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Walking Tour of Barcelona - Gothic Quarter
This, approximately 2 hour tour, takes in the Quarter's most important structures. Begin at the Placa Nova where you'll see remnants of the Roman wall. As you pass onto Carrer del Bisbe you are crossing the threshold that was the city's oldest entrance gate. The first building on the right is the Palau Episcopal (Bishop's Palace), whose 18th century portal opens onto an attractive courtyard with Romanesque construction below and Gothic above.

Now take Carrer Santa Llucia to the Capilla de Santa Llucia (8-1:30, 4-7:30), a vestige of the 11th century Romanesque cathedral preceding the current one. Exiting the chapel at the fare side, you'll find yourself in the cathedral cloisters. Enter the cathedral through the door by the fountain and exit from the main entrance.

Turn right up Carrer dels Comtes (look up to see some Gothic Gargoyles) and right again down Carrer de la Pietat behind the cathedral. Leading off to the left is Carrer Paradis where at No. 10 is the Center Excursionista de Catalunya, You can see several Roman columns in the courtyard, remnants of the city's largest Roman temple, honoring Augustus. Return to Carrer de la Pietat and continue to the left behind the cathedral.

Continue along Carrer del Bisbe to Placa de Sant Jaume where you'll find the Palau de la Generalitat, seat of the regional Catalan government, whose main 16th century Renaissance facade faces the plaza and the Casa de la Ciutat (City Hall), whose 19th century neoclassic facade supersedes a Gothic one. To the left off Carrer de la Ciutat runs the narrow Carrer d'Hercules, leading into Placa Sant Just. Notice the 18th century mansions with the graffito decoration and the Sants Just Church.

Now turn left onto Carrer Dagueria and cross Carrer Jaume I and Carrer de la Llibbre-Teria and continue along Carrer Freneria. Turn right onto the Baixada de Santa Clara and you'll soon find yourself in the Placa del Ret, where you'll find the Palau Reial Major, former residence of the counts of Barcelona and the kings of Aragon, the salo del Tinell where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand received Columbus upon his return from the New World, and the Capilla de Santa Agueda, built atop the Roman wall and featuring a beautiful 15th century retablo.

Turn right on Carrer del Veguer to the Museu de la Historia de la Ciutat (Tu-Sa 9-8PM, Mo 3:30-8PM, Su 9-1:30). Housed in a 15th century mansion moved here stone by stone from Carrer Mercaders, this museum features below-ground excavations of Roman and Visigothic remains and a veritable maze of municipal memorabilia. Returning to the Baixada de Santa Clara, turn right on Carrer dels Comtes. Alongside the cathedral in the Placa De Sant Ju is the Museu Frederic Mares (Tu-Sa 10-5, and Su 10-2). It houses the impressive collection of antiquities and curios of Mares, a Catalan sculptor. At the far end of the exterior courtyard is a section of Roman wall. This completes the walking tour of the old Gothic Quarter.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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