Of course, everyone is aware of the Gaudí architecture of Barcelona and everyone marvels at the stunning 19th-century additions of the Eixample district. But are you aware that the city used to be referred to as Barcino by the Romans and far from the Gothic quarter from the city is founded on Roman ruins? Well, one of the best-preserved examples is to be found in the type of the Temple of Augustus in Barcelona. Here’s how you can visit in addition to a number of things to understand before you go!
A brief history of the Temple of Augustus
Located within an otherwise neglected and frequently forgotten corner from the Gothic Quarter from the city, you’ll locate one from the last well-preserved vestiges of Roman Barcelona. All Corinthian columns inside a covered setting, the dwelling dates all the way to the first Century BCE and used to be the primary focal point for Roman Barcino, i.e. the Roman Forum.
Once upon a period, the Forum would have been 120 foot long and surrounded by columns as tall as 30 foot high. Your building would have been made of sandstone sourced from nearby Montju”ic Hill and it could have been ever-so-impressive, presiding within the remaining city. Over time, your building was lost towards the ages and it wasn’t before the 15th-century the columns were once again ‘rediscovered’.
You see, the reason that the Corinthian columns from the Roman Forum survived when a lot of other buildings were destroyed or demolished (just one wander around the former city walls shows how many epitaphs and sarcophagi were incorporated into the fortifications), was that they were actually built into the medieval buildings when the Gothic district expanded.
It wasn’t until the 19th/ 20th-century that archaeologists (underneath the watchful eye of architect Puig i Cadafalch) realised the columns had been key pieces of the Roman Forum building. Today, three carved columns survive and a fourth was ‘reconstructed’ in a similar fashion. Overall, they’re an attractive example of Barcelona’s complex and rich past.
A real hidden gem of the city, these Roman ruins can now be throughout the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya (Hiking Club of Catalonia) building. The columns are still in situ, in the exact place where these were first ‘rediscovered’ some five centuries ago and also over two millennia once they were first erected in the city which was to become Barcelona.
How to go to the Temple of Augustus
Free to go to and perfect for the history buffs available, today the columns can be located in a medieval covered building in the Gothic district of the city. Standing around an astounding 9 metres high, the columns are backed with a turquoise painted facade and are surrounded by informative plaques (both in Spanish and English) telling the storyline of Roman Barcelona, along with the Temple of Augustus itself.
Elsewhere within the small chamber, there are other Roman ruins, for example part of a plinth and a fragment of the transept. If you’re particularly interested in learning about Roman Barcino, then you’ll should also head to the nearby tombs of the Via Sepulcral Romana (Roman Funerary Way), as well as the many fragments of the Roman city wall dotted over the Gothic district.
The closest metro station is Jaume I on the green line (L4) there are lots of bus routes which serve close to the Temple of Augustus in Barcelona location (17, 19, 40, 45). Due to their ever-increasing popularity, I highly recommend visiting earlier in the day and mid-week if possible.
This way, you’ll largely get the place to yourself, in addition you’ll capture the very best photos! As space is fairly compact, you’ll wish to bring along a wide-angle lens to photograph as much of the columns as possible. Otherwise, follow my free and self-guided Barcelona walking tour to learn much more about the Catalonian capital.