Narrow stone-paved streets, old shops, souvenirs, cosy cafés and historic buildings: that is what the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona represents for most of its visitors. However, while strolling along this labyrinth, they ignore they are secretly admiring the remains of the medieval and roman past of the city, a previous era that stays alive in between those walls.
There are some architectonic pieces which carry a strong significance in the history of Barcelona (www.bcn.cat), the reason why you must go see them in order to understand better the present of the city. Below are our suggestions.
Basílica of our Lady of Mercy, patroness of Barcelona
This small church is in a somewhat hidden place of the Catalan capital, not really accessible and frequently forgotten by those who simply pass by heading to the Ramblas, Barceloneta Beach or El Borne. Nevertheless, the “Basílica de la Mercè” (www.basilicadelamerce.cat) awaits, with a majestic statue of the patroness of Barcelona on its roof and behind the last medieval walls preserved in the area, as if time did not exist.
El portal del Ángel, a legend turned into a shopping street
During war periods, Barcelona’s people went through great suffering, which included plagues and chronic diseases which made its population decrease considerably in number. It is believed that, then, an angel appeared on top of one of the main entrances to the city walls to help them out and, as a matter of fact, a statue symbolising it can still be found in that very same place of this street.
“The angel’s entrance” in Barcelona is nowadays one of the trendiest shopping areas in the city, and international stores like H&M, Mango, Desigual and Bershka can be found in it. Moreover, the popular Spanish department stores “El Corte Inglés” (www.elcorteingles.es) are just few minutes away on foot, right next to Plaça de Catalunya.
Barcelona’s Town Hall or Casa de la Ciutat
It does not matter if you ask locals for directions to the Ayuntamiento (Spanish) or the Casa de la Ciutat (Catalan), you will be directed towards the city’s town hall building. This is another precious remain of the medieval past of Barcelona and, today, it hosts most major political events taking place. But… what is the extra appeal of the area? The square and the nearest streets are filled with bars and restaurants, so we advise you to visit at lunch time. Enjoy!