You have to know that in addition to those of Catalunya, Espanya and Universitat, Barcelona has wonderful squares like Sant Felip Neri, Prim, Pi, Sant Jaume, Virreina, Dels Angels, Eivissa Square, Sant Pere de Puel.les and the Sant Agustí Vell. Today we will write about them, so you can know them and include them in your visit to the city.
You will be surprised by their charm and their stories.
Sant Felip Neri
Plaça Sant Felip Neri, name of the Baroque church that is there, is a romantic corner of the Gothic Quarter, in the area of the Jewish Call. In one of the walls of the Renaissance houses that form it you can see the signs of the bombs of the Spanish Civil War. But the place is a haven of silence and peace with its two acacias, its fountain and the terrace of a hotel.
Prim Square in Poblenou
In the Poblenou we find the Plaça Prim built in 1856 and dedicated to General Prim. Despite the transformation of the neighborhood, the place has been preserved almost intact with leafy fig trees behind which we see the facade of one of the most emblematic restaurants of Barcelona: Els Pescadors. The whole corner speaks about the Mediterranean Sea just located a few streets away.
The Pi Square or Plaça del Pi, the ♥ of the Gothic Quarter
Our walk along the Barcelona Square leads to the Old City. The Plaça del Pi is surely named after the pines that were centuries ago in this area of orchards and streams, with a Roman road that reached one of the entrance gates to the city. The documents attest to the existence here of a Christian temple in the year 965. From that old construction on the other side of the wall derives the present church that rises between two squares and some pines that, without being the original ones, are very old and fill of charm the place. The hustle and bustle of the neighboring Ramblas does not penetrate this haven of peace that, until recently, had shops inherited from the medieval tradition: fabrics, baskets, knives … transformed into restaurants and leisure establishments.
Sant Jaume Square, el center of the power
The Plaça de Sant Jaume owes its name to the medieval church built at this point. Later, the streets that cross it increased the importance of the crossing. This spot, very close to where they have found the Roman ruins of the temple to Augustus, has ended up being the center of power of the city. In one of its buildings the councilors of the city met and finally the construction of what we know today as Palau de la Generalitat was decided. On the other side of the square, we find another imposing building, the City Hall of Barcelona which has been remodeled over time. The current aspect dates back to 1840 when it was called Constitution Square.
Barcelona Squares, let’s go to Gracia
We now take a leap to the neighborhood of Gracia to visit the Plaça de la Virreina to enjoy a vermouth in its quiet and pedestrian environment. Some neighbor will still remember that they called it Plaza de Sant Joan because of the church that was built at the end of the 19th century. The origin of its name goes back to a set of farmhouses and farms of the XVIII century that were property of the Viceroy of Peru. Finally, he dies and his young wife inherits it, hence the feminine nomenclature. In 1878, the square was urbanized by the architect Josep Artigas. It has always been a simple square, with low houses for workers of which there is some standing example. At one end of the square, the sculpture called Ruth by Josep María Camps stands out.
Angels Square or Plaça dels Angles, the symbol of the Raval.
The Plaça dels Àngels is located in El Raval and combines the space of social encounter with the location of important places of culture of the city: the MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona), the CCCB (Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona) , the FAD (Foment de les Arts i del Disseny) and some facilities of the Universitat de Barcelona. Its name is very curious because it belongs to a building that was there but is no longer there. It was a 15th century extramural chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Angels that, in 1868, was extended with the construction of a convent. Curiously, the parish moved to the intersection of Valencia and Balmes streets in the Eixample leaving the name of the square with some buildings that have been converted.
At night it becomes an impromptu skater’s trail. This is probably the most modern and trendy of all the Barcelona Squares.
Plaza Eivisssa and the Horta Charm.
Horta was, like Gracia, a town that was annexed to the city in the form of a neighborhood in 1907. Today, from the old town, there are a handful of streets around Plaça Eivissa. Also known as Plaça del Progres and Plaça del Mercat, it is traced from a 1700 building. It was the place where the peasants were going to sell their products and it was the origin of a tram line. Currently, we easily arrive by Metro to taste some good tapas at the Quimet Bar, founded in 1927.
Sant Pere del les Puel·les. From Horta to la Ribera.
The Plaça de Sant Pere de les Puel·les, or de les Puelles, was the location of a very important Benedictine monastery that was built in the 10th century. Many historical events took place inside and outside its walls. Two fires, the one in 1909 during the Tragic Week and the one in 1936 during the Civil War, affected the building that was restored in 1945. We are in the heart of the Sant Pere neighborhood and the bell tower that has survived fills the air with the sound of its six bells. Several bars give rest and refreshment to visitors. There is no trace of the nuns, daughters of bourgeois families of the city, who lived in this monastery, but it is undoubtedly a corner with a very special energy.
Sant Agusti Vell, the medieval charm.
A feature that shares with another neighboring square, that of Sant Agustí el Vell, as being the enclave of a convent of Augustinian friars in 1309. It retains a mixture of medieval and eighteenth-century environment that is irresistible. The perfect end for a walk around the Barcelona Square would be a stop at one of its bars, to imagine the neighborhood life through time around its fountain or near the walls of the convent, nowadays very well restored.