One of the most exciting experiences about moving to a new city and when you get the first taste of rubbing shoulders with the real local population. And the best way to do that is to visit a local market, test and taste to produce and study how a typical Barcelonan family manages their day-to-day shopping.
One of the best known markets or “mercados” in Barcelona is without doubt La Boqueria, or the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria to give it its full title.
La Boqueria is situated in the Ciutat Vella (old city) of Barcelona, with its main entrance on La Rambla, one of the most famous streets in central Barcelona. La Rambla in itself is a great place to walk along, being a sea of tranquility in a busy city due to it being totally pedestrian and line the trees along its 1.2 kilometers between Barri Gòtic and El Raval, also within walking distance of the Liceu, Barcelona’s principal opera house.
Visitors to the market mobile to shop for a very diverse selection of goods, and it is possible to haggle with the stall holders on any item for sale be it, some freshly caught fish, beautiful Spanish lace or a memento of the Barcelona the city’s famous soccer club.
La Boqueria market is a very major part of Barcelona’s history which dates back to the early 13th century when the mercado first began to operate at the busy site nearr the old city gate. The market operated in a basic format for close to 500 years, fresh meat only and later providing the population of Barcelona with most of their fresh food needs, including fruit and vegetables.
In the middle of the 19th century the original site was proving to be too small and the city fathers gave the go-ahead to construct a new market site near the center of the city
City records show that construction for the new Mercado got underway in March 1840 , and although it began to operate by the end of that year construction works were still carrying on for more than ten years after.
La Boqueria Mercado is open every day from every in the morning till late evening , although a lot of the stall holders will close down for traditional siesta between 14:00-17:00h.
These days La Boqueria Mercado has an graduated from selling just fruit and and vegetables to a market where just about anything can be found and bought.
What has remained consistent however is that La Boqueria Mercado is still the best place in the city to find the best fresh meats, chickens fruits and vegetables, bearing in mind that when it comes to fruits and vegetables they are only those which are in season.
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