A walk through the streets of Barcelona is always an experience, offering the chance to discover new corners, details, remains and vestiges that help us to understand what the city used to be like in times gone by, and what makes it what it is today, be it in the origins of a street name, a neighbourhood, a space or building. Here we recommend six places not to be missed:
The remains of the first settlement in the city
One of the most interesting spots is the place where the remains of the first settlement were discovered, namely the mountain of Montjuic. It is here where there is evidence of Iberian life, and from here that the stone that was used to build the city was taken.
The Aqueduct of Roman Barcino
The remains of the aqueduct in Plaça del Vuit de Març, and the restored arches in Plaça Nova, which can be seen on the rear façade of Casa de l’Ardiaca, are fine examples of the legendary Barcino, the Roman’s name for the city. These are not the only vestiges, however. The Roman ruins, such as the Temple of Augusto, in Carrer del Paradís, and the ruins under Plaça del Rei are also a popular attraction.
The Rec Comtal
The Rec Comtal, an irrigation canal dating back to the 10th century that took water from the river to the city’s walls, is key in understanding how the northeast part of the city developed. In Vallbona there are still the remains of an uncovered part of the canal, which as it passed through neighbourhoods such as Sant Andreu de Palomar, Clot, Fort Pienc and Ribera left its mark both physically and in the names of the streets. In the Born you can still see a part of the former canal.
Barcelona’s three city walls
Throughout its history, as many as three walls were built around Barcelona, restricting access to the city, until they were eventually demolished in 1854. Nevertheless, you can trace the periphery of where the walls once stood in the streets and squares named “Ronda”, such as Ronda Sant Antoni, Ronda Sant Pau, Ronda Universitat and Ronda Sant Pere; and we can still see some remains of the Roman wall in streets such as Carrer Tapineria and Carrer Sots Tinent Navarro. A part of the medieval wall can be seen in Drassanes, at the top of Avinguda Paral·lel.