Hidden history

4 Oct
copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Art Deco patio

Behind large wooden doors, at number 10 of  Carrer Paradis, a narrow, zig zaggie street between the cathedral and Plaça de Sant Jaume, is a spot with hidden history that I am going to show you today.

Upon entering those wooden doors (when they are open!) you find a courtyard, which is bright and yellow and rather Art Déco in style when you look up towards the sky, and where minimalist green balconies with a profusion of potted plants create an interesting contrast.

At a lower level the ‘scenery’ changes dramatically, and Gothic arches on slim, dainty columns separate 3 arched windows with pretty stained glass insets…

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Club windows

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

What's that?

… but what is that, which can be seen through the windows?

They are a handful of massive Roman columns! And that is the secret that this courtyard keeps, it hides the Temple of Augustus, or what is left of it, a well kept remnant of Barcelona’s Roman past.

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Roman columns

The columns stand tall above ground level, and the building which hides them from view appears wrapped around them in a protective manner. Just as well, for they are glorious and have been quite well preserved, as can be seen from the detail shown below.

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf


copyright: Lisette van de Graaf


I love how there are very mundane, neighbourly windows just beside the column to the left, squeezed into a corner. And find the minty green that has been used to colour the walls to be very soothing. I wonder what it’s like to live, bathed in soothing minty green light?

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Augustus' temple

Impressive, aren’t they?

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf


copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Gothic surroundings

Looking back towards the entrance and to the space behind the columns, it becomes apparent that we are surrounded by a Gothic structure, which is delightful in its own right. It was built in the 15th Century and houses the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya, an association dedicated to promoting excursions around Catalunya, which was created in the late 19th Century.

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Column + columns

Above our heads, a skylight keeps the columns dry and safe from the inclemencies of weather as well as the droppings of pigeons, sea gulls and cotorras that can be seen around town. Hopefully this will keep this gem of a ruin in good shape for many generations to enjoy!

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf



5 Responses to “Hidden history”

  1. thecrazyscotsman October 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I love finding little nooks of history in the most unexpected places! Thanks for the share, it was very cool. :)

  2. Anne October 4, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Tjonge….. Prachtig… Waar haal je het toch allemaal vandaan?


  1. Pretty patios « cute suite - October 31, 2011

    […] in the same building as the remains of the Roman temple for Augustus which I posted about recently, here. I love the balconies richly draped with plants, and also the top of the walls, which resemble […]

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