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Out of the box

Things you probably never noticed in Barcelona

Written by Christine

Whether you’re new to the city or seasoned expat, Barcelona holds many treasures and secrets to be discovered. This city is home to many amazing works of art, gorgeous architecture, historical monuments, all of which you have already visited. But there are things that you have probably never noticed in Barcelona which are actually quite curious. Let us tell you about some of them.

Gaudí’s street lamps in Plaça Reial

Photo by Cayetano via VisualHunt

One of Antoni Gaudí‘s first works in Barcelona can be seen in Plaça Reial, a pair of 6-pointed street lamps that were made as a tribute to the Roman god Mercury, before he had become famous for his other works in Barcelona. Finished in 1879, these lamps are made of wrought iron and bronze. They are 2 of 6 street lamps to have been completed by Gaudí.

Address: Plaça Reial

A bomb in the wall on Carrer Sócrates

On the corner of Carrer Gran de Sant Andreu and Carrer Sórates you can find a very out-of-place piece of history: a bomb that has been embedded in the wall of a building since 1843. During this time, the famed General Prim came out of exile and bombed the Sant Andreu district. At the request of the building’s owner, the bomb was never removed from the wall and is there today for all to see and remember.

Address: Carrer de Sócrates, 2

Josep Guardiola’s initials

Right off of Passeig de Gràcia you can find the small Passatge de la Concepció, which holds another of Barcelona’s little secrets. If you stop in front of the door of number 4, you will see the initials “JG” engraved, which stand for Josep Guardiola, not the Barça player but a businessman who funded the construction for one of Gaudí’s most famous works, Casa Milà. This building is now used as a university residence.

Address: Passatge de la Concepció, 4

Related article: What are the most important plazas in Barcelona? 

Gaudí hiding in Sant Felip Neri

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The next time that you visit the Sant Felip Neri Church, take a closer look at the paintings that are on both sides of the presbytery. These were created by Joan Llimona in 1902, who was a good friend of local celebrity Antoni Gaudí. At that time, Gaudí never wanted to appear in photographs or the local media, but allowed his friend Llimona to depict him in one of the church’s paintings.

Address: Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

Barceloneta’s mysterious hand

If you find yourself on the corner of Carrer de Sant Carles and Carrer Soria in Barceloneta, look up and you will see a hand imprinted in the building, sandwiched between 2 arrows pointing in opposite directions. The building was erected in 1875 but until this day nobody knows what the mysterious hand is meant to represent.

Address: Carrer de Sant Carles, 35

The chapel of Santa Lucía

If you walk next to the Barcelona Cathedral you will find the chapel of Santa Lucía. If you keep walking and head to the corner of Carrer Bisbé you will notice a strange “wand” or “baguette” molded into the stone. It is thought that maybe the “baguette” helped to indicate measurement during the construction of the chapel, in the 12th century, or that it was simply built on a whim.

Address: Pla de la Seu

Related article: Going to an FC Barcelona match

Barça’s coat of arms in Santa Maria del Mar

Photo by marcp_dmoz via VisualHunt

One of the most beautiful churches in Barcelona, Basilica Santa Maria del Mar holds a very cool secret, especially for soccer fans. If you look closely at the breathtaking stained-glass windows, you will find one that depicts FC Barcelona’s coat of arms. You may be wondering how this is possible if the church dates back to the Gothic period. The explanation is that many windows were damaged during the Spanish Civil War and needed to be restored afterward. The football club made a donation to the church and in turn, got an homage in the form of stained glass.

Address: Plaça de Santa Maria, 1

Marks of past ladies of the night

One of the most iconic spots in Barcelona is La Rambla, which is considered the heart of the city and a great spot to enjoy a stroll. However, if you stop and take a look at numbers 22 and 24, you will notice some strange markings on the ground. These were made by prostitutes who sat here and waited for clients after brothels were banned and closed in 1956. These markings are quite unique and relatively unknown, even to the residents of the neighborhood.

Address: La Rambla, 22-24

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About the author


Christine is a traveler, teacher, writer, and beach-lover, exploring Barcelona one tapa at a time!

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