Plaça del Rei Monumental Site | Barcelona Bus Turístic

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Plaça del Rei Monumental Site

Barcelona’s civil Gothic art complex

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Plaça del Rei, the centre of power in medieval Barcelona, is home to some of the city’s most important civil Gothic buildings. Around the Count of Barcelona’s Royal Palace, where you can see the great throne room, you will discover a small chapel, a covered garden and a house that contains a Roman domus, the site of the city’s History Museum.

What to visit at the Plaça del Rei Monumental Site

The monumental complex of Plaça del Rei is presided over by the Palau Reial Major, which is the building at the rear and the residence of the Count of Barcelona from the 13th century to the beginning of the 15th century, although its history dates back to the 11th century. Due to the remodelling undertaken in the 13th century, the predominant style of the royal palace is Gothic, but the base of the construction includes Visigothic and Romanesque elements.

Inside the palace is the Count’s throne room, one of the most important civil Gothic halls and an emblematic space in the history of Barcelona as the centre of its medieval power. It is the Saló del Tinell, built at the behest of Peter III, the Ceremonious, in the 14th century by Guillem Carbonell, who designed it to be a large rectangular room sustained by six diaphragm arches resting on pillars with sculpted capitals. Now, the Palau Reial Major and the Saló del Tinell form part of the Barcelona City History Museum.

Another element included in Barcelona City History Museum is the Chapel of Santa Àgata, attached to the Palau Reial Major, which was built on the Roman wall of Barcelona in the 14th century as a royal oratory in honour of Agatha of Sicily. The exterior is visible from both Plaça de Ramon Berenguer el Gran and from Plaça del Rei, where the main entrance is located. Inside the chapel you can admire the large altarpiece depicting the Epiphany, painted by Jaume Huguet in 1464.

On the opposite side of the chapel, annexed to the Palau Reial Major, is the Palau del Lloctinent (Lieutenant’s Palace), which is a Gothic building with a charming Renaissance courtyard that was constructed in the 16th century using elements from previous buildings.

The building that completes Plaça del Rei is Casa Padellàs, the home of Barcelona City History Museum. This Gothic-Renaissance style palace was built in the late 15th century on Carrer de Mercaders, but due to the opening of Via Laietana it was disassembled, transferred and rebuilt in 1931 at Plaça del Rei. During the foundation work for Casa Padellàs in Plaça del Rei the archaeological remains of a Roman domus and a thermal construction from the Roman period were discovered and can now be visited in the museum.

 

How do you get to Plaça del Rei?

You can walk to Plaça del Rei from the Barri Gòtic stop on the Red Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic.

 

For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? On one side of the square you can see a contemporary sculpture. It is a piece by the sculptor Eduardo Chillida called "Topos V". It was the first piece by this artist to be done in Barcelona.
  • Local’s tip: Evening is the magic moment to visit this place, especially if you enter via Plaça de Ramon Berenguer el Gran: the shadow of the equestrian sculpture of the Count of Barcelona projected onto one of the side buildings is quite dramatic!
  • A must: To discover royal Gothic splendour.