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Barcelona Gothic Quarter

Jul 16, 2008
The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona - known to the locals as the Barri Gotic is the true centre of old Barcelona. The site was chosen by invading Roman armies about two thousand years ago to found a new town or colony. It has been the adminstrative centre of Barcelona ever since. It remains a popular part of this bustling city - both with locals and tourists alike.

Barcelonas old roman forum was on the same site that was later occupied by the ancient parliament of Catalonia and - later still - by the modern town hall. Not far away stand the amazing gothic cathedral and the royal palace - the scene of the welcome home party for Christopher Columbus as he returned from the new world in 1492. You can find the monument erected to mark his success at the other end of Las Ramblas - down by the beach.

The cathedral is a largely medeival building with a nineteenth century facade and spire. Its treasures include ancient catalan paintings and dramatic carved gothic cloisters and choir stalls. The martyred Saint Eulalia lies beneath the main altar and the whole buidling is full of drama and colour.

Barcelonas town hall was first built in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The famous statue of The Three Gypsy Boys stands in the entrance hall and the building has retained many of its historic features - both internally and externally.

Nearby stands the Palau de la Generalitat - the Catalan parliament building. This building has superb gothic features including an ancient chapel and a stone staircase that rises to a high arcaded gallery.

You can still see parts of the old Roman city wall and the cities historical archives are to be found in the Archdeacons house or Casa de L'Ardiaca - an ancient building standing right on the roman wall.

Other Gothic Quarter highlights are the museum dedicated to Frederic Mares and the Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat. The latter houses the most extensive - and most impressive - underground Roman ruins in the world. If you visit then you can see and walk the streets of Roman Barcelona - and visit an exhibition dedicated to how the city grew in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

Barcelonas Gothic Quarter is also popular for its restaurants and bars - and there are a number of apartments to rent for tourists and locals alike.

The Barri Gotic lies just off Las Ramblas - one of the world's most famous streets. A stroll down it with its tree shaded central area lets you walk all the way to the seafront beach area - taking in the shops, cafes and mansions as you go. The name Las Ramblas or Les Rambles in Catalan comes from the Arab word Ramla - which means the dried up bed of a seasonal river.

The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is a great place to spend a day - just enjoy the atmosphere and feel the mingle of modern and ancient history before settling down for Tapas and wine in one of the many small bistro style restaurants nearby.
About the Author
Gary Hill is a travel journalist from Scotland. He has a special interest in Europe vacations and his writing career started after one night in Paris in the nineteen seventies - dont ask! He now lives and works for part of the year in Barcelona.
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