Barcelona is known for being a city where the visitor has not only the centre and the old town but there are many other places to visit and move around. All Barcelona is a monumental city and in each of its neighbourhoods we can find an element of beauty, charm or the right atmosphere for a visit. In short, Barcelona is a city that lives and enjoys its neighbourhoods. One of them, the Born, is becoming increasingly a must-see in Barcelona.
Mercat del Born: symbol of change
If there is an element that has served as an engine of change in recent years in the neighbourhood, that has been the recovery of the old Mercat del Born (Born market). The building is an imposing and monumental iron structure according the modernist taste of XIX century which was considered the central market until mid-S.XX.
At the end of last century a project to re-use the building for cultural purposes started. However, the project was interrupted after the discovery of medieval archaeological remains that take us back to the years of the Spanish Succession War. It was not until 2013 when the Born Market opened its doors as El Born Centre Cultural, a symbol of how the neighbourhood has managed to change and adapt century after century since its construction.
Montcada Street: splendor memories
Today strolling through the Born district is to find an example of the Barcelona popular customs, where modernity and cosmopolitan atmosphere joins together. These elements have been deservedly attributed to this city and contrast with the populism and naturalness of its people.
These cobbled streets mostly welcome today a popular activity that just runs out. It is very difficult to walk through the streets without finding many neighbours, shops of small businesses, tourists and definitely a crowd that gives life to the district. But in the past, back in the Middle Ages, the Born was the bourgeois neighbourhood by excellence. What today we might attribute to Sarriá / Pedralbes.
A reminder of those times where the bourgeoisie dominated the economic aspects of the city from this place is the Montcada street, full of palaces of exquisite Gothic decoration that come to our days turned into important centres of art and culture, such as the palaces of Berenguer Aguilar (which hosts the Picasso Museum), Cervelló-Giudice (Maeght Gallery), Dalmases, palace of the Marquises of Llió (Rocamora Museum of Clothes) and so on to discover just a few metres from your apartment in the Born.
The Catedral del Mar: a no-hidden treasure
Barcelona is lucky to have a whole holy trinity as far as religious architecture is concerned. Without refusing the importance of other churches in the city, the Catalan capital has not only a wonderful and spectacular cathedral of Gothic facade, but also the famous Sagrada Familia and the Catedral del Mar.
While the cathedral is ecclesiastical and monarchical, the Sagrada Familia initiative and the great project of Gaudi, and the Catedral del Mar (actually lower basilica of Santa Maria del Mar) are the temples “of the people.”
Built by popular initiative of the inhabitants of the Born, mostly fishermen and dock unloaders before the bourgeoisie took ownership of the area (XIV century), the Catedral del Mar is a stunning building. The popular work in the construction of this Catedral has resulted in thousands of stories and legends that surround the cathedral of the people, which had been collected in the best seller by Ildefonso Falcones.
Its own promenade and the city park
Not just these three monuments comprise the charms of the Born district. We cannot ignore its promenade, all a privileged place where we can walk under the shade of its trees, linking the Catedral del Mar with the Born Centre Cultural and just few metres from your apartment on the street Damas, and very close from the Ciudadela Park.
This park is home not only of beautiful gardens, the Catalan Parliament, a stunning monumental waterfall and the Barcelona Zoo, but it is part of the living history of the city. A conquest of the people who saw how the area was demilitarized and became one of the most peaceful places to enjoy a sunny afternoon.