A Visit to Barcelona’s El Born a City Within a City

Barcelona’s El Born is an amazing cultural center that is literally a city within a city!!!



Hello Fashionistas,

Today I am taking you on a pretty cool history lesson of Barcelona. I haven’t been back to visit this lovely city since 2011 and upon my late Sunday afternoon arrival,

I’m ready to get out and do a little sight-seeing and window shopping since Sunday is not really a big day for shopping in Barcelona. My goal is to head directly over to the El Born area because it is filled with the best tapas bars, cafes, and just cutest hang out spots.

As I meander thru the maze-like streets of this area, I walk by the Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral which is a major tourist attraction and stroll down the very quaint restaurant, coffee shop, and bar laden street “Passeig de Born”. At the very end of this street–what I usually see is the unused and in total  dis-repair old iron market building formerly known as Mercat de Born. This time, I could tell immediately that something was different–in the past times that I visited Barcelona, this large iron structure just sat there totally unused with no insight as to exactly what it was.

This time–the doors were wide open, people were streaming in and it felt like it was inviting me to come in and see what was going on. I am super excited to be able to share what this building now holds inside.  It was beautifully renovated and re-opened to the public in 2013 as a cultural center to house special events, conferences, music, art, etc.–and also serves as a living museum to show the history of the old stone and brick city of the 18th century up until modern times. This was an absolute surprise for me to see this incredible building finally open to the public and now called “El Born CC”.


The entrance down Passeig del Born to El Born CC….


Take a virtual tour of the inside of this amazing structure via the link below

Go to http://www.mercatdelborn.org and click on the top tab that says “Cultural Center” for even more info!

An incredible sight to see! An entire city under a city—

Welcome to a city below a city…..
These are all old ruins to stone block buildings dating back to the mid to late 1600’s



You can see what is currently the ground level viewing deck which overlooks the old city ruins The iron market structure now housing everything dates back to circa mid to late 1800’s


The wide open passages between the housing ruins are the actual streets that existed in the old town of the 17th century.


One of the wider thoroughfares–Carrer del Joc de la Pilota


Modern stairway entry leading into the old town ruins




The round feature in the ground is an old brandy distilling installation in the Boxador family house–one of the larger more impressive houses of nobility in the old town.
Details for distilling machinery


Architectural plans for the “new and modern” iron industrial era Mercat de Born in the 1800’s which was officially closed about 45 years ago and now has undergone amazing renovations to “house” the old city’s architectural ruins underneath. This gorgeous metal and glass structure is quite a “landmark” building in the old town area.


In addition to all of the captivating old ruins there is a small theater that shows a video of the entire history of the building, demolition, rebuilding, destruction, etc of the El Born area….it’s incredible to imagine the resilience of the people of Barcelona…the video highlights a time in the early 1700’s of major Catalonian history for this part of the city.

One of my favorite parts of the museum was seeing many of the archeological finds dating back to the historic era of the 1700’s….


Beautiful ceramic dishes, many with animal & floral work




Tile work with colors just as vivid as they probably were back then….


More detailed tile work in cobalts & golds…


Small primitive animal forms made of clay. They remind me so much of the same kinds of little sculptures my dad forms out of molding clay…..it’s funny how some things don’t change….

Next- more Barcelona photos and insights 


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