The Via Laietana in Barcelona presents a feast for the eyes. In the Plaça Ramón Berenguer, behind the equestrian sculpture depicting the Catalan count, there is a section of the Roman wall crowned by the Gothic chapel of Santa Àgata. The area is a majestic blend of two different Barcelonas: the Roman and the medieval.
The Plaça Ramón Berenguer el Gran provides us with a unique insight into Gothic, medieval and Roman Barcelona. The square is named after the man who was Count of Barcelona between 1096 and 1131, portrayed in a stately equestrian statue by Josep Llimona. However, the most important part of the square is the section of Roman wall, dating from the early 4th century AD. Indeed, although Barcelona’s first city wall dates from the 1st century BC, it was reinforced, three centuries later, by a second wall.
If you take a closer look at the Roman wall, you’ll see that the wall was constructed with materials retrieved from other buildings. The wall of Barcelona, which originally had 74 towers, was 16 metres high and marked the perimeter of the early city, which was 1.3 kilometres in circumference. The royal chapel of Santa Àgata was built in the 14th century, during the reign of Pere III, “the Ceremonious”, as part of the Royal Palace, the Palau Reial. It stands, sober and elegant, on top of the Roman wall which provides its foundations. The chapel contains a masterpiece of Catalan Gothic art by the painter Jaume Huguet.
How to get there: Metro L4, stop Jaume I. | Bus 17, 19, 40 and 45. | Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Barri Gòtic.
- Columns of the Temple of Augustus
- MUHBA - Museu d'Història de Barcelona - Plaça del Rei
- Roman wall and aqueducts (Casa de l'Ardiaca)
- Wall and gate of the Roman city of Barcino - Friezes around the front of the Col·legi d'Arquitectes (Plaça Nova)
- Wall and defence towers of the Roman city of Barcino (Plaça Ramon Berenguer)
- Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya
- Roman necropolis (Plaça Villa de Madrid)