Behind the Moll de la Fusta (site of Roy Lictenstein's Barcelona Head) lies the old seafront, now relatively quiet, or it would be if you could wave a fairy wand and make the traffic disappear. The Passeig de Colom was widened when the sea ramparts were razed — in 1882, it became the first street in Barcelona to get electric lighting.
The landmark building towards the Columbus monument is the Duana Nova, or New Customs House, is a fondly foolish neo-Renaissance wedding cake by Enric Sagnier (1902), policed by gimlet-eyed, sharp-beaked griffons ready to pounce on smugglers and tear them to shreds.
The prettiest square here, the Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli, was another gift of the church-burners of 1835; the land reverted to the duke, who in 1849 hired Daniel Molina of Plaça Reial fame to create a residential square. The centrepiece is the first iron monument in Barcelona, a column and fountain of 1849. The hard part was deciding whose statue should go on top, looking out to sea: the final selection was a rather obscure Catalan vice-admiral, Galceran Marquet, who beat Genoa in a sea battle in 1331.
Images by: David Merrett