Map BCN 1714: The representation of royal authority
Map BCN 1714: The representation of royal authority

Palau del Virrei or Palau Reial [no longer standing] (Pla de Palau, until Carrer del Malcuinat)

After the War of the Reapers, Philip IV’s last viceroy, Vincenzo Gonzaga Doria, ordered Josep de la Concepció to enlarge the Hala dels Draps, a building with a somewhat Flemish-sounding name that was constructed in the 14th century to house the activities of Barcelona merchants. The building was popularly known as the “porxo del forment”, or bread-wheat porch, because, before the site was converted for trading purposes, it had served as the city’s main wheat store. In the 1670s, it began to be converted into the residence of the viceroy, who represented the royal authority in the Principality. The viceroys who resided here included the beloved Georg Hessen-Darmstadt (popularly known as Jordi), from 1698 to 1701, and the hated Francisco Fernández de Velasco, who was appointed viceroy twice, from 1696 to 1697 and from 1703 to 1705. For the six years following Velasco’s second period in office (1705-1711), the palace was the residence of Archduke Charles and his wife, Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, the latter living there until 1713, when she finally left Barcelona. Opposite this palace stood the house of the general, or military governor, which was demolished after 1714 to enlarge the Pla de Palau, the city’s economic and political centre throughout the 18th century.

Palau del Lloctinent and Saló del Tinell (plaça del Rei)

This site contained the rooms of the Royal Tribunal of Catalonia, which served as the country’s supreme court of justice and advised the royal authority. The Tribunal was presided over by the viceroy and comprised three courts, two civil and one criminal. The jurists who formed part of the Tribunal were all doctors of recognised prestige, usually from the Principality itself. The viceroys used the sentences and interpretations of the Catalan constitutions passed down by this court to support their actions.


Santa Maria del Mar

Converted into a palatine church when the monarch had an elevated corridor built to communicate it with the Palau del Virrei or Palau Reial. The only remaining trace of that corridor is in what is now Carrer del Malcuinat; the difference in the colour of the stone between the fourth and fifth high windows on the wall nearest to the Fossar de les Moreres shows where this royal corridor was once located. The church was the site chosen to celebrate the wedding of Archduke Charles and Princess Elisabeth of Brunswick on 1 August 1708.





Pyramid or obelisk of El Born [no longer standing] (Plaça del Born, now Passeig del Born)

Archduke Charles ordered a pyramid to be erected, dedicated to Our Lady of the Conception, after breaking the first Bourbon siege of the city in 1706. On 29 January 1715, the Duke of Berwick ordered its destruction to prevent it from becoming a place of pilgrimage for Austriacists (supporters of the House of Austria) and anti-Bourbon factions. Eighteen months later, the authorities were still insisting that no trace should remain from the monument.