Fossar de les Moreres

Cultural heritage
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Fossar de les Moreres

The Fossar de les Moreres, the old church cemetery, became historically important during the siege of Barcelona (1713-1714), when it was turned into the common grave of the men and women who died fighting to defend the city. It was remodelled and acquired its current layout in 1989, and in 2001, a torch was added with an eternal flame in memory of those who fell in the siege.

The beginning of the end

On 11 September 1714, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Barcelona surrendered to the Bourbon troops after 13 months of resistance and Philip V triumphantly entered the city. A harsh repression of both the populace and the Catalan institutions followed. Over time, 11 September became the National Day of Catalonia, the Diada, and the Fossar de les Moreres cemetery became the setting for annual political, social and cultural events.

Defenders of the homeland

At the side separating the square from the street, Carrer de Santa Maria, you can read an inscription taken from the famous poem by Frederic Soler Pitarra, paying tribute to those who fell during the siege:

"Al fossar de les moreres / no s’hi enterra cap traïdor; / fins perdent nostres banderes / serà l’urna de l’honor” (In the graveyard of the mulberry trees / no traitor is buried / Even if we lose our flags / it will be our urn of honour)

These lines, which also appear on a commemorative plaque at the back of the square in the shade of the mulberry trees, refer to an episode during the siege, when apparently the gravedigger and his grandson refused to bury the corpse of an enemy soldier, despite the fact that he belonged to the same family (he was the son of the gravedigger and father of the grandson).

From a more universal perspective, the Fossar de les Moreres could be interpreted as a reminder of all anonymous combatants, a kind of tomb of the unknown soldier similar to those in other European cities.

The cemetery is right in the middle of the Ribera neighbourhood, surrounded by historical buildings and places of great heritage interest, such as the Church of Santa Maria del Mar itself, Carrer de Montcada and Passeig del Born, where centennial shops stand next to fashion boutiques.

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