Barcelona, like lots of elder cities in Europe, has layers upon layers of living history. From first settlement scraps, paved Roman streets, medieval oddities, Renaissance flair to modern erm, flair?, it’s own unique look has been tempered by over 2000 years of city building.
The architecture is mainly medieval and wander down little streets that have stonework put there centuries before hand. La Catedral, a masterpiece of Catalan Gothic, has a 19th century facade but the rest remains medieval. More on that later…
There were people living in Barcelona before the Romans, but little remains of that particular culture. Rome had a rather bad habit of chewing up and absorbing local culture, until the bits that were left were now ‘Roman’. The best way to really see Roman Barcino and the subsequent layering is under the stones of the Catedral and nearby palace, which is now part of the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona. The museum is a definitely worth it and it’s free on the first Sunday of the month. It shows the evolution of Barcino from Roman to medieval to Renaissance. You start underground, walking around a Roman street, with fish shops, laundries and wine stores. I really liked the way that it was evident how much layering had gone on, bits of one building using the others as foundation – the Bishop’s palace in particular. Stones with Latin on them used as corner stones and to complete arches.
The faded grandeur of the rooms that are being used is lovely, Mum & I wandered into an exhibition on the textile history of Catalonia, on display in a magnificent hall with stained glass windows and gothic architecture.
On our final morning, we found the four remaining columns of the Temple of Augustus. tucked away in one of the narrow streets in the Barri Gotic area near the Catedral, it’s worth visiting for the scale & size of what the temple must have been like. A nice way to round off a visit that covered so many different aspects of Barcelona.