Ciutat Vella

Ciutat Vella

The old Bàrcino, the core of the city we know today, where Roman ruins rub shoulders with medieval Gothic, gave rise to the first district: Ciutat Vella. Its streets, alleyways and squares are an open book where you can read the history of Barcelona.

Where you live history

Barcelona's first district, district number 1, emerged from a walled precinct that surrounded the ancient city. This is what is known as Ciutat Vella, the old town, a fascinating network of streets and squares where you can trace Barcelona's history.

Ciutat Vella includes four neighbourhoods, each of which was of crucial importance in Barcelona's construction, and they have become a place of pilgrimage for visitors: the Barri Gòtic, which is the town's oldest quarter, the place where you could say that it all started; Sant Pere, Santa Caterina, El Born i La Ribera, the medieval neighbourhood; El Raval, the centre that was structured around the rural roads outside the walls; and Barceloneta, a fishing quarter in the harbour which was built in the mid-eighteenth century under the supervision of the Ciutadella, the military fortress built to suppress the locals after the 1714 revolt.

A living essence

Despite its name, Ciutat Vella is one of the most lively and varied districts in Barcelona. The serenity of its hidden corners, dark and narrow streets, and almost haunted squares breathe life and diversity. In Ciutat Vella you can follow in the footsteps of ancient Romans, pray in Gothic churches reaching for the sky, stroll through the palaces built by the businessmen back from the colonies for their mistresses, follow the trail of the great Modernista architects and enjoy the most contemporary cultural offering in the city in the El Raval neighbourhood. You can bring ancient professions back to life through street names and even relive the passion of the great artists, from the painter Pablo Picasso to the flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya. Because Barcelona is cosmopolitan and elegant, bourgeois and modern, but it has not lost its essence, of the port and scoundrels, ancient and decadent, that you can still feel in the streets of Ciutat Vella, the first district, where it all started.

Ciutat Vella