WALL AND ENTRANCE OF BARCINO
Plaça Nova, dating back to 1355, gives to the ancient Porta Pretoria, one of the gates of Roman Barcelona, in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, known as Portal del Bisbe. It is located smack in the middle of the historic centre, a wee space that in its little details encompasses the history and art of Barcelona, reflected on Picasso’s frieze of the Col·legi d’Arquitectes (College of Architects).
So much to be told as its origins date as far back as 1358, when the market de la Palla dominated the scene. In fact, the square itself is home to many urban city events, including dances such as the “ball de Sardanes” on Sunday mornings and the market of Santa Llucía at Christmas.
Once a typically medieval closed square, in the 1940s major restoration works took place as a result of the damages caused by the aerial bombardments of the Civil War, that is, the opening of Avinguda de la Catedral which gave life to (along with the subsequent Avinguda Francesc Cambó) that section of Gran Vía part of the 1899 Plan for Interior Reformation of Àngel Baixeras, though already outlined in the 1860 Cerdá Plan for Reform.
The square and avenue were subject to intensive archaeological excavation works prior to the construction of an underground parking lot until 1991 when it was once again urbanized. In 1994 Joan Brossa installed his sculpture of a visual poem, a set of letters that spell out the word Barcino and a figurative demarking line separating the square from the avenue.
The square’s irregular shape, a slight bit triangular is open to the east and at this end seamlessly abuts with Avinguda de la Catedral while the northeast is occupied by a meagre five establishments, these are: the Barque façade of the Palau del Bisbe(1782-1786) hemmed in by carrer de la palla and the right tower of the Porta Romana which gives to Carrer del Bisbe; on the left tower a niche has been carved out hosting the XVI century image of San Roc and the opening to the Roman aqueduct reconstructed which, as matter of fact, belongs to the Archdeacon Mansion, though nominally already belonging to Avinguda de la Catedral.
Finally, the modern building between streets Carrer de la palla and Carrer dels Boters, that comes into contact at its corner with the Collegi de Arquitectes (1992).