▷ BARCELONA’S CITY HALLl – Info & Vsit Casa de la Ciutat
- Barcelona’s famous and historic buildings
- Barcelona’s City Hall: Info and Visit
Updated Feb 04 2022
Barcelona’s City Hall, also called ‘Casa de la Ciutat’ (in English ‘the House of the City’) is situated in the Plaça de Sant Jaume, one of the most central points of the city so it’s therefore frequented by tourists and locals alike. Directly opposite the City Hall you will find another institutional building of great relevance, the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya (the Catalan government’s headquarters).
The tourist information office
On the ground floor of the City Hall you’ll find a tourist information office, which you can access from the Carrer de la Ciutat, and which could help you greatly to find out all sorts of information about the city.
From the start of the 1st century BC leaders of what was then called Barcino met up here to discuss various issues relating to the city’s future. The current City Hall building started with the construction of the Saló de Cent in the mid-14th century. Soon afterwards the current lateral façade was built, whilst over the period of several centuries the building was gradually extended. Not taking into account the most recent annexe, which was completed in 1970, the last major reforms were those implemented by the architects Joaquim Vilaseca, Antoni Falguera and Adolf Florens in 1929, in which significant reconstructions of much of the building were carried out.
The function rooms
The gothic façade
The gothic façade of the city hall can be found at the side of the building, on Calle de la Ciutat. It dates back to 1399, when the well-known architect and foreman Arnau Bargués was charged with managing the project that the Consell de Cent (literally meaning ‘Council of One Hundred’, this was Barcelona’s municipal government at the time) commissioned. You can still see the gothic stained glass windows, as well as the coats of arms of the city, and of King Peter IV of Aragon (Pere el Cerimoniós).
It’s curious to see the old main entrance to the city hall cut off at one side; when the renovations to the current main entrance were carried out, the works that were needed on the old door were essentially botched, leaving a chunk taken out of the doorway which now forms part of history.
The neoclassic façade
During the major reform of the Plaça de Sant Jaume the neoclassic façade was constructed, which is now the main façade of the city hall. It’s very similar to that of the Palau de la Generalitat, which can be found right opposite. On each side of the entrance there are two sculptures, one of Rei Jaume I and the other of his adviser Joan Fiveller. If you look carefully, you’ll see a plaque on the façade that reads ‘Plaza de la Constitución’, a lasting memory of the former name of the square.
The City Hall’s courtyard is adorned with various sculptures by artists who were either born in Barcelona or had a long-standing relationship with the city. Amongst them, highlights include works by Antoni Miró, Josep Llimona, Pablo Gargallo, Manolo Hugué and Josep Maria Subirachs. On the right hand side, walking in through the main entrance on Plaza de Sant Jaume, you’ll see part of the former Trentenario Market (Llotja del Trentenari).
The Black Staircase
You will immediately realise why this staircase was given its name; it is made of black marble, which runs from the courtyard to the first floor, where a sculpture of Josep Viladomat and an imposing mural of the artist Miquel Valdrich can be found.
The staircase of honour
This is the other staircase that connects the courtyard with the first floor, specifically with the Gothic Gallery. Your attention will be drawn to the two tapestries and a stone shield, which used to stand in the Portal de Sant Antoni, which connected the current district of Sants with the walled city.
The Gothic Gallery
Situated on the first floor, the Gothic Gallery is visible from the courtyard as soon as you walk into the building. The gallery, crowned with various gargoyles from the 16th century, has a series of sustained arches and on one of the columns you can actually see the date etched in roman numerals, MDLXXVII (1577).
The Room of the Chronicles
This area was reformed in 1929, and highlights include the paintings on the walls and ceilings by the Catalan artist Josep Maria Sert. He wanted to represent an allegory of Catalunya, using the exploits of the Almogàvares who fought under the command of Roger de Flor.
In this room Josep Maria Sert wanted to depict a sort of magic box of optical illusions, and we can reassure you that he did indeed achieve it. To check, we recommend that when you enter the room you look at the base of the leaning tower that is painted on the roof, and while you keep looking, cross the room lengthways. You’ll see how the base of the tower straightens up bit by bit, until it finally starts to lean again, but this time in the opposite direction.
The Room of the Regent Queen
This is currently used as the plenary room of the City Hall. The origin of the construction of this room is quite interesting, because it was designed so that Queen Maria Cristina could have a space where she could drink tea with her friends, and so she went there from the hotel on La Rambla where she used to stay. The roof painting is a highlight – it’s completely original and represents Virtue, Industry and Energy. Other original elements include the candelabras, brought from Versailles by the Queen herself, and the fireplaces. The arch and the sculptures of Santa Eulàlia and Sant Jordi at the two sides were added later, as well as the wooden chairs that the City Hall’s councillors use during the plenary sessions.
El Saló de Cent (The Room of One Hundred)
Originally known as the Saló del Trentenari, the Saló de Cent was used for the meetings of the so-called Consell de Cent. Nowadays its use is reserved for the celebration of weddings and other special occasions. The original room dates back to 1639 and was the work of Pere Llobet, but few elements from this remain, as it has undergone many reforms over its 7-year history. Most of the room’s current elements were brought in by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, who was enlisted to re-design and enlarge the room with the help of Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who was responsible for the large lights that hang from the ceiling. As an interesting aside, we should point out that Antoni Gaudí also entered the competition to carry out this work but his design wasn’t chosen.
The side door, dating back to the 17th century, was originally the main entrance to the room. When it was decided, centuries later, to turn it into a side door it was also turned round, so that the part that you now see inside the room used to be outside.
When can you visit Barcelona’s City Hall?
You can visit Barcelona’s City Hall every Sunday of the year, except when significant public holidays such as 25th December, 1st or 6th January fall on a Sunday. Although it’s not necessary to book your visit in advance, we do recommend contacting the City Hall before you go, just to check that it will be open.
You can choose to visit the building at your leisure, with the help of an informative leaflet, or you can go on one of the guided tours that are organised, something that we really do recommend so that you don’t miss out on any of the architectural details of the City Hall, and so that you find out as much as possible about the history of the building and a few anecdotes about it too. Entry to the City Hall is free of charge whichever way you choose to visit, and although you will usually be able to access the function rooms, you may find that one of them is closed for a private event when you visit.
Visits at your leisure
Opening hours: every Sunday from 10:00 to 13:30.
Leaflets: available in Spanish, Catalan and English.
In Spanish: Sundays at 10:30 and 12:00.
In Catalan: Sundays at 11:00, 11:30 and 12:30.
In English: Sundays at 10:00.
We recommend making a reservation in advance for group visits, by calling the following telephone numbers: (0034) 934.02.73.64 and (0034) 934.02.73.00.
12th February (Santa Eulàlia)
23rd April (Sant Jordi)
The open days usually run from 10:00 to 20:00, but if you can, we recommend going on one of the Sunday mornings and avoiding the open days, as you would probably have to queue to enter and you won’t enjoy the visit as much due to the large quantity of people who are likely to be there.
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The building has been restored to create a more modern and sophisticated environment without losing, of course, the beauty of its original construction. That is how it was kept the scenery with his classic bulbs look, the generous scenic space, the velvet curtains, theatre elevators , etc. Besides the structural changes we also paid special attention to the technical dotacion so it would be just as good as the best capacity clubs in Barcelona: “MARTIN AUDIO” sound system, 48 channel digital mixer, 14 illumination mobiles, high level microphones inears system, rear cyclorama , etc. so it would become a reference as a multidisciplinary space in Barcelona’s night.
It’s location, in the center of Barcelona’s metropole, more precisely in Plaza Catalunya, and sharing area with “La Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, El Gran Teatro del Liceu, El Palau de La Música Catalana, Las Ramblas, El Raval, Passeig de Gracia, etc.”, makes it one of the night references of the city.
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Barcelona City Hall in Sant Jaume Square
Barcelona City Hall is a historic building in which the city council performs its functions. The main entrance to the city hall is located on St. James Square, which has been formally the center of the city since the Roman period, when Barcelona was called Barcino. At the opposite end of the square from Barcelona City Hall is the Palace of the Government of Catalonia.
The building of the city council of Barcelona was erected and reconstructed over many centuries, increasing in size and transforming. Despite the fact that it looks like a monolithic structure, in fact it is made up of 3 interconnected buildings: the old, the new and the latest.
The history of this building of Barcelona City Hall dates back to 1369. Then it was built for the meetings of the administrative council of the city, called the “council of the Hundred.” In 1249, the monarch Jaime I granted the people of Barcelona a certain amount of autonomy to govern the city. And in 1257 he ordered his advisers to elect a hundred people, who formed a council of a hundred. Throughout the following century, this rudimentary governing body held its meetings in various places – from the stairs in front of the large royal palace to the monastery of St. Catherine, until the city hall of Barcelona was built.
From Carrer de la Ciutat you can see the old Gothic façade. Its construction took place in 1399-1402. Until 1847, there was the main entrance to the city hall of Barcelona. In 1847, the temple was demolished on St. James’s Square, giving it its name. And at the city hall of Barcelona, a new neoclassical facade was added (designed by the architect Josep Mas i Vila).
The most important parts of the Barcelona City Hall were built in the 14th and 15th centuries. This is:
- Hall Sta
- electoral hall
- notary hall
- Hall of Trentenary
Work on these parts of the town hall was started by the architect Pere Llobet, who was also the main contractor for the building of the stock exchange, one of the finest examples of Catalan Gothic civil architecture. These parts of Barcelona City Hall have been preserved essentially in their original form.
Gothic building with two floors and its façade decorated with restraint:
- Above the main door, you can see 3 coats of arms created by Jordi de Deu (1400) – in the center – Pedro III, and 2 side ones – the arms of Barcelona.
- Above them is a sculpture of the Archangel Raphael (duplicate of the nineteenth century), on top protected by a spitz (pointed turret), created by Pere Sanglada in 1401.
- On the 2nd floor of the facade there are 2 pointed windows in the Gothic style, each of which has 2 narrow columns. Initially, there were 3 windows, however, one of them was walled up in the nineteenth century, when the main entrance was moved.
- Like the windows, the doors are topped with an oak leaf arc made of stone and a bouquet.
- Under the roof you can see a decorative belt of small deaf arches, above them hang the gargoyles of the sculptor Pere Joan, son of Jordi de Deu.
City Hall of Barcelona
Interesting facts about the flag of Saint Eulalia
In one of the windows on the side of the Gothic facade, at the most dangerous time, the flag of Saint Eulalia, the patroness of Barcelona, was previously hung:
- With the same flag, the Catalans marched in front of the army in the war of the Reapers on January 26, 1641 of the year.
- They also fought under it at the Battle of Montjuic in 1706.
- It was also in the hands of Captain Rafael Casanova y Comes during the siege of Barcelona on September 11, 1714.
- Currently, this flag is placed on the facade of the city hall of the Catalan capital only on the feast of Saint Eulalia.
Due to the construction of the Neoclassical façade in the nineteenth century, the Gothic façade leaned somewhat, as can be seen from the arch above the main door. It is also interesting that a long narrow bench along this facade was needed not to sit on it, but to make it more comfortable for members of the council to get off their horses and then climb them again.
Barcelona Town Hall: neoclassical façade
The neoclassical façade of Barcelona City Hall was built in 1847 from
Saint James Square. In the central part of this facade there are 4 large columns with capitals of the Ionic order, behind them is the president’s balcony. On the wall between the columns until 2013, a decorative panel made of stone by the architect Seldoni Guiche y Alsin was hung, on which a Catalan woman was depicted and she (the panel) was inscribed “Plaza de la Constitución” (Constitution Square, since 1840 the square was called Saint James).
In 1852, an impressive round clock was hung over this panel, which is still there. At the top of the façade is a pediment with the coat of arms of the city, which was added in 1855 by the architect Francesc Daniel Molina, who was the successor to Josep Mas i Vila.
On the 1st level on both sides of the entrance door in the niches are the statues of Jaime I the Conqueror and adviser Joan Fivellier, made by the sculptor Josep Bover y Mas, solemnly installed in the presence of Queen Isabella II.
In 1928, the architect Antoni Falguera y Sivilla added a new building to the City Hall. 30 years later, in 1958, the 3rd building also appeared, called the “newest”, but its opening took place only in 1970. This 15-storey glass building with aluminum panels, built by the architects Lourens García-Barbón, Enric Giralt y Ortet and decorated by Josep Maria Subirax overlooking Saint Michael’s Square. In 1994, the 4th upper floors were removed so that this part of the city hall of the Catalan capital was more combined with the 2nd others.
Interior of Barcelona City Hall
It is possible to find yourself in the courtyard of Barcelona City Hall by going through the main entrance, however, it appeared here in 1391 and the entrance to it was from the side of the Gothic facade. This courtyard was redone in 1560, when decorative Renaissance elements were added. The yard was destroyed in 1830 and restored in 1929. If you get out of it through the archway on the right side, then it is possible to find yourself in the hall of Trentenari, and if you climb out of it on the stairs (“ladder of Glory”), then it is possible to end up in the hall of the Sta. Throughout the courtyard there are many sculptures, which were created mainly in the 20th century.
The Staircase of Glory was built by city architect Pere Falques in 1894 and modified in 1929.
Hall of Trentenari
In the Hall of Trentenari of the Barcelona City Hall, 30 council members met to discuss innovations before they were presented to the council of one hundred. This hall was built in the 14th century and expanded in 1559.
Hall of the Four Seasons
Hall of the Four Seasons is located on the 1st floor. Built by the architect Pere Cazajoana and painted blue in 1982 by the artist Albert Rafols. This hall currently houses the information center for travelers.
The notary hall and the back staircase are also located on the 1st floor.
Staircase of Glory
Hall of Notaries
Hall of Notaries of Barcelona City Hall – the first building built here (together with the Hall of the Sta and the Hall of Trentenari). All books and agreements were completely preserved in it. According to the remaining documentation, it is possible to guess that it was located on the left side of the entrance from the side of the Gothic facade.
Gothic style black staircase, decorated with dark marble, was built in 1929 Adolphe Florence. On the wall along the stairs, the painting was made in 1930 by Mikel Viladric. These murals are an allegory for traditional Catalan plots and symbols. At the top of the stairs, on the 2nd floor, in a niche is one of Josep’s sculptures.
Hall of the Chroniclers
The Hall of the Chroniclers has undergone the most changes of all the premises of the building of the City Council of Barcelona. In 1929 it was enlarged in all directions. However, it makes sense to visit here to admire the murals that cover the entire 4th walls and ceiling.
Chapel of Good Counsel
This Chapel of Good Counsel of Barcelona City Hall was built between 1379 and 1408, but only the doors and the coat of arms remain of the original building. Currently, the chapel is located near the hall of chroniclers and has a modern finish (mid-20th century). There is a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat in the classical surroundings of many Catholic saints. In the chapel it makes sense to focus on the ceiling. It is laid out with a mosaic of tiles in the form of the sky with the hand of God between the letters alpha and omega.
Hall of the Queen Consort
Hall of the Queen Consort is the room in which the meetings of the City Council of Barcelona City Hall are held. It was built on the site of the courtyard by the architect Daniel Molina in 1860. This hall has 2 open galleries with red marble columns; a glass ceiling created by Pere Falques and paintings by the painter Claudio Lorenzale.
In the central part there is a large portrait of Queen Consort Maria Cristina of Austria and her son, later King Alfonso XIII, painted by Franssky Masrier, and a bust of King Juan Carlos I. On the sides of the portrait in niches are sculptures of St. George and Saint Eulalia. From this room, a door leads to the Sta room.
Hall of the Sta
Hall of the Sta is a spacious rectangular building built in 1369. The first time the members of the council held a meeting in it in 1373 during the reign of Pedro IV of Ceremony. This is indicated by a sign located in the hall. Chairs made of wood came into the hall only in the seventeenth century, and a door made of marble in 1667.
In 1822, the hall was closed, the things from it were completely sold. And only in 1860 began its reconstruction. A spectacular alabaster panel was hung on the wall of the Sta24 year. On it are 2 people protecting the coat of arms of Barcelona, under whose feet are:
- Virgin Mary
- Saint Andrew
- Saint Eulalia
On the sides of them – 2 medallions, on which:
- shield with St. George’s cross (on the left side)
- Scroll of Barcelona privileges (right side)
On the sides of the hall under the spitz are 2 sculptures – King Jaime I and St. George, created by Manuel Fusha. At 1998 they were changed to duplicates.
In St. James Square (Jaume) in front of Barcelona City Hall, people create castels (living towers) on holidays.
There are several options:
- Jaume I on line 4 (yellow) or Liceu metro station on line 3 (green). City Hall is located in the Gothic quarter between these stations.
- Buses 14, 59 or 91. Get off at the Gran Teatre del Liceu stop.
- Bus 45. Get off at Via Laietana – Pl. Ramon Berenguer.
- By bus for tourists. Get off at the Barri Gòtic stop on the red line.
We recommend that you book your ticket for the Barcelona Bus Touristic in advance. You can do this at the link on the official ticket platform.
How does Barcelona City Hall work?
Barcelona City Hall on the city map
Barcelona City Hall is located in the central part of the Gothic Quarter. It is 100 m from the apse of the Cathedral.
Exact address: Plaça de Sant Jaume, 1.
- How to avoid queues at Barcelona attractions. Tickets for Sagrada Familia and Park Güell skip the line.
- How not to be deceived by local taxi drivers. Order a taxi in advance with fixed rates online. The most reliable service for ordering a taxi – Kiwi Taxi .
- Excursions in Barcelona with locals will help you to get to know this city for real. The best way to get comfortable in an unfamiliar city is to walk around it with a person who has lived here for many years.
- We advise you to take out travel insurance so that there are no unpleasant surprises while traveling to Barcelona.
- Barcelona City Pass is a one-stop card that makes organizing your holiday in Barcelona easier and saves a lot of time and money.
- Barcelona Hotels: is our selection and recommendations.
- Bus Turistic is a tourist bus and a great way to get to all the necessary monuments of Barcelona quickly, with a breeze and comfort.
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The City of Barcelona hired a Russian from the “Russian Imperial Movement”, recognized as a terrorist in the USA
The Barcelona City Council has hired a Russian citizen, Stanislav Shevchuk, a member of the Russian Imperial Movement, recognized in the United States as an international terrorist organization. This is reported by the publication TOT Barcelona.
According to him, Shevchuk is an employee of the Directorate of Urban Planning Licensing Service, which is responsible for coordinating actions in matters of licensing and protecting urban planning legality.
He was recently appointed to this post: information about Shevchuk as an employee of the municipality appears in the January 2023 Urban Ecology newsletter. At the same time, according to TOT Barcelona, on January 31, Shevchuk was at his workplace, but refused to speak with the correspondent of the newspaper.
Sources in the city council told the publication that Shevchuk does not have a “fixed position” but agreed to sign an internship contract. However, as explained by an urban planning officer, “for an internship, you must pass a personality test, a psychotechnical test and a personal interview.”
Stanislav Shevchuk’s name appeared in the Spanish press when local media, citing The New York Times, pointed to him as the alleged coordinator of the operation to send letter bombs to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and other high-ranking Spanish officials.
“Investigators have focused on the Russian Imperial Movement, a radical group with members and associates all over Europe. They added that the group, which has been designated an international terrorist organization by the US State Department, allegedly has ties to Russian intelligence agencies. Important members of the group were in Spain, and local police traced their links to far-right Spanish organizations, ”wrote the NYT.
Subsequently, a 74-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of mailing letters. The investigating judge emphasized that no evidence of his connection with the “Russian Imperial Movement” was found, but “everything indicates that the action was carried out by a person with ties to Russia in order to attack supporters of Ukraine.”
The Catalan edition of El National writes that Stanislav Shevchuk has been living and working in Barcelona for ten years, denying any connection with the Russian Imperial Movement. Mention is made of his participation in the European Congress held in Madrid at the end of November 2019, which was also attended by “leaders of the French, British and Italian far right.