While on a photo ‘safari’ around Barcelona last week, I discovered that the gates of the Archbishopric were open. It isn’t often that the gates to this building are open, so I had to take the opportunity to have a closer look. Here is what I found…
The Archbishopric of Barcelona can be found on Carrer del Bisbe, to the right of what used to be the city gates, and now is a ramp flanked by the remnants of two semicircular towers. It is a rather stark building on the outside, with just a few details, such as the statue of a bishop offering his blessings below.
Further details are the Neo Classical entrance, above which a balcony, with some sgraffito detailing and two tall doors with reflective windows, looks out onto the street.
The only profusion in details on this doorway can be found on the crest that presides it. It is full of symbols pertaining to the Catholic Church and the status of an Archbishop: a chord with several tassels, a staff, a bishop’s mitre and the cross on a chain.
I was very curious about the inside of this building. Would it be just as stark? I wasn’t permitted to enter the courtyard that was visible from the entrance (and much less enter the Archbishopric) , so I had to resign myself to what was visible from, and take these photos while standing at the gates.
The answer to my curiosity is evident from the images I show you here. Indeed this complex is quite stark as seen from the courtyard, yet at the same time it is rich in details so specific of the architecture of its (Gothic) time. Slim columns support the arches of windows, both small and large, and a profusion of stained glass as well as small plain glass set in lead strips make up all of the window panes. The effect of light streaming into the building must be quite dazzling! Have you noticed how dainty the lanterns are that flank the Madonna?
The layout of the courtyard is also typical of this period, when the main floor was usually a flight of grand stairs up to the first floor, and the ground floor was used to keep provisions and means of transport (i.e. horse and carriage). Although the building itself is stark and minimal, the details are exquisite and rich, and no doubt the best experts of the day were used to create these beauties.
The gate seems to me from a newer period, although this is just an assumption on my part. In contrast, the door knocker seems to be much older, judging by the crudeness and lack of realism evident in its form and workmanship. I think it’s rather cute!
I’m very glad to have discovered yet another corner of Barcelona and to have been able to share it with you! I think it was well worth it – what do you think?