Via Laietana is undoubtedly one of the most important streets of Barcelona, an artery which is full of life and leisure in the middle of the old town of Barcelona. Surrounded by spectacular monuments, streets full of entertainment, and serving as a bridge between two of the most emblematic neighborhoods of Barcelona: the Gothic and the Born, Via Laietana forms part of the heart of Barcelona.
We dedicated a post about the side of Born, now it’s time to get into the Gothic part, which is chaired by Barcelona’s Cathedral.
Funny name (it means New Square) for a square whose origins take us back to the thirteenth century. The main element of this square is the cathedral, thanks to the amplitude of the square we can have a great view of this monument from its feet.
But it’s not only the cathedral the only important element of Plaza Nueva: We can also find the the building of the architects’ association, whose frieze was done by Picasso (there is an anecdote telling that first the architect association offered the frieze to Miró, and the jealous Picasso offered himself to do it).
Many different markets and fairs are also celebrated in this square quite often. Definitely, a square full of life day after day.
Plaza Jaume I
From the whole Via Laietana this is probably the busiest area, the entrance is called Jaume I street which takes you from Via Laietana to the so-called square inside the Gothic neighborhood.
This street joins Via Laietana with another emblematic street in the old town: Barcelona’s famous Ramblas, and his way shows the Sant Jaume Square, where we can see the City Council and the Generalitat.
At the end of Via Laietana, just where the port and the Paseo Colon begin, we find the imposing building of the post office, next to the Antonio Lopez Square.
With a great modernist architecture, the Post Office has a great staircase that leads us into the building, fully furnished with the taste of the last century and with a varied collection of paintings.
In the outside of the building, the asymmetry of the towers highlights, being the corner with Via Laietana larger than the one facing the interior of the Gothic neighborhood.
Carrer Ample / Carrer de la Mercé
These two streets of the Gothic neighborhood lead in the final stretch of Via Laietana, they are characterized by being full of the most varied pubs in Barcelona.
In this area you will find from the rock environment of the Bollocks, to the excess and kitsch glam of Sor Rita. A nightlife area where you will never get bored.
Access to the port
The ending of Via Laietana turns us into two emblematic and iconic port figures: the head of Barcelona, designed by the famous pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, and “La Gamba” (the prawn), by the also famous Javier Mariscal.
The head of Barcelona is a striking sculpture of pop art influenced by the world of comics and Gaudí, installed under the pre-Olympic fever, symbolizes the modernization that the city experienced in those years, joining modernism and modernity.
“La gamba”, is a piece of Javier Mariscal, the author of the beloved Cobi, the mascot of the Olympic Games of Barcelona’92. Created as striking gateway to a local restaurant, after it was closed for ever, the “gamba” survived in the same place where it was, to the delight of locals and visitors who enjoy its nice shapes.
Via Laietana is so much more than a great avenue that serves to connect two districts and the city with its port, it also connects with a big part of the history of Barcelona, which has much to tell. The past, present and future of the city in just a kilometer and a half.