Day Eight - A short trip to Barcelona

May 10, 2002
 map of Cardona to Barcelona

A short drive from Cardona down to Barcelona and into a big busy city again...

 night view of the cathedralGothic Barcelona Cathederal

As you can see this Cathedral is both huge and gothic.

 pond in the Cloister of Barcelona Cathederalpond area in barcelona cloister

The cloister has trees, fountains and geese. There have been flocks of geese kept here for centuries. One of the Cloister chapels (this place is HUGE) commemorates 930 preists, monks, and nuns, killed in the civil war.


Moorish features in the gothic cathedral

 barcelona cathedral museum paintingbarcelona cathedral museum photo2

In addition to these paintings and other artifacts in the church museum, we walked about town and found an odd mini museum, off of a side street - Two pair of Roman columns

 Roman Columns in Barcelona

These were really tall! Can you tell? Barcelona's Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat:There are two components to Barcelona's city history museum: the Palau Reial Major and the underground Roman archaeological excavations. Built on top of the fourth-century city walls, the Palau Reial Major served as the residence of the Catalan-Aragonese monarchs from the end of the 10th century through the 15th century. After the last Catalan king died in 1410, it began to deteriorate and was finally abandoned by royalty in the 16th century, and was put to use as a seat for royal scribes and the Inquisition. In 1718, it was given to the Sisters of Santa Clara as a convent when Felipe's construction of the Ciutadella forced them out of their original location. The nuns left at the start of the Spanish Civil War, and as restoration was begun on the building, the Salˇ de Tinell (Throne Room) was discovered wholly intact under a baroque chapel. Finished in 1370, the huge Gothic room is believed to have been the place where Columbus was received by Fernando and Isabel after his journey to America. Today, it houses year-long temporary exhibitions; 2003 will begin with an exhibition on the role of the bull in Mediterranean culture, which will run through February. The museum itself is an interesting look at the history of ancient Barcelona.

Next to the Salˇ de Tinell you will find the Capella de Santa Agata (Chapel of St. Agatha), begun in 1302 during the reign of Jaume II and now considered one of the most beautiful works of medieval architecture in Barcelona. Its star attraction is the Epiphany altarpiece done by Jaume Huguet in 1465; resplendent in gold, with highly realistic portrayals of the most important scenes in the life of Jesus, this retablo is in turn considered one of the best examples of Catalan Gothic painting in existence. From the chapel you can access the Mirador del Rei MartÝ, a watchtower built in 1557 but named for the last Catalan king; from here you can see the Pl. del Rei, the plaša formed by the Palau Reial Major, the Chapel of St. Agatha, and the Palau de Lloctinent, a 16th-century modification of the royal palace which until 1994 housed the archives of the Crown of Aragˇ.

The second part of the museum lies underground (this is the coolest part by far), in an area discovered when space was being cleared for the Via Laietana. The largest underground excavation of any ancient city in Europe, this archeological exhibit allows visitors to walk through incredibly intact remains of an entire corner of the Roman town of Barcino. You can see the original city boundary wall and walking paths, a dye-shop, and laundry shop which still has faintly visible soap residues, a fish product factory, and a fascinating wine production facility which has intact ceramic wine containers. You can also walk through a large portion of the sprawling Episcopal palace and see a mosaic floor from the home of a wealthy second-century Roman.(pinched from Let's Go 2003 web site)

Day Nine - Moving it to Madrid

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