We invite you to discover hidden places & best curiosities from Barcelona in a fun and easy way.
Take a look and follow one of our recommended free walking Gotic itineraries in Barcelona, created in collaboration with our partners from Itinerarium guides.
The Gotic Itinerary Perfect To Enjoy Barcelona City
- Font de Canaletes
- La Rambla, close
- Pl. Catalunya
- Mercat de la Boqueria
Estimated time: 60 – 75 min
1. Let’s celebrate!
Font de Canaletes – La Rambla, close pl. Catalunya
We will start in Font de Canaletes, here It is already a tradition to celebrate the triumphs and the titles of FC Barcelona in this emblematic fountain. But, why here?
In 1930, when other media were not available, a newspaper editorial office located in “La Rambla” wrote in a blackboard the football matches live scores. This situation gathered many supporters, with the aim to know Barcelona F.C’s results, who later celebrated the victory.
Fun fact: According to legend, those who wish to go back to Barcelona should drink water from this 16th-century fountain.
2. Welcome to Barcelona
Av. Del Portal de l’Angel – C/ de Fontanella
If we continue with our journey we will have to go back in time for a moment, back to the 1st century B.C. just at the beginning of this street, the main entrance to the Roman city of Barcelona (Barcino) was found, strictly following the timetables as follow:
- At 19:00 h. In the afternoon. A drummer gave notice of the door closing.
- At 5:30 h. At dawn, the door was reopened to the citizens.
In between those times, the entrance was not allowed, with the only exception at 3:00 h. At dawn. Then, the door was open to let the cleaning services in, who also picked up the corpses of the poorest families.
3. The Magic of Estruct’s street
C/ d’Estruc nº2
We have arrived at the Estruc street, here you will find a mysterious plaque that explains that in the 15th century, the well-known magician, Astruc Sacanera, lived in this street.
Mr. Astruct was known for commercializing a powerful remedy for rabies and poisoning caused by animal bites. This antidote was called “pedra escurçonera”.
Fun fact: The numbers in snake shape were used as a talisman to protect the neighborhood.
4. The poor friars
C/ d’Espolsa – Sacs
Beside the Estruc street we find the Espolsa – Sacs street, where during the 15th century, the windows of the Mont-Sió’s monastery overlooked the end of the street. That was where the monks, known as “The Friars of the sack”, lived.
These monks were characterized by austerity, to the point that they had to wear their habits in the shape of a sack. It was not allowed to wash them, so they could only shake them from the windows.
Fun fact: From this anecdote derives the Catalan noun “Espolsa-sacs”, which literally means to shake the sack, referring to the monks clothing.
Now we will go to the famous Palu de la Musica…
5. Gaudí’s influences
C/ Sant Pere Més Alt – C/d’Amadeu Vives
We are now in front of the “Palau de la Música”, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In this historic building, erected in 1909, the influence of the Catalan modernist architecture stands out. In particular, the “trencadís” technique, introduced by Antoni Gaudí.
Fun fact: “Trencadís” (Catalan term that might well be translated as “cut into pieces”) is a type of decorative application mosaic made from broken pieces of ceramic.
6. Sexual Abstinence
Via Laietana 43
If we continue discovering, we get to Via Laietana, a street located very close to the Palau de la Musica.
In the 14th century`s Barcelona, during the Easter week and for religious reasons, it was forbidden to have sex from spy Wednesday to Easter Monday.
During those days and with the purpose of not making men sin, prostitutes were transferred to Santa Clara’s convent, where they were hosted and fed.
Santa Clara`s convent was located on the current nº 43 Via Laietana, where today the police station can be found.
7. Roman Aqueduct
C/ duran i Bas – Pl. 8 de Març
If you continue Via Laietana you will get to a special square.
Not many years ago in this little square, by the time of some old homes` demolition, 4 original arcades from the Roman aqueduct, dating from the 1st century A.D., were discovered. Their function was supplying water to the city of Barcelona.
Despite that it was built almost 2000 years ago, it was such a work of engineering. Here is some detailed of its characteristic:
- Beginning: Besós River
- End: Plaça Nova
- Length: 6,1 Km
- Average arcade height: between 6 and 10 m.
8. Open – air Necropolis
Pl. de la Vila de Madrid
In this square, we find something interesting in the city of Barcelona.
It has a do with the only funerary relics located in their original place, due to the fact that the sediments of a small river covered them, and that enabled to preserve them over the centuries.
This burial ground, dating from the 1st century, was situated off the first city wall, given that the roman laws in those times forbade the burials within city for public health reasons.
Fun fact: The necropolis consists of 85 sepulchral elements of the time.
9. The Orphans turntable
C/ Ramelleres nº 17
Behind this simple hole on the wall, hundreds of stories of despair and helplessness are found.
The orphans’ turntable, which worked until 1931, was used to anonymously abandon babies. It was very recurred by single mothers or limited-resource families. Who decided to hand the newborns over the nuns.
The cavity that is found on the left of the turntable, was used to leave donations.
Fun fact: Nowadays, in some European countries, these turntables are still used.
10. Boqueria`s Market origins
Rambla dels Caputxins
You have arrived at the biggest market in Spain with more than 2500 m2 and more than 300 stalls.
However, its beginnings were not so promising, given that El Mercat de la Boqueria was born from the first tax evasions, in the year 1200. Traders met off the walls, where nowadays the market is found, with the purpose of saving taxes from entering the city, collected by the authorities.
We hope in this last stop you enjoy a good meal! At the mercat, you get to find so many good gourmet options.
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