Set inside the old El Born market, El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria shows off the significance the neighbourhood of La Ribera to the city of Barcelona in all its historical and cultural splendour.
The cultural centre is principally an archeological site showng the remains of La Ribera neighbourhood when it was destroyed by the invading troops of Felipe V after the Siege of Barcelona in 1714.
The exhibition site opened as El Bon Centre Cultural opened in 2014, 300 years after the fall of the Catalan capital to the Castilian and French troops and not surprisingly has often been used a scene for vindications for Catalan independence.
There are permanent exhibitions recounting the siege and its aftermath but the space is also used for various kinds of performance, including music, dance and theatre and there are also history talks, conferences and guided tours..
El Born Centre Cultural
Plaça Comercial, 12,
Opening Times: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm
Entrance: Free. Permanent Exhibition €4.40. Guided Tours of the Archeological Site and the Permanent Exhibition can be booked on the website.
The Mercat del Born building itself was the city's main market until the 1970s
and built between 1874 and 1876 by Josep Fontserè i Mestre, it is
considered the first iron and glass structure so typical of late 19th
For most of the time that I have lived in Barcelona, El Born Market has been closed to the public and it is here that the ruins of the neighbourhood of La Ribera were found in the 1990.
This iconic Barcelona neighbourhood was devastated by the troops of Felipe V during the Siege of Barcelona that brought The War of the Spanish Succession to an end in 1714.
La Ribera was later demolished to make way for the enormous star-shaped citadel, now Parc de La Ciutadella, that along with the Castell de Montjuïc housed many of the Spanish troops that kept Barcelona under military rule for the next century.
Once inside the Born Centre Cultural building you can
see an area of around 8,000 m2 showing the impressive remains of the
streets and houses that have remained hidden for nearly 300 years.
It well worth spending time taking walking round the full site and reading the information about the siege and its consequences.
On the far side of market are two exhibition halls - Sala Villaroel to the right and Sala Casanova to the left, which are named after two of the Catalan heroes of the siege.
The permanent exhibition, housed in Sala Villaroel, is called Barcelona 1700. De les pedres a les persones - Barcelona 1700. From the stones to the people - and tells the story of this essential Barcelona neighbourhood through the items found in the archeological excavation.
These include clothes, household objects and children's toys as well as cannonballs that fell during the siege.
The exhibition also includes scale models of Barcelona and La Ribera, audiovisual presentations and paintings of city dignitaries of the time.
Sala Casanova houses the temporary exhibition, which at the time of opening was called Fins a Aconseguir-Ho El Setge de 1714 - Until It Was Achieved. The Siege of 1714 - and told the story of the year long siege and the difficulties the invaders had in subduing the people of Barcelona.
To the right and left of the main entrance, you find Sala Castellvi, which houses the bookshop and restaurant, and Sala Moragues, which is home a meeting room-auditorium where all manner of events will be held.