Barcelona is really old. That might sound like a stupid comment to start off a blog post, but it is. The Romans founded Barcelona on Mons Taber hill, and called it "Barcino". There are remnants of the old Roman town of Barcino still in the city today, but unlike places like Rome, where many of the ruins can be seen in broad daylight, Barcino's old town is underground, and located in the now Gothic Quarter of Barcelona inside the City History Museum.
This offers a fantastic insight to the history of the city, and as you take an elevator down into the air-conditioned basement, a digital clock counts down the years, literally taking you back in time. No photographs are allowed inside, so I don't have any to add here, but the ruins are very detailed in their descriptions, and show old wine-making facilities, dye factories for clothing, as well as houses, etc. and there are some great scale models and artwork of what the Roman Town of Barcino would have looked like. If you know Barcelona well enough from maps, it's easy to pick out the places you would recognise today, such as Las Ramblas and Sant Pau del Camp church - literally in the middle of nowhere.
So why is this post under the current series of "Great Things to do for Free in Barcelona"? Well, on the first Saturday of each month the City History Museum opens it's doors for free! My cousin was visiting last month and I took him along to see what he thought, too. He was very impressed, and also surprised at the free entrance! If you happen to be in town on the first Saturday of the month, then it's a great place to visit, even just for a quick walk around (you could spend hours in there), and especially fun as you have a really quiet, cold history lesson right below the busy streets of a Saturday in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona!
Comments welcome as always guys, or let me know if you've been and your thoughts.