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The hidden squares of the Gothic Quarter

Escape the bustle of La Rambla in the Gothic Quarter’s maze of narrow streets. The Barri Gòtic is one of the city’s oldest and most atmospheric districts. This is where the Romans established the settlement of Barcino, from which Barcelona derives its name. While strolling through its medieval alleyways, you can easily imagine they were often a source of inspiration to the artists Picasso and Miró.

The steeple towers of La Seu and the cathedrals of Santa Creu and Santa Eulàlia dominate the skyline of the Gothic Quarter. From here, countless lanes and alleyways lead to the hidden, intimate plaças for which this district is so well-loved. Deep in the heart of the Barri Gòtic, centuries-old fountains, churches and houses relate the history of these squares. Set aside a leisurely afternoon to explore their rich past.

The medieval Gothic Quarter

Spain

Barcelona

The art market on ‘Pi’

Art on Plaça del Pi

Wood carvings, ceramics and painted panoramas of Barcelona: Plaça del Pi is the place to be for art lovers and collectors of unusual souvenirs. The leading lights of Barcelona’s artistic society assemble here, around the church of Santa Maria del Pi. This imposing gothic church immediately draws your attention with its large stained glass window, the colours of which are even more impressive from the inside. With its bars, restaurants and antique shops, this square is an ideal starting point for a tour of the Gothic Quarter.

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Plaça del Pi, Barcelona

The fountain on Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

Romantic square

Plaça de Sant Felip Neri is undoubtedly one of Barcelona’s most beautiful squares. On warm days, it’s nice to relax in the shade by the simple fountain or on a terrace with a chilled carafe of sangria. In the past, one of the square’s buildings accommodated the shoemakers' guild and it now houses a small shoe museum. The square’s baroque church is charming but local guides also have darker stories to tell as the battered walls are a reminder of the bombardment during the civil war.

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Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, Barcelona

The 14th-century fountain on Plaça de Sant Just

Ancient fountain

On Plaça de Sant Just, history is literally beneath your feet. The Sant Just i Pastor church on this square contains the relics of Barcelona’s first Christian martyrs. Its opulent interior and beautiful stained glass windows betray the fact that this church once served as Barcelona’s cathedral, until the construction of La Seu. Be sure to see the 14th-century gothic fountain on the corner of the square; in the past this was the only place where Jews and Christians were permitted to trade with each other.

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Plaça de Sant Just, Barcelona

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