Palau Requesens – Reial Acadèmia de les Bones Lletres
A Gothic palace built over the Roman wall
Built over part of Barcelona’s old Roman wall, this building is one of the city’s best-preserved Gothic palaces. Palau Requesens, in the Gothic Quarter, was the largest private palace in medieval Barcelona and is now home to the Barcelona Academy of Literature.
Why visit Palau Requesens?
Even though it was built in the 13th century and is medieval Barcelona’s largest private property, the Palau Requesens we see today is mainly in the Gothic style due to subsequent remodelling work probably undertaken in the 16th and 17th centuries. Located very close to the Basílica dels Sants Màrtirs Just i Pastor, in the Gothic Quarter, the salient feature of this palace is that it was built over part of the city’s Roman wall.
Two towers from the ancient wall are linked by a Roman arch, while another section of the fortification was perforated to expand the palace’s outbuildings, which were built over a wide equilateral arch that rises up from the ground.
Access to the palace is via a door at the end of Carrer del Bisbe Caçador that gives onto a Gothic courtyard, which was renovated in the 17th century and features a large staircase and one of the towers of the Roman wall. Under the stairs, a Roman arch provides access to a hall called El Tinellet due to its similarity to the Saló del Tinell, while on the piano nobile there is a Gothic gallery made up of two sections, each one with three equilateral arches with slender columns. In addition to the gallery, the piano nobile also contains the meeting room of the Acadèmia de les Bones Lletres de Barcelona. At the northern end there is a courtyard with a central pond surrounded by trees and a two-storey construction in the Neoclassical style.
The walls of the courtyard have Gothic mullioned windows with two or three lights, which were probably added during one of its renovations along with a gallery of prismatic columns and overhanging wooden ceilings added onto part of the Roman wall. The building, which is protected as a Cultural Asset of National Interest, was completely restored in 1970 and since 1972 it has been home to the Gallery of Illustrious Catalans.
How do you get to Palau Requesens?
For the most curious of you
- Did you know? The precursor of the Barcelona Academy of Literature was the Acadèmia dels Desconfiats or Academy of the Distrustful, which was founded in 1700 by a group of scholars, including Pau Dalmases, who owned Palau Dalmases on Carrer de Montcada.
- Local’s tip: While you are here, visit the nearby Basílica dels Sants Màrtirs Just i Pastor and climb up to its lookout point to get one of the best views in the centre of Barcelona!
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