February 28, 2004

La Catedral

I am not very well travelled but when I have gone to visit my family in France, the one tourist type thing I like to do is to visit cathedrals. Maybe it's because I'm Jewish and Judaism has never been able to flourish as artistically as Catholicism. Maybe it's because I'm in love with the idea that some of the best art in the world has been commissioned by the Catholic church allowing artist to express their deep religious convictions with passion and life through their art. Maybe it's because cathedrals are just beautiful structures that are nice to look at. If I were travelling with Jon in Barcelona I would insist that we visit this Cathedral.

The origins
The most distant origins of the Cathedral of Barcelona correspond to a basilica with three naves which was destroyed by Al -Mansur (925). The remains of this basilica can be seen in the City History Museum . Around 1046, a new cathedral was commenced at the initiative of Bishop Guislabert. We have few references to this building: it is believed to have occupied a part of the Gothic building, but some of its Romanesque elements remain.

The present-day basilica
Construction began in 1298, during the bishopric of Bernat Pelegrí and the reign of King Jaume II, known as "the Just". The work on the present-day façade of the Cathedral remained unfinished until the end of the last century, being completed by the architects Josep Oriol Mestres and August Font i Carreras, taking inspiration from a drawing from the 15th century by Mestre Carlí.
And then maybe after that, we would stroll down to this site.

La plaça del Rei

The Plaça del Rei (the 'King's Square') is the most noble urban space of old Barcelona. At the rear is the façade of the Royal Palace which contains the exquisite Saló del Tinell banqueting hall. To the right is the Palatine Chapel or Chapel of Saint Agatha and to the left the Lieutenant's Palace where, during some time, the Archive of the Aragon Crown was housed. Now this Archive is located at Almogàvers street. To the right, at the corner of Carrer del Veguer, is the Clariana-Padellàs house, which now houses the City History Museum.

No comments: