On the Pla de Palau, close to the waterfront, stands a building with a neoclassical façade which conceals one of Barcelona's best-kept secrets: a jewel of Civil Gothic architecture. Throughout its history, the house of La Llotja has been used for a number of purposes, which have all been linked with trade and seafaring life.
The house of La Llotja in Barcelona was built in the 14th century and extended a century later as a goods warehouse and commodity exchange. At the present time, this historic building, the perennial hub of Catalan commerce, and the former seat of institutions such as the Consulate of the Sea, the Royal Assembly of Commerce and the Barcelona Stock Exchange – now on the Passeig de Gràcia – is the corporate headquarters of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce.
The neoclassical-style building of the La Llotja house we see today was constructed in the 18th century on the site of the medieval commodity exchange. However, much of the original Gothic interior has been preserved. The trading room, and the two-tier Consuls' Hall in the house, are magnificent examples of its medieval interior. In 1775, La Llotja housed the Reial Acadèmia, an art school which Picasso attended in his youth. Pablo Picasso's father also taught here. An interesting collection of neoclassical sculptures in the house of La Llotja, with The Dying Lucretia as its most representative work, marks the end of the visit to a historic building from this part of the Mediterranean.
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