Mercat Del Born was a public market in Barcelona, the first cast-iron covered market in the city. Designed in 1873 by architect Antoni Rovira i Trias, the market was built between 1874 and 1878 and went on to become the central market in town until 1971, when the market was closed and replaced with the larger market of Mercabarna in Zona Franca.
After its closure in 1971, the market went into several years of continuing decay and disrepair. Several Governments set out to restore the old market but it wasn’t until 2002 that a plan was concocted to transform the old market into a library. However, work was cut short immediately as extensive ruins of 18th century Barcelona were found underneath the old market, which represented the remains of la Ribera district that were demolished in the early eighteenth century after the defeat of Catalonia in the War of Succession in 1714.
The ruins, which serve as a collective memory of the consequences of the war on Catalonia and Spain have become El Born Centre Cultural, which opened its doors in 2013. The center offers visitors an insight into what life was like in ancient Barcelona and gives them the chance to learn about the 13-year war.
Related article: Ancient baths in El Born
Visiting the Centre
You can visit El Born Centre Cultural from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 8pm. Entry into the main building is free of charge, allowing you to have a decent look at some of the ancient remains. However, if you want to get a closer look at the ruins you will have to take the guided tour. Tickets for the guided tour are between €5.50- €8.80 depending on the day you choose to go. The tour gives visitors a real feel of what life might have been like in Barcelona 300 years ago. Additionally, on the guided tour you will get access to an audiovisual room showing a short documentary shown in English as well as Spanish and Catalan. It’s worth noting that entrance on the tour is free on the first Sunday of every month and on Sundays from 3pm to 8pm.
El Born Centre Cultural is a famous and significant site which is well worth a visit, and if you have time I would strongly advise taking the guided tour. Whilst it costs a few euros, it gives you the chance to learn more about the city’s history and provides a unique insight into what life was like in Barcelona 300 years ago.