The great Plaza de San Selip Neri, hidden away in the heart of the Gótico district, far from the bustle of the tourists but only a step or two from the eminently visitable Cathedral, conceals a sad story in its heart. Interested to know what it is? Read on!
Plaza de San Felip Neri, deep in the bowels of the Gótico district, is rarely visited, despite its position so close to the Cathedral. Perhaps the blame lies with the squalid, foul-smelling street leading up to the square, which does little to encourage the visitor to wander that way.
Important buildings like the Neri hotel, the little Shoe Museum, a Baroque style church and a school surround the rectangular plaza. The crowning jewel of the plaza is a beautiful circular fountain.
During the middle ages the plaza was the cemetery attached to the Cathedral, something that almost certainly had a bearing on what happened several hundred years later. The church wall bears witness to the many executions carried out by the Franco regime, the wall is peppered with holes left by the falangist rifles.
On the 30th of January 1938, 42 innocent people (among them 20 children) lost their lives trying to take refuge in the church, fleeing from the aerial bombardment of Barcelona carried out by Franco´s airborne forces.
Visit the plaza, especially if you can do it early in the morning, or perhaps at dusk. And while you wander, touch the walls. Or you could just enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace of the hotel Neri bar…