La Rambla & Barri Gòtic

Barcelona's town hall has been the seat of power for centuries. The Consell de Cent (the city’s ruling council) first sat here in the 14th century, but the building has undergone many changes; only the original (disused) entrance on Carrer de la Ciutat retains its Gothic ornament. The main 19th-century neoclassical facade is a charmless riposte to the Palau de la Generalitat opposite, though the interior is worth exploring. One-hour guided Sunday tours run in Catalan, Spanish and English (no bookings).

Inside, the Saló de Cent is the hall in which the town council once held its plenary sessions; the broad vaulting is pure Catalan Gothic and the artesonado (wooden ceiling of interlaced beams) demonstrates fine work. In fact, much of what you see is comparatively recent. The building was badly damaged in a bombardment in 1842 and has been repaired and tampered with repeatedly. The wooden neo-Gothic seating was added at the beginning of the 20th century, as was the grand alabaster retaule (altarpiece) at the back. To the right you enter the small Saló de la Reina Regente, built in 1860, where the Ajuntament now sits. To the left of the Saló de Cent is the Saló de les Croniques; the murals here recount Catalan exploits in Greece and the Near East in Catalonia’s empire-building days.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby La Rambla & Barri Gòtic attractions

1. Plaça de Sant Jaume

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In the 2000 or so years since the Romans settled here, the area around this often-remodelled square, which started life as the forum, has been the focus…

2. Palau de la Generalitat

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The early-15th-century Palau de la Generalitat opens through a monumental late-Renaissance facade with neoclassical leanings, designed by Pere Blai, but…

3. Palau Centelles

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A rare late-15th-century gem, the Palau Centelles is set round a fine Gothic-Renaissance courtyard adorned with later flourishes from the 18th and 19th…

4. Domus de Sant Honorat

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These remains of a Roman domus (town house) and three small shops, unearthed in the mid-19th-century Casa Morell, lie close to the Roman forum, and the…

6. Temple d’August

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Opposite the southeast end of La Catedral, narrow Carrer del Paradís leads towards Plaça de Sant Jaume. Inside No 10, an intriguing building with Gothic…

7. Pont del Bisbe

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One of Barcelona's most-photographed pieces of architecture, this Gothic-style marble bridge links the Palau de la Generalitat with the Casa dels Canonges…

8. Sinagoga Major

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At the heart of the ancient Jewish Call lie the remains of what may well be the city’s main medieval synagogue (though some historians cast doubt on the…