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(English) Plaza de Sant Jaume, the administrative centre of Barcelona

By | 26 December, 2018 | 0 comments

Barcelona isn’t just a city that’s wholly modern and cosmopolitan, there are plenty of places all over the city that are bursting with history, including the wonderful Plaza de Sant Jaume. It’s the seat of all the main executive and administrative buildings in the city, with great historical importance dating way back to the Roman era when the Forum, the centre of Roman political life, was built on this very spot.


Found in the Gothic Quarter, Plaza de Sant Jaume – officially known as Plaça de Sant Jaume – is the executive centre of Barcelona. Hundreds of locals and tourists alike stroll through the square each and every day as they make their way onto the streets of the Gothic Quarter and towards all its main attractions, as well as accessing the many government buildings found here.

Originally named Plaza de la Constitución, this central part of the city was remodelled in 1823. It was once only a small enclave next to the cemetery of the Church of San Jaume, but in a bid to expand the space, the church was relocated to Calle Ferrán and a number of homes were demolished. The square stands out for its spaciousness in an area of crowded, narrow streets, and for the way it feels a world away from the busy traffic, even though the square itself is not pedestrianised. It is the perfect place to see the traditional Casteller performers, especially on bank holidays and protest days. Its two flagship buildings are the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona (City Hall) and the Palacio de la Generalitat.

Ayuntamiento de Barcelona

Its origins date back to 1369 and the creation of the Hall of Hundreds, even though the building itself only dates back to 1847. Its main façade is designed in the neoclassical style and retains the original structure, with the exception of the Patio de los Naranjos. In recent years, the building has undergone extensive renovation work, the most significant being the creation of 15 glazed floors adorned with aluminium to represent Barcelona’s coat of arms.

Palacio de la Generalitat

In the middle of Calle Obispo, San Severo and San Honorato, we find the headquarters of the government of the Generalitat de Catalunya. It’s a building created in several different styles, owing to the fact it has undergone a series of major renovation projects to adapt to new ways of life over the years. The main façade is Renaissance in style and was designed by Perei Blai, while the side of the building on Calle Obispo is Gothic, which you can also clearly see in the stairs and the patio.

A walk around Plaza de Sant Jaume is highly recommended for anyone visiting Barcelona. It helps you get to know some of the buildings of greatest value and beauty in the city, where you can see first-hand the history and monumental changes this place has seen over the years as the changing face of Barcelona.

Categories: barcelona

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