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Talking about The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona really means that you're talking about a small world all of its own: this is an area of the city which is truly representative of the historic center of the Catalan capital which came into being as a Roman village and subsequently became the absolute hub for tourism nowadays, an energy which is revived every day without ever losing the mysterious fascination that characterizes this neighborhood of the city.
The Gothic Quarter, (or El Barrio Gótico as it is known in Spanish), is part of the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona which can be easily reached on foot from El Raval, Born and Barceloneta (other areas of the city), as well as on the metro by getting off at the Catalunya stop, (Red Line L1 or Green Line L3) at the Liceu or Dressanes stops (Green Line L3) or Jaume I (Yellow Line L4).
One of the greatest beauties of Barcelona's oldest district, and the labyrinth of streets of which it is composed, is the interior in which you can easily get lost as you stroll towards one of the wonderful squares which surround it. The first of these are the squares that overlook Barcelona's cathedral: Plaça de la Seu and Plaça Nova which host a myriad of events during the course of the year such as the Santa Lucía Market which is beautifully decorated during the Christmas period as well as plenty of literary and gastronomic festivals. Just a short distance from Barcelona's cathedral is probably the most significant square in the city: Plaza San Felipe Neri and its tranquil fountain from another time provide a testament to history that has a real emotional impact. The church of the same name overlooking the square, manifests traces of the bombings which occurred during the Spanish Civil War which resulted in the deaths of many civilian refugees who were sheltering inside its walls, particularly some children. Today, in the same spot, there is a commemorative memorial which, with the colorful drawings that are exhibited inside, creates a strong contrast between life and death which leaves viewers lost for words. A different ambiance pervades the majestic Plaza Real which is easily reachable from las Ramblas: if during the day, the sunlight illuminates the green palm leaves and echoes with the cheerful chatter of tourists seated at the numerous restaurants it houses, at night, the square doesn't lose its lively spirit as it turns into one of the main centers of nightlife in Barcelona. And finally, for all those who love to take an original souvenir home with them, we strongly recommend that you visit the wonderful Plaza del Pi where tourists and locals alike can enjoy wonderful displays of regional gastronomic products, among which are cheeses, different types of honey, sausages, hams, perfumes and artisan's creations. This is the perfect place in which to buy something interesting or simply to browse through the stalls to see what's on offer.
Even atheists and people of different religious denominations should pay a visit to the wonderful Christian churches of Barcelona, many of which are located within the Gothic Quarter: the Cathedral, the Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi, and the church of St. Philip Neri are just some of the more well known, but also worth a visit are the churches of Sant Jaume, which is situated on Carrer de Ferran 28, and the Basílica dels Sants Martirs Just I Pastor, which is situated on the square of the same name. Strolling through a neighborhood that is so full of history and culture can be even more enjoyable when you discover that on every corner, there are small family run establishments serving traditional menus as well as authentic artisan shops where you can buy unique items of clothing, jewelry, and other small items. One of the most beautiful festivals in Barcelona is in February, with the celebrations for Santa Eulalia, the old patron saint of the city, that takes place right in the heart of the Gothic Quarter which is decorated for the occasion with lights and there's music and juggling with artists of all genres there to show off their skills in front of curious visitors and the locals who always attend any event of this kind.