Discover the remains of Romans

Barcelona city has more than 2000 years of history. At the end of first century BC, the Roman Emperor Augustus decided to create a small village for retired soldiers, which he named “Colonia Iulia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino”, later called Barcelona. The city was created on a rectangular plan with cut corners and was surrounded by walls. Between the III and IV centuries, the citizens of the small Barcino created new walls. Today in Barcelona you can still find the remains of the Roman city. Every year, there are new archeological discoveries from that time. I will tell you about 4 places where you can see some remains of the Roman city, which are not so well known by tourists and I believe not even so well known by locals.

Centre Civic Pati Llimona

Pati Llimona is a civic center specialized in photography. What’s so special about it? When you enter it, you will be able to see the remains of the roman walls from IV century and one of the main gates to the city. The entrance is free.

Carrer del Correu Vell / Carrer d’en Groc

At the corner of these two streets, you will find a very tiny pathway which will take you to a small patio where you can admire the defense towers that were built in the 3d century. If you look on the left, you will see, through glass windows, some remains of Romans terms from the 1st century.

Terms were very popular during the Roman era – they were used by citizens who didn’t have their own “bathroom”, but it was also a place where merchants were making business. Terms had different sorts of spaces, such as pools filled with hot or cold water, swimming-pools, places to exercise and others for receiving massages.

The terms located in Barcino originally measured more than 1500m2 and most probably were divided into two parts, one for women and one for men. The structure that you can still see today is the cold-water pool. Terms were abundant in the 4th century.

If you wish to discover this small space of the Roman terms, doors are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00-3:00, on Wednesdays 5:00-8:00, and on Saturdays 10:30 – 13:30. The entrance is located on Regomir street, 6.

Domus Sant Honorat

The construction of this Domus (house) is dated back to somewhere between the first century BC and the 4th century. The location of this house, right next to the Forum, which was the center of religious and political power, shows the high social status of the owner.

In the Domus, we can see remains of the Domus viridarium (a garden with various ornamental elements) and a series of cubicula (the family’s private rooms). This museum occupies a very small surface area of only 100m2.

The museum of Sant Honorat is open on Sundays 10:00 -14:00, ticket price is 2 €.

Domus Avinyo

Domus Avinyo, just like Domus Sant Honorat is dated back to somewhere between the first century BC and the 4th century, but the archeological remains are much smaller than in Sant Honorat. In the Avinyo house, you can admire paintings that ornate the ceiling and walls, whereas the floors are covered with ceramic tails. The remains correspond to the part of the roman house where the guests were received. The big plus of this small museum Domus Avinyo is that you can watch a video explaining how the city of Barcelona and the house used to look during Roman era.

The museum of Domus Avinyo is open on Sundays 10:00 -14:00, ticket price is 2 €.

Please be advised that all these venues are very small, so you will spend there around 10-15min.

Barrios

Barcelona is divided into 10 districts (Barrios). I prepared for you a little guide with the oldest barrios in Barcelona and the attraction you can find there. A Ciuta Vela is a term used to describe the oldest districts of the city. It includes Barrio Gothic, El Raval, El Borne and Barceloneta. Each of them has its own style, vibe and atmosphere.

Gothic Quarter
The Gothic district is the oldest part of the town. More than 2000 years ago, Roman Emperor Augustus decided to create a small village for a retired soldier, exactly where the Gothic district is today. Over time, the small town became one of the most important cities on the Iberian Peninsula. From the 13th to 15th century, the Gothic style was popular in architecture and many new buildings were built. Barrio gothic really does not exist, the name was invented in 1928 just before the Exposicion Internacional in order to attract tourists. Many of the buildings in the center were destroyed or rebuilt to fit the concept of the Gothic style.
The best way to visit is by walking, entering a narrow street around the most famous places: Cathedral Sanat Cruz, Palau Generalitat or Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi.

Raval
The name of the district comes from the Arab world of Rabad – a neighborhood. The history of Raval began in the Middle Ages and was mostly occupied by infidels until the 19th century. The construction of many warehouses and factories has a huge impact on the settlement of immigrants. In 1990, Ayuntamiento launched a number of projects to integrate immigrants into the Barcelona community. In these days, Raval is a multicultural neighborhood, full of life day and night.
In Raval you can see the famous “Cat” from Fernando Botero and MACBA – Museu d’Art.Contemporani

El Borne
This part of the city began to be inhabited around the 13th century by an aristocratic family very closely connected with the Count of Barcelona. The nobility were very tired of the crowded city, so they decided to move just behind the Roman walls and build spectacular Gothic palaces. In the 14th century, the district became a business centre, thanks to so many craftsmen who settled down in El Borne. To this day, the street names are linked to the craftsmen who lived and worked in the particular street.
El Born is the heart of the city, tourists mix with the locals, relaxing in the numerous cocktails bars and restaurants. I recommend getting lost in the small streets and discovering tiny craft shops.
The main attractions are Cathedral Santa Maria del Mar , the Centro Cultural El Borne and the Picasso Museum.

Barceloneta
The Barceloneta district is the youngest of the Ciutat Vella. Barceloneta was founded in the second half of the 18th century as a district for the people of Ribera, whose homes were destroyed after the war of succession.
The inhabitants of Barceloneta had jobs related to the sea: fisherman, boatbuilder, etc. 100 years later,after the Industrial Revolution, many factories were opened. Fishermen slowly moved out and immigrants moved in. Just before the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, the area changed completely, factories disappeared and the city hall has ordered the creation of a beaches. Today, this part of Barcelona is loved by tourists, you’ll find there many restaurants and cocktail bars.