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Plaça de la Vila de Madrid

Roman Tombs in the City Centre

Roman tombs

This square was once the site of a convent. Burned down by the anarchists at the beginning of the Civil War, the site became an open space; it gave Barcelona a big surprise in 1957, when building work uncovered a remnant of ancient Barcino, a row of simple 2nd- to 4th-century AD Roman-era tombs.

Roman law forbade burials within the walls, and sarcophagi like these, in an unusual local style, once lined the roads out of the city, in this case the road to Sarrià from the southern gate of Barcino's Cardo Maximus. You can see how much the ground level has risen in 1,600 years.

The Plaça has recently been transformed into a leafy green park, with a fountain topped by a little statue of a maja madrileña, a girl in traditional Madrid dress. This square, as the plaque says, is ‘the home of Madrid in Barcelona’, a courteous gesture to Barcelona's arch-rival. MUHBA runs a display area in the square that puts it all in context.

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Plaça de la Vila de Madrid

Hours Tues & Thurs 11am-2pm, Sat & Sun 11am-7pm

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Plaça de la Vila de Madrid

metro: Catalunya

+34 93 256 21 00

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: marimbajlamesa