Saturday, October 1, 2011

Barcelona: Day 36 : The Roman Influence .

So this morning for European Cities class we were going to go out on a walk that involved a lot of the presence of the old Roman walled city in Barcelona. I going to go out on a bit of limb and say that this won't be too interesting for most; as it is a lot of the same thing and honestly I didn't write too much down in my notebook either, so there won't be a ton to read.

The Roman wall that exists in in the old part of the city really hasn't been touched at all. It's just been sort of left and built around. Sometimes they even include the wall in the new existing parts. Battles left various types of damages on the walls; things like the Spanish Civil War and other battles. The city often was forced to defend itself, and this is why the fortress on Montjuic exists, in addition to the fortress that now resides in the Ciutadella Park.
We passed through some various parts that really showed the wall in a great condition; complemented by the newer modern structures that have become a part of it. There was one little church in particular that resided outside the wall, which people would pass on their way to France. It is absolutely tiny, yet has survived all of these years and still resides in its original position, as the new city sprang up around it.

Next we walked by the Santa Catarina market, which is worth talking about because of the interesting architecture (though, who am I kidding, everything we see on this trip represents interesting architecture). It has some really sweet arches and the materiality is an interesting mix of things. The arches viewed from above are actually really colorful, and are easily picked out from a bird's eye view. It was actually inspired by a fruit basket.
The Roman part comes in when you look a little closer and see Roman ruins as a part of the market. They are underground and encased by glass, but you almost have to walk straight over it in order to even get into the market!

Also in this area exists an area of elderly housing, and thus this area has been turned into a true multi-use area. The market, as usual, brings together the neighborhood. The plot of land used to belong to a convent, and eventually was given to the government to build the market.

We quickly visited some old Roman columns that were in their own little secret corner, and then moved on to a museum with many of the old underground ruins. This part is the biggest Roman subterranean settlement in the city. The tour was super long, and I think at this point we were all sort of tired, but it definitely did give way to a much different view of how the Roman cities worked, and the way they build things. This various collection of many different time periods was a bit harder to understand because they were all mixed together, but it was indeed neat to see all of the old ruins.

The Romans originally wanted to conquer Barcelona for the fish, the salt, and the access of the port. Even the rivers allowed for great transportation between areas. The Romans were great engineers as well as architects, and really brought some interesting roots to the area. Here's a few pictures from class:

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