The Plaça Sant Jaume (Saint James' Place) is and always has been the political heart of Barcelona, housing both the Palau de la Generalitat and the Barcelona City Hall.
The Plaça Sant Jaume (Saint James' Place) is and always has been the political heart of Barcelona. It houses two of the most important buildings in the city, the Palau de la Generalitat, which is the headquarters of the Catalan government, and the Barcelona City Hall. The square as it exists today was built in the early 19th century, but the site has had political significance since Roman times, when it was the location of the Temple of Augustus. In fact, several of the columns from the temple were preserved after the original structure was destroyed, and now can be found one block over on Carrer del Paradís. The square also used to house the Church of Sant Jaume, after which it is named, which was taken down in order to create the current space of the square.
Located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, many of the buildings around the square are beautiful examples of Renaissance and Gothic architecture, including the 15th century edifice, the Palau Centella. The only exception is the relative eyesore of the recently built town hall offices, which serve a more practical than decorative purpose.
Photo by Serge Melki, CC BY 2.0