La Mercè

Built around the basilica of La Mercè – dedicated in honour of Saint Mercè, patron of Barcelona – this became a popular area during the eighteenth century. Even though it hasn’t been well conserved and hasn’t been promoted enough, there are still some buildings that deserve to be seen and small restaurants to enjoy.

Plaça Milans is another well kept secret in the city of Barcelona. Just off Gignas street there’s hidden this beautiful small square. The most remarkable and interesting thing is its octagonal shape, created using neoclassic buildings built in the eighteenth century. The best way to appreciate its geometry is to look at the sky.

Walking through Carrer Ample you get to Plaça de la Mercè, a square made in 1983 as a result of demolishing some buildings. Called the “wedding square” by locals, it has on one side the beautiful Basílica de La Mercè and, at the other, an official building used for civil ceremonies. The cathedral is dedicated to the patron of Barcelona Saint Mercè and was built by Josep Mas d’Ordal. It contains a good collection of sculptures made by a local artist and has an amazing cupola with religious paintings about the saint and her life.

         

The Royal square or Plaça Reial was created in 1848 as a result of demolishing a nuns convent. In the middle there is a really nice fountain called “Tres Gracies” (three graces) surrounded by modernist street lights designed by Antoni Gaudí, architect of the Sagrada Familia, and beautiful palm trees. Always full of people, the square has, hiding inside a corridor made of arches, numerous bars and restaurants perfect for an after lunch coffee (very typical in Spain) or even a drink at night. Leaving the square through the north exit, there’s the Herbolari del Rei, a beautiful shop made in the nineteenth century now an Herbalist’s. Inside still has the original decoration and well deserves to be seen.

   

[Pictures credit Raquel Gella except: Plaça Milans via Fum i Estalzí; Basícila de la Mercè via About.com; Interior Basílica de la Mercè via Tick R]

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