Thursday, November 13, 2008

Portaferrissa - the Old Iron Gate of the City

Most people nowadays pass through what was once the Old Iron Gate to the Roman City of "Barcino" without even thinking about it, and straight into Carrer Portaferrissa with one thing in mind - Shopping. This is one of the best streets to start your shopping visit to Barcelona with a plethora of shops squashed into this famous street of the Gothic Quarter.
Barcelona sights - Portaferrissa Fountain
Portaferrissa roughly translates to Puerta fierro/hierro which means "Iron door". At the entrance to the street there is a fountain, one would imagine from Roman times for the horses with carts to drink on their arrival. The fountain or trough has been decorated with coloured tiles, explaining the history of the fountain. I myself have passed by many times, but had never stopped to read the text. I have taken photos and joined the image below, which you can view for yourselves.

"The "Porta Ferriça" was one of the entrances to the second wall of Barcelona, built in the 13th Century. The Iron bar - one of the longitudinal measurements used in the city - gave it's name to (the gate) as well as the street that lead to the gate from the centre of the old town. In Calle Portaferrissa at the beginning of the 16th Century, the Casa Gralla was built; a beautiful Plateresque building which disappeared with the opening of Calle del Duque de la Victoria (Duke of the Vicotry) and the Casa Pinos (Pine House) belonging to the Marquis of Barbera was demolished in the middle of the 19th Century. The construction of the "Moya" Palace (today "Comillas") in 1774, finally proved motive to demolish the old gate."

Barcelona Sights - Portaferrissa fountain detail

For more information on Barcelona, see this Barcelona Guide.

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