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). 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. Antoni Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner y Josep Puig i Cadafalch were the principal exponents of Catalán Modernism.

Buy tickets for Gaudí's masterpieces and skip the line

 
 
Torre de les Aigües del Besòs
Other buildings and emblematic monuments
Poblenou

The Water Tower del Besos was built in the 1880s funded by industrialist Xavier Camps and with the project by the architect Pere Falqués.

Castell dels Tres Dragons - Domènech i Montaner
Modernist buildings & monuments
Ciutat Vella - La Ribera / Born

The Castell dels Tres Dragons (Castle of the Three Dragons), 1887-1888, is a building of brick battlements decorated with ceramic coats of arms was

Palau del Baró de Quadras
Modernist buildings & monuments
Eixample Dreta

The Palau del Baró de Quadras (1904-1906) has two different facades, on one side a neo-gothic palace and the other a modernist building.

Casa Macaya (Enfo CC BY-SA 4.0)
Modernist buildings & monuments
Eixample Dreta

An elegant mansion (1901)  with a large patio, today a centre of "La Caixa", a Barcelona bank, EspaiCaixa, for Social activities and sustainable de

Llotja de Mar Barcelona (Orgu24 cc-by-20)
Medieval buildings & monuments
Ciutat Vella - La Ribera / Born

Magnificent gothic room (1352-1357) with three naves which can be seen from the large windows of the ground floor of the current building of neocla

Saló del Tinell (Mark.thurman92 CC BY-SA 3.0)
Medieval buildings & monuments
Ciutat Vella - Barri Gòtic

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

Palau Güell
Modernist buildings & monuments
Ciutat Vella - El Raval

The Palau Güell, an urban residence built between 1886 and 1890 for the family of Eusebi Güell Bacigalupi, is located at  Carrer Nou de la Rambla.

Pages