Capturing the essence of Ciutat Vella, Barcelona

Exploring Ciutat Vella, the oldest district of Barcelona and wandering through its different neighbourhoods was an experience that really helped me get a feel of the urban culture of this bustling Catalan city.

Ciutat Vella comprises of four neighbourhoods: La Barceloneta, El Raval, El Gòtic and Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i La Ribera. It also has La Rambla- the (in)famous avenue that dissects through the old district with El Raval on one side and El Gòtic on the other. This street has always had more than its fair share of petty crime, naive tourists, overpriced products, and unwarranted client solicitation. The seediness continues into the adjacent suburb of El Raval, which gives it a distinctly urban, gritty feel. 

LA RAMBLA
Always busy. You can never be careful enough.
FROM THE STREETS OF EL RAVAL
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The neighbourhood of ‘El Raval’ is home to lots of immigrants and one can easily see their diverse identities being stamped on this neighbourhood.
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Lots of urban grunge juxtapositioned with old architecture defines this area.
MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Contemporary Arts Museum of Barcelona)
Tapas time!
Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu (14th century): Barcelona’s first hospital to admit female patients was also the biggest of its time. Incidentally, it also became the place where Gaudí passed away.
Notice the red and yellow striped Catalan flag.
La Boqueria
Mercat de la Boquería- old Barcelona’s famous market, full of fresh produce and artisanal products.
Although an exhilarating experience, just watch out for your purse. Make sure the money you lose is in exchange of buying these yummy goods.
A WALK THROUGH ‘EL BARRI GÓTIC’, OR ‘THE GOTHIC QUARTER’
El Barri Gótic is the oldest part of Ciutat Vella, founded as early as 10 to 15 BC i.e. during the Roman times. As you walk through this neighbourhood, you will come across many structures predominantly of Gothic style, hence giving the neighbourhood its name.
Basílica de Santa María del Pí
Basílica de Santa María del Mar
Glorious stained glass windows- an giveaway of Gothic architecture
PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA AND ARC DE TRIOMF
Parc de la Ciudatella- the second largest green zone of Barcelona after the mountain of Montjuic.
Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf was modelled after L’Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile in Paris, although its design derived some inpiration from Southern Spain’s Moorish past. It was constructed for 1888 Barcelona World Fair as the main entrance gate.
LA BARCELONETA
The man made beaches of Barcelona: these beaches were only constructed when the city decided to host Olympics in 1992. They are very popular though- with around 7 million people visiting them each year.

El fin.

Does this give you enough FOMO to visit Barcelona? If not, check out my other Barcelona post about some of the most stunning architectural examples of Antoni Gaudí- a Catalan master artist who left a special mark on this beautiful city.

Cover photo: Basílica de Santa María del Pi

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