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Plaça Reial

Download date: 10/04/2024


Going down the Rambla, Plaça Reial opens up on the left. Built in the mid-nineteenth century, it was regarded as the most distinguished square in Barcelona at that time.

  • Cultural heritage

From a convent to bohemia

Like so many other convents in Barcelona, for example, Sant Josep and Santa Caterina, which once stood on sites today occupied by markets that have adopted their names, the Capuchin convent was destroyed during the confiscation and sale of Church lands in the 19th century. A large, rectangular porticoed square, surrounded by Neoclassical buildings, was built on the vacant site between 1848 and 1859. Following the design of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid the architect, Molina, conceived a neat, elegant square that would have a portico with a Catalan vault, supported by a semicircular arch, and Isabelline facades with Corinthian pilasters and balconies.

Plaça Reial is just a stone’s throw from the Liceu opera house, the ultimate symbol of bourgeois Barcelona, and for many years it was the nerve centre of the city’s business powers.

Meeting point

Today the haughty character of times gone by has given way to a more popular feel and the square has become one of the busiest in Barcelona. Its terraces offer locals and tourists who pass through the chance to take a pleasant break for a drink or a bite to eat, while the archways shelter bars, clubs and concert halls.

The square conceals a few other treasures too: the two street lamps with six arms are the work of a young Antoni Gaudí, while the cast-iron Fountain of the Three Graces is by Antoni Rovira i Trias and dates from 1876. And last but not least, on Carrer del Vidre is the oldest herbalist’s in Barcelona and probably in the whole of Catalonia: the Herboristeria del Rei, a shop that has remained immune to the passage of time for almost two centuries.

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Location and contact

Location and contact

Plaça Reial

Pl Reial, 5
Ciutat Vella
el Barri Gòtic


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