Plaça Sant Jaume
The Plaça Sant Jaume has been the city's political centre almost since its inception. Today the Plaça Sant Jaume is an open space, a "lung" in the middle of the Gothic Quarter. The square is the site of the most important buildings in the lives of Barcelona and Catalonia: City Hall and the Palau de la Generalitat.
The current appearance of the Plaça Sant Jaume dates from 1823, a period when it was remodelled and renamed the Plaça de la Constitució. The new shopping street, the Carrer Ferran, was built at the same time and a space that had previously been small and crammed with buildings was opened out. Indeed, before this, the square had been a small area that had grown at random, and the site of the church of Sant Jaume with its cemetery. After the houses were demolished and the church was moved to Carrer Ferran, Barcelona's new political heart was created. Two imposing buildings flank the square: on one side, the Palau de la Generalitat, the seat of the Catalan Government, and on the other, Barcelona City Hall.
Both institutions existed in medieval times and are still responsible for governing the lives of Catalans and the people of Barcelona. The location of both buildings is no chance occurrence. The Plaça Sant Jaume is located at the place where the main streets of Roman Barcino converged, the Cardus (now Carrer de la Llibreteria and Carrer Call), and the Decumanus (now Carrer Ciutat and Carrer del Bisbe). This was the Roman forum, the centre of the Roman city where the Temple of Augustus once stood, the remains of which can still be admired in the neighbouring Carrer Paradís.
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