church with a single wide nave, enter from the Plaça del Pi or Plaça Sant Just Oriol.
Metro: Liceu (L3), Jaume I (L4)

Type: 
Medieval buildings & monuments
Area: 
Ciutat Vella - Barri Gòtic
Address: 
Plaza del Pi, 7
Santa Maria del Pi

1317-1441. The neo-gothic facade was added in the 19th century.

Type: 
Medieval buildings & monuments
Area: 
Ciutat Vella - Barri Gòtic
Address: 
Plaça de la Seu, s/n
The cloister of Barcelona Cathedral

1898-1900. Flemish architecture, with a typical step gable, inspired Puig i Cadalfach when asked to design a house for the Amatller family.

Type: 
Modernist buildings & monuments
Area: 
Eixample Dreta
Address: 
Passeig de Gracia 41
Casa Amatller

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