La Universitat de Barcelona

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  • Creativitat
  • Patrimoni cultural
  • Recerca i coneixement

La Universitat de Barcelona

The historical building in Plaça Universitat, the oldest campus in the city, was one of the first great constructions in the Eixample. With a magnificent central assembly hall and two side buildings around a courtyard, it has been declared a national historical artistic monument, and is still used by the University of Barcelona.

Cradle of knowledge

The origins of the Universitat de Barcelona date back to the 15th century, when King Alfonso the Magnanimous founded the Estudi General de Barcelona. The university was a very active and very important education centre under the Crown of Aragon until 1714 when, as a result of the War of Succession, it was suppressed. In 1838, when at last it could return to the city, it was initially housed in a convent on Carrer del Carme, but the need was immediately seen for a new building.

The project was carried out by the Catalan architect Elies Rogent and the site finally chosen to locate the building was in the Eixample, the new part of the city that had just been planned. Construction started in 1862, but it was not completely finished until 1892-93, although classes started in 1871 and it was officially opened in 1874.

Places of peace and study

The result was this magnificent Neoromantic building, with a facade of 129 metres running along the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, with a raised main building in the centre, and a building on either side. The right-hand building was for science and the left-hand building for the arts.

The central building is entered through a hall with an impressive staircase of honour, which leads to the assembly hall. This is where the Saló de Graus is found, the most emblematic part of the building, with its exuberant decoration in Moorish and Plateresque style. The side buildings hide the cloisters with fruit trees and fountains where silence and calm prevail.At the back of the building there is a green area known as the Ferran Soldevila Garden, as a tribute to this Barcelona historian.It is a little-known, unique place to relax and escape from the outside world for a moment.In summer, the university organises various outdoor events there, including talks and concerts.

Today, the University of Barcelona is considered to be the best university research centre on the Iberian peninsula, for the number of excellent programmes it has achieved in this field.The various university departments are located at different points round the city: Raval,Zona Universitària, Mundet and Bellvitge, plus the historical centre in the Eixample,which is still used today for Philology, Literary Studies and Mathematics, and continues to be one of the most emblematic institutions of the city, governing most of its cultural life.

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