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Santa Caterina Market

Santa Caterina Market (19)

More than just a market, this is a place with a lot of history. More than 4,000 years to be precise.

That is why the Santa Caterina Archaeological Interpretation Centre has been opened within the market, which tells the story of the area from prehistory to the present day. It is also a way of preserving the archaeological remains found in the subsoil of the market. 700 square metres of the total 7,000 have been conserved. 

The space currently occupied by the Santa Caterina Market dates back 4,000 years, with a Bronze Age settlement (1800-1500BC) from which some graves have been recovered. In the year 10BC the Roman city of Barcino was founded, protected by a city wall, just 150 metres from the archaeological remains of the Santa Caterina site. There were spaces where production took place and in the 4th century the site was a Christian burial ground.

In the 11th and 12th centuries the first convent building was built, but the name of the market is taken from the Santa Caterina convent which was built in the 13th century during a time of great growth of the city, and destroyed in 1835. It is said that the well water in the cloister of the convent was blessed and could cure fever, and in order to keep the water clean and free from contamination a new water jug was used every time it was served. That is why there is jug fair on the day of Sant Domènec which filled the square with carts and the square became known as the cart square. 

In 1844 building work began on the Santa Caterina market, which opened in 1848 and was the city’s first covered market. The work was carried out by architect Josep Mas Vila.

Little by little the market became a reference point in the city. So much so that in 1940 during the Spanish post war period it was the centre for provisions for Barcelona and the surrounding towns. 

Today, the rehabilitation of the Santa Caterina market carried out by architects Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, represents the central pillar of the remodelling of the neighbourhood. 

More than 6 years of work and an investment of 12 million euros have resulted in a very special market.

The most outstanding characteristic is the great mosaic roof, which is the work of Toni Comella. It is a jigsaw of multicoloured hexagons which represent all the colours you can find in a fruit and vegetable stall. There are 325,000 pieces and 67 different colours making up a spectacular undulated roof. 

More than 3,000 square metres of market contains more than 70 stalls and commercial establishments.

As well as strolling round and enjoying the architecture and the immense variety of food on sale, inside the market there is a restaurant with fresh produce from the market itself and it is well worth queuing to try the dish of the day.  It doesn’t come any fresher!

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