Barcelona Photoblog: barri gotic
Showing posts with label barri gotic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label barri gotic. Show all posts

July 16, 2023

Discover the Narrow Alleys of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter

the narrow alleys of Gothic quarter in Barcelona, Spain

Unveiling the Charm of Barri Gòtic

Explore the enchanting Gothic Quarter, also known as the Barri Gòtic, and discover the hidden treasures nestled within its narrow alleys. Stepping into this historic neighborhood feels like a journey back in time, where Gothic architecture and medieval ambiance permeate the winding streets. In this article, we will delve into the rich history of the Gothic Quarter, explore its narrow alleys, and understand why this part of town is appropriately called Gothic.

The Fascinating History of the Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic, is one of the most atmospheric and fascinating neighborhoods in Barcelona. It is a tangle of narrow streets, hidden courtyards, and ancient buildings.

As one of the oldest districts in Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter is steeped in centuries of history. Its origins can be traced back to the Roman era when the city, then known as Barcino, was established. However, it was during the Middle Ages that the area truly flourished. In fact, the barri gotic became the political and religious center of Barcelona, and it was home to the royal palace, the cathedral, and many other important buildings.

During this period, the walls of the Roman city were fortified for protection. The maze-like streets and alleys that now define the Gothic Quarter were a product of this transformation. The area became densely populated, with grand Gothic structures towering above narrow, winding lanes. The name "Gothic" derives from the architectural style predominant during the 12th and 13th centuries. However, the quarter also contains buildings from other periods, including Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque.

One of the most popular things to do in the Gothic Quarter is to simply wander around and get lost in the maze of streets. There are many hidden gems to discover, such as small shops, cafes, and museums. 

Unveiling the Gothic Charm

Today, the Gothic Quarter seamlessly blends history, culture, and modernity. Exploring its narrow alleys feels like entering a different world, where every corner reveals a story waiting to be discovered.

As you stroll through the maze of cobblestone streets, let the Gothic architecture take your breath away. Imposing structures adorned with intricate details evoke a sense of awe, reminiscent of a bygone era. Marvel at the soaring spires of the Barcelona Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece that stands proudly amidst the ancient streets. Lose yourself in the Gothic charm as you meander through the Calle Petritxol, known for its artisanal shops and traditional cafes, or the Carrer del Bisbe, a narrow alleyway adorned with breathtaking medieval passages.

Here are some of the sites and buildings that you must visit in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona:

  • Gothic Cathedral: This is the most important religious building in Barcelona, and it is one of the most impressive Gothic cathedrals in the world.
  • Roman Aqueduct & Temple: The remains of a Roman aqueduct and temple can be found near the cathedral.
  • Plaça Sant Jaume: This square was once the Roman forum of Barcelona, and it is now home to the Palau de la Generalitat and the Barcelona City Hall.
  • Plaça Reial: This square is known for its palm trees, Gaudi-designed lampposts, and central fountain. It is a popular spot for people-watching and nightlife.
  • Plaça del Rei: This square is home to the Royal Palace, the Mirador del Rei Martí, the Royal Chapel, and the Casa Padellàs. It is also the site of the main branch of the History Museum.
    Plaça del Rei Barcelona
  • Santa Maria del Pi: This basilica is a good example of Catalan Gothic architecture. It has a 54-meter-high octagonal bell tower that offers views of the old town.
    Santa Maria del Pi Barcelona
  • Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona: This synagogue is one of Europe's oldest. It is now a place of worship and the home of a small museum.
    Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona
  • Plaça Felip Neri: This square is well-hidden in the Gothic Quarter. It is known for its shrapnel-scarred walls and the tragic story of the bombing that took place here in 1938.
    Plaça Felip Neri Barcelona
  • Frederic Mares Museum: This museum houses a collection of sculptures, household objects, and artisan objects from the 19th century.
    Frederic Mares Museum Barcelona
  • Plaça George Orwell: This square is named after the author of Animal Farm and 1984. It was once a hangout for drunks and druggies, but it has since been cleaned up and is now a popular spot for people-watching.
    Plaça George Orwell Barcelona

Immersing in the Enigmatic Atmosphere

Beyond its architectural beauty, the Gothic Quarter offers an enigmatic atmosphere that captivates visitors. Allow yourself to get lost in the labyrinth of streets, and you will be rewarded with hidden squares and tucked-away corners that ooze charm. Plaza Sant Felip Neri, with its picturesque fountain and serene ambiance, provides a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Situated amidst ancient buildings, it also serves as a poignant reminder of the district's tumultuous past.

Barcelona's Gothic Legacy

The Gothic Quarter stands as a testament to Barcelona's rich and diverse history. Its architecture and narrow alleys offer a glimpse into the city's medieval past, while the modern shops and restaurants blend seamlessly into the historic district.

Immerse yourself in the timeless charm of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, a neighborhood that transports you to another era. Discover the narrow alleys that wind through its historic streets, where Gothic architecture and medieval ambiance evoke a sense of wonder. Unveiling the secrets of the Barri Gòtic is an experience that will leave a lasting impression, allowing you to appreciate the essence of this captivating district.

May 13, 2023

Unruled Mass Tourism or an Oasis in the Gothic Quarter?

Tourists in Sant Felip Neri square at Gothic quarter, Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason. With its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and delicious food, it's no wonder that people from all over the globe flock to this city every year.

However, mass tourism has its downsides. One of the biggest problems is that it can be overwhelming. The streets of Barcelona can be packed with people, making it difficult to move around or even find a place to sit down. This can be especially frustrating for those who are looking for a more peaceful and relaxing experience.

If you're looking for a way to escape the hustle and bustle of mass tourism, the Gothic Quarter is the perfect place for you. This historic district is located in the heart of Barcelona, and it's home to narrow streets, winding alleyways, and charming squares. It's the perfect place to wander aimlessly and get lost in the beauty of the city. Or was it?

Of course, the Gothic Quarter is not immune to mass tourism. However, it's much less crowded than other parts of Barcelona, and it's easy to find quiet spots to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. If you're looking for a more authentic Barcelona experience, the Gothic Quarter is the place to be. Unless you come across scenes like the one above which can happen every now and then when cruise ships unleash heavy loads of adventurous ‘predators’ on a hunting spree around the already strained city.

Nonetheless, let us look on the bright side of life! Here are some tips for enjoying the Gothic Quarter without the crowds:

  • Visit during the off-season. The Gothic Quarter is most crowded during the summer months, so if you can, try to visit during the spring or fall.
  • Get up early. The Gothic Quarter is much quieter in the morning before the crowds arrive.
  • Explore the side streets. The main streets of the Gothic Quarter are always crowded, but if you venture off the beaten path, you'll find much quieter areas.
  • Visit during the week. The Gothic Quarter is busier on weekends, so if you can, try to visit during the week.
  • Take a break from the crowds. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the crowds, take a break from the Gothic Quarter and explore other parts of Barcelona.

The Gothic Quarter is a beautiful and historic district that's well worth a visit. By following these tips, you can enjoy the Gothic Quarter without the crowds and experience the best of Barcelona.

However, no one said that escaping the stark reality by sticking one’s head in Barri Gotic like an ostrich in the sand is the final solution to our problems with tourism. Pretending not to see that Barcelona is losing its balance by suggesting visitors to spot an empty oasis is to do a favor to the apathy and incompetence of our local authorities.

If we want to enjoy the beauty of Barcelona streets doing justice to the peaceful atmosphere that its inhabitants had in mind when they built it then we should see that there are strict rules and laws to punish the bad actors so we can be good hosts to our visitors as we always have been.

The entrance to Sant Felip Neri square, Gothic quarter, Barcelona

March 11, 2013

Barri Gotic: Narrow Streets of Barcelona

Looking up at Barri Gotic
Alley in Barri Gotic, Barcelona

It is easy to walk down the streets of Barri Gotic and get lost in time.

Discovering narrow alleys along the way and contemplating how the perspective drawn by the lines of buildings lead your eyes into small figures that come and go, is certainly one of the most pleasing experiences for travelers that want to avoid the obvious touristic routes in Casc Antic (old city), Barcelona.

February 07, 2013

Offer of the Day, Barri Gotic Shop, Barcelona

Weird starwars shop manequin at Old Town, Barcelona

Now that the Carnival is starting in Barcelona, is not strange to see someone wearing costumes, in particular people disguised as Star Wars characters so if you come across this mannequin at the entrance of a shop in Carrer Arai, Barri Gotic (Gothic quarter) don't talk to it by mistake as it is probably just the offer of the day. In this case, the dress. I'd like to say that I find this kind of daring welcome more attractive than the classic stuff. Arai street is a very narrow street turning right at Carrer Avinyo.

September 17, 2012

Barri Gotic, Barcelona: Carrer Avinyo near El Call

Two nuns, carrer Avinyo, Gothic quarter, Barcelona

Here's Carrer d'Avinyó between Carrer Ferran and Carrer de la Lleona in Barri Gotic, Barcelona. Wandering down the streets of El Gotic, blindly meandering through the alleys, while being permeated by the mood, the charm of this historical part of the city, you get so detached that it is not really difficult to imagine how Barcelona used to be inside walls, and particular in this part of casc antic (old town) near the Jewish quarter. In fact, in XIII century the king allowed to open doors and windows in the Roman wall and the old perimeter of El Call (the Jewish quarter) expanded to include Carrers Avinyó and Banys Nous. In El Call de Barcelona lived about 4.000 people, approximately 15 per cent of the city population. Of course, there are the shops and many other anachronisms now but you get the idea. These two nuns in front of the Rent Shop at Avinyó 12 may be of help to reminisce.

July 22, 2012

Papier Mache Art: Famous Artists Display, Barcelona

Papier Mache figures of famous musicians in Barcelona shop

The art of creating papier mache figures or sculptures can be simple if we consider the materials used but the final work can be as difficult as your imagination and skills permit.

Many of us at a given moment of our childhood have had the opportunity to shape small figures by pasting glued strips of paper on a balloon, a cardboard model or an armature of some sort. The final result was not always artistically worthy but it surely proved to be fun.

For those of you who always wished to make a wonderful artwork in paper mache and never could, here is another good sample of exquisite papier-mâché reproductions of famous artists like John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Freddy Mercury...(the other guy looks like the Edge from U2 but I am not sure).

There is this store near Plaza Sant Jaume in Barcelona where it is possible to buy such art among other articles. It is not cheap but you would impress your friends at home for sure and of course it is the heck of a present if you can afford it.

Check many other examples of such figures in my previous posts: Papier Mache Barcelona. I've been asked so many times for the address of this shop that I will reluctantly post it here and make them free publicity in spite of the fact they always come out and stop me from taking pictures:

Shop name: 2 Bis
Adress: Carrer Bisbe, 2 - 08002 Barcelona

March 26, 2012

Tattoo Shop, Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Tattoo Shop, Barri Gotic, Barcelona [enlarge]

Becoming an intruder into somebody else's moment, sneaking into that magic instant that is no more and freezing it for posterity is one of the most thrilling experiences at least for me and I guess for anyone that enjoys photography. Walking down the narrow alleys of Barri Gotic, in a street whose name I can't recall, there was this small tattoo shop. The reflection of the man on the mirror and that green pouring out of the blinds really grabbed my attention. I had serious doubts as to whether to use black and white here and I can tell you it looks great but if color made me capture the scene in color it will go.

January 29, 2012

L'Ou Com Balla or The Dancing Egg, Barcelona Cathedral

L'Ou Com Balla or Dancing Egg in Barcelona Cathedral, Barri Gotic
L'Ou Com Balla tradition at Barcelona Cathedral, Barri Gotic, Barcelona

In the cloister of the Cathedral of Barcelona there is a beautiful fountain decorated with flowers that reminds you of idyllic gardens, of some paradise lost on earth.

It is the Sant Jordi fountain. Surfing over the soft cushion of its water jet once a year you can see a fragile eggshell that seldom falls which is called the L'Ou Com Balla, which translated literally from Catalan means how the egg dances or how dances the egg.

This is not the only place in Barcelona where you can find a dancing egg (there's one a la Casa de l'Arcadia or at Museum Frederic Mares' courtyard for example) but I think this is the one with more tradition, a tradition that goes back to the XIVth century and has to do with Corpus Christi celebrations, the eggshell itself representing the body of Christ.

The exact date to see L'Ou com Balla changes but it takes place at the end of May or in June depending on Corpus Christi Feast.

July 26, 2011

Bar Terrace at Sant Felip de Neri Square in Barcelona, Spain

Bar Terrace at Sant Felip de Neri Square in Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Bar terraces abound in Barcelona but not all of them are so quiet like this at Sant Felip de Neri square in Barri Gotic and that belongs to Hotel Neri. Besides the evident beauty of the whole square, the central fountain, the baroque church of San Felip Neri and all the history behind this mysterious and charming spot of Barcelona I have to mention that in this very spot you are watching in the picture, Woody Allen shot one the scenes of the Vicky Cristina movie. I haven't seen it and although I like his work I guess I didn't miss much, but I realize Woody has great taste for locations and for actresses like...Scarlett Johansson. With all due respect I don't like Pe. Watch this video featuring Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

July 05, 2011

Jack Nicholson in Papier Mache, Barcelona, Barri Gotic

Jack Nicholson in Paper Mache at Barcelona Shop

Yet another famous actor in papier mache at the same shop at carrer del Bisbe, near Plaça Sant Jaume in Barri Gotic, Barcelona, the one and only, Mr. Jack Nicholson with his eternal smile.

Dr. House who appeared in a very successful post here in Barcelona Photoblog in the past, has been moved as you see to a less favorable place in the display.

November 04, 2009

Placeta de Sant Francesc, Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Placeta de Sant Francesc, Barri Gotic, Barcelona [enlarge]

This is a tiny square, in fact it does not have width enough to be called so, along Carrer d'Aglà in Barri Gotic, Barcelona. Check the map below. There are some interesting bars on the area like Pilé 43 near Carrer dels Escudellers where you can have some mojitos and enjoy the retro decoration which is on sale by the way. But I digress. Most of all I wanted to include another front door street art sample in the neighborhood and perhaps highlight the beauty of the upper part of the image.

Placeta de Sant Francesc on Google Maps

September 24, 2009

Ancient Window, Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Ancient Window at Barri Gotic, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

This ancient window I found at Plaça del Pi in Barri Gotic, Barcelona. It is simple in design but attractive enough so as to deserve a picture. The thick wall was gray and boring so I decided to applied some lab color effect on it. The rope tied to the iron bar was a nuisance and I found out it was there just when I got home and checked the photographs in my PC.

September 23, 2009

Hieratic Paper Figure on Graffiti, Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Hieratic Paper Figure on Graffiti, Barri Gotic, Barcelona

To resume the street art series in Barri Gotic, Barcelona here you have another work with a rather hieratic paper figure on wooden surface adorned with some graffiti. I wish I knew about the artist but I don't. Check also Street Art in the Gothic Quarter.

September 15, 2009

Graffiti on Ancient Door, Casa de la Congregació de la Puríssima Sang, Plaza del Pi, Barcelona

Graffiti on Ancient Door [enlarge]

Well, not much. Some flashy graffiti on some Barri Gotic rickety door. An interesting combination of present and past considering in this case, that the door belongs to an ancient building. And there is where this spontaneous, beautiful artistic manifestation loses every righteous meaning and becomes insulting to the eye of anyone who respects Barcelona's cultural heritage. This magnificent door is located at Plaza del Pi number 1. It is one of the entrances to the Casa de la Congregació de la Puríssima Sang (House of the Congregation of the Holy Blood) built in 1342 upon Santa Maria del Pi church rectory. It was later remodeled in 1613 and 1789. On top of the door there is an encryption in Latin related to the activity of the congregation. I tried to google the meaning and not without some trouble I found this: "And I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and will kill every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast: and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments; I am the Lord and the blood shall be unto you for a sign in the houses where you shall be; and I shall see the blood, and shall pass over you; and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I shall strike the land of Egypt" Exodus XII (strange cause the encryption seems to read XI). Guess what, their mission was to offer spiritual support to those sentenced to death on their way to the scaffold. Early in the morning, members wearing black robes and hoods gathered in this very house to grab the Holy Christ figure and go for the condemned to start the walk towards their final destination. After the execution took place bodies were buried in the church graveyard which happened to be where the square is at present. So, going back to the start, and although the building is somehow neglected by authorities, do you think this graffiti has been drawn on the right place? Check the exact location on my Barcelona map.

September 14, 2009

Carrer Petritxol Street Sign, Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Historical tiled sign on Petritxol street Barcelona
Historic tiled sign at Petritxol street - Barcelona

Carrer Petritxol, is one of the most representative streets in Barri Gotic, Barcelona.

This famous 'carrer' stretches from Portaferrisa street (mentioned in the sign as the only exit for vehicles at the other end of the alley) and Plaça del Pi. It goes almost parallel to Las Ramblas (two blocks away) and it is definitely one of my favorites.

I showed a picture of Petritxol street here once and also referred to famous xocolata amb xurros (churros consist of dough which is later fried and powdered with sugar, preferably to be dipped in hot chocolate) served at La Pallaresa or at Dulcinea, Petritxol 2.

But this road is not only about the pleasant smell of chocolate, it is also about art and both modern and old boutiques:

The renown Sala Pares founded in 1840 and the center of Barcelona's artistic life by the end of XIX is the main art gallery at Petritxol 5. It is said that it was due to the presence of such galleries that the churro houses were established in the first place. The whole bohemian atmosphere is sustained by the presence of painters selling their work in the square nearby next to Santa Maria del Pi church.

Petritxol is more or less 2 meters wide on the Plaça del Pi side. The name probably comes from portitxol (Cat.) (small door) and its origin is connected perhaps to a negotiated access from Portaferrisa to the only Christian church that was left in Saracen times in the area.

Christians lived outside the wall in El Raval and had to walk a long way to a very early Mass that wouldn't interfere with Muslim morning prayers. A short and thus faster way would facilitate their attendance on time. It is said that an old priest found a hidden treasure left behind by the Christians and convinced the Emir into building the passageway. Believe it or not there was some sort of peaceful coexistence between Muslims, Christians and Jews at the times although all of this was about to change. The story behind the street is part of a legend so don't take my word on it.

Here is Calle de Petritxol on a map.

September 11, 2009

Archway Exit, Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Barri Gotic Carrer Tres Llits Barcelona
Carrer dels Tres Llits in the Gothic Quarter aka Barri Gotic in Barcelona

Given the recent success of Barri Gotic streets featured in Barcelona Photoblog I resume today this topic with a beautiful alley streaming into the arcades in the square back there.

I wandered through the whimsical labyrinth once woven by medieval architects and fascinated as I was I did not take down notes about the place.

After some patient analysis on google maps, I jump to the conclusion that this must be Carrer Tres Llits and that that square in the background is Plaça Reial. But then again, I am more interested in the architecture and the view.

It is always a pleasure to get lost in Barri Gotic during the day. If you are not familiar with the area watch out where you go at night although it is quite safe except for the usual pickpockets.

September 08, 2009

Door Knocker, Gothic Quarter, Barcelona

Door Knocker, Gothic Quarter, Barcelona [enlarge]

An old door knocker nailed into a much modern door. There are many like these in the Gothic quarter. Most often, the knocker has just come out of the foundry but I think this one has been around for some time now. As to the link to the pictures I made during my holidays, here are some of them although I have not finished uploading all the stuff: Cuba, Year 50 AC

September 06, 2009

Street Art in Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Street Art in Barri Gotic, Barcelona [enlarge]

Here's another sample of street art permanently exhibited for free, for everyone to see, spontaneous and refreshing, located in the narrow alleys of Barri Gotic. Each of you will interpret this artwork differently of course. I find there's a great contrast between the African and the white western world woman. The blond girl's nose is dripping something green, that maybe it is just what it is or maybe means she's crying, feeling sympathetic towards the poor for humanitarian reasons but with that stuck up, phony attitude of the rich when donating to the cause, with the sole intention of saving their soul or cleaning up their filthy conscience. I think the green snot and the big M in her mouth represent money. But then again that's just the way I see it and of course kind people there are everywhere, even in upper echelons of society.

August 18, 2009

Barri Gotic Street

Barri Gotic Street [enlarge]

With this image of a street in Barri Gotic I take a rest along the way till next Sept. Keep enjoying your holidays. I am trying to do the same :)

July 31, 2009

Cafe Babel: The Secret Charm of Small Barri Gotic Cafes

Cafe Babel - Barri Gotic [enlarge]

The narrow alleys of Barri Gotic in Barcelona's casc antic (old quarter) are studded with small bistros that have this sort of deceptive ramshackle appearance. Many of these, are rather mimetic and seem to come out of a lethargic dream when the last rays of the sun slowly disappear at the top of the weathered façades. An enthusiastic clientele of loyals and the usual newbies fluttering from place to place, storm the place to start over the life cycle of bohemian deja-vus. A good idea to attract the prey for the night kill is to use some flashy lure and that is where art comes alive. A nice painting on the metal rolling door sometimes can help the house keep a certain cultural aura that is well appreciated by customers and inadvertently contributes to the atmosphere of an otherwise dull street. Notice this pumping heart at Cafe Babel where all different bloods blend and gush out into one single stream probably an allusion to the famous biblical tower and the notion of a united humanity, speaking a single language. It is a very small place, with just a few tables but artistically decorated. To the sound of Nu Jazz you can enjoy a good menu or a nice drink (they even have absenta) either inside or at the quiet terrace across the street in the middle of Placa dels Traginers just below the remnants of the old city wall: check Plaça del Traginers - A Very Romantic Place an article by Sonia Martinez Argüelo at Barcelona Spotted by Locals which features a picture of Cafe Babel's terrace.
Web Analytics