Roman Riches Beneath Your Feet – Placa del Rei, Museu d’Historia de Barcelona

Places to go (when we can go places) I’m digging out and sprucing up blog posts to bring fantastically inspiring places to all you writers out there. Stay safe.

Just a few metres underneath the city of Barcelona lies an ancient Roman world. On entering the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona, you first see all the standard exhibits you’d expect in a museum. But then you enter a lift and go down, down, down and step back in time to when Romans walked the streets.

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Stretching before you, lit by spotlights and threaded through by metal walkways, are over 4000 m2 of beautifully preserved streets, factories and shops.

The buildings date from between 1st and 6th century AD. In Roman times the area was an industrial district, and you can still see what remains of a laundry, a garum (fish sauce) processing plant and a winery, it’s giant storage vats still in situ.

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Artefacts found in the complex are displayed throughout along with fascinating descriptions of the activities that would have taken place in these streets. There’s also the remains of a bathhouse and an early Christian complex. There are even signs of Roman recycling with old gravestones used when constructing watchtowers!

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A gravestone near the top

If you’re a history nut the place is heaven, but it’s also an inspiring place for writers too. If you’re researching for historical Roman fiction, this place is perfect to help you visualise the real lives of the people who lived back then. Or maybe you could imagine a team of archaeologists uncovering the ghosts and secrets of this place. Perhaps it’s the perfect setting for a time-slip story, where an unsuspecting tourist finds themselves flung back to ancient times.

I took a lot of photos when I visited, far too many to post – but hopefully what I have done gives you a flavour of the place. If you get the chance to visit Barcelona I highly recommend stopping by.

What do you think? Have you ever visited Placa del Rei or somewhere like it? Please share in the comments?

Related reads

Status and Symbolism – An Enlightening Tour of Highgate Cemetery West

A Visit to Stonehenge

The Architecture of Antoni Gaudi – Future Fairytales


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