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The Sunday Market of Sant Antoni

Written by Adriana

There are many ways to spend a Sunday in Barcelona and avoid the winter cold and boredom of this sacred day of the week. In this blog we have recommended some ways to make the most of your Sunday such as a getaway out of Barcelona to stroll the beautiful and empty beaches of Maresme (at this time of year), to go to have some “tapas” to the bar of the Film Archive in the City Center (a bar called La Monroe), or go to read and have a coffee in a bar and spend a relaxing day. Today ShBarcelona suggests that you to discover the famous Mercat de Sant Antoni on a Sunday where you can buy some old or second hand books, magazines and antique comics, as well as experience its authentic neighborhood atmosphere.

The history of the most emblematic market in Barcelona

sant antoni market old pictureIn 1882 this Art Nouveau building (“modernista”) was opened under the name of Antoni Rovira i Trias and Josep M. Cornet i Mas Market, right between the Comte d’Urgell, Tamarit, Comte Borrell and Manso streets, taking advantage of one of the islands of houses it was empty within the urban plan called l’Eixample by Ildefons Cerdà. In this market you can buy food and goods for the house, but from 1936 a market selling secondhand books, heir to the Fira de Bellcaire (taking place at that site before the construction of the market) was also installed. This fair known as “Mercat del Llibre d’Ocasió” was shifting its tremendous growth to the market and ended up taking advantage of shelters around it by express request of the sellers, who were constantly affected by the weather. Since then the market took the final name of Sant Antoni Sunday Market.

Related article: Your guide to Barcelona’s food markets

sant antoni marketAs the time goes by the fair has become a meeting place for children, youth and adults who exchange cards on the sidewalk, buy antique and second hand books, watch the latest literary news, look at video games sold there both new and old, leaf through magazines, look some DVD’s, search for all kinds of display devices, talk to their friends among the items and then go have the typical “vermouth”, etc. Some of the fairmen workers of the current stops are grandchildren of the first fairground workers of the Fira de Bellcaire, and still remember the adventures they had to make their families to survive during the dictator Franco regime and the loss of freedom of expression during that time. Many intellectuals of all ages have been regular figures in this market for decades, which adds prestige to the market and attracts many curious people to it.

Related article: Open air markets in Barcelona

The reforms met with archaeological remains

mercat-sant-antoni-barcelona-300x224Currently, the old Mercat de Sant Antoni is being renovated and every Sunday stalls are installed across the width of the street Urgell for the public to visit. The works have been delayed by the discovery of archaeological remains of the medieval city walls under the market, but as the mayor of Barcelona said, in 2016 the renovated market would reopen again within the original site. We hope that this enclosure meets the expectations of citizens and respect the history of this famous and traditional fair of Barcelona.

Looking for a place to stay while you explore the city? ShBarcelona offers apartments for vacation rentals or for long stays

About the author


Adriana is a writer, content & community manager, web designer, media analyst and tireless traveler.

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