Royal Palace

Palau Reial Major

This residence of the counts of Barcelona and later of the Kings of Aragon is located in King’s Square (do not mix it up with Royal Square), in the very heart of the Gothic Quarter. It is a complex of historical buildings that surrounds the square from three sides. On the left is the Lloctinent Palace (Palau del Lloctinent) that completes the architectural ensemble.

Existing residence of the counts that stands in this place since 11 century, enclosed in the Roman walls and built over pre-existing foundation that dates back to the Visigoth age, was repeatedly rebuilt. Salón del Tinell is a spectacular ceremonial area that was built in 1370 under the order of Peter IV of Aragon, called the Ceremonious. The space of the ceremonial area with many blind 15-meter arches has almost no adornment and represents a perfect example of Catalan Gothic in its heyday. It is believed that in 1493 king Ferdinand and queen Isabella greeted Christopher Columbus after his return from the first voyage to America in this very ceremonial hall.

Another edifice of interest is the royal single aisle Chapel of St Agatha which construction began in 1302. In 1465 the famous Catalan painter Jaume Huguet made the chapel altarpiece of Constable Peter of Portugal dedicated to the Epiphany. The chapel features an outside octagonal tower from the early 14th century. The major tower is however the so-called Mirador of King Martin the Humane (1356-1410) erected later, in 1555 and called so after the last direct descendant of Wilfred the Hairy, the legendary founder of Catalonia and the latest Catalan on the throne. The Royal Palace is the major object of the Museum of the History of Barcelona.

Address: Plaça del Rei
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 10 am – 7 pm, Sun 10 am – 8 pm, Mon closed; 1 Jan, 1 May, 24 Jun and 25 Dec closed
How to reach: metro Jaume I
Coordinates: 41.384291, 2.177446