Palau de la Generalitat, Plaça de Sant Jaume
- Plaça de Sant Jaume Barri Gòtic
- tel, info: 93 012
- free guided visit 10am-1pm 2nd & 4th Sun of month plus 23 Apr, 11 Sep & 24 Sep
Lonely Planet review for Palau de la Generalitat, Plaça de Sant Jaume
Founded in the early 15th century on land that had largely belonged to the city’s by-then defunct Jewish community to house Catalonia’s government, the Palau de la Generalitat was extended over the centuries as its importance (and bureaucracy) grew. Marc Safont designed the original Gothic main entrance on Carrer del Bisbe. The modern main entrance on Plaça de Sant Jaume is a late-Renaissance job with neoclassical leanings. If you wander by in the evening, squint up through the windows into the Saló de Sant Jordi and you will get some idea of the sumptuousness of the interior. If you do get inside, you’re in for a treat. Normally you will have to enter from Carrer de Sant Sever. The first rooms you pass through are characterised by low vaulted ceilings. From here you head upstairs to the raised courtyard known as the Pati dels Tarongers, a modest Gothic orangery (opened about once a month for concert performances of the palace’s chimes). The 16th-century Sala Daurada i de Sessions, one of the rooms leading off the patio, is a splendid meeting hall lit up by huge chandeliers. Still more imposing is the Renaissance Saló de Sant Jordi, whose murals were added last century – many an occasion of pomp and circumstance takes place here. Finally, you descend the staircase of the Gothic Pati Central to leave by what was, in the beginning, the building’s main entrance.