Late Antiquity

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During the Late Antiquity and the Carolingian period, the urban layout was still the same, however, big changes were made to the internal organization of the city. The centers of powers, both the political and the religious, were moved to the north east of the city, by the city wall. The south side of carrer Llibreteria was no longer Barcelona’s city center, but the north side of the street, (currently Baixada de la Llibreteria) was next to the centers of power. The paleochristian church, that was where currently the Cathedral is, defined the city’s hierarchies. Near this building, all around plaça del Rei, a few new constructions were built: the Episcopal palace and public baths. The remains of the baths have been found underneath casa Padellà, currently where the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona is held (carrer Llibreteria, 7). Towards the 6th century AD, the Episcopal group was formed like “a compact neighborhood and well structured”. The north-east gate still was the end of the cardo, however the use of the two towers that flanked the gate were changing, and through the centuries they were privatized and converted into private houses.

At the same time, the south side of the street was being depopulated and the buildings disappeared. Plots and vegetable gardens started to grow at the block between carrer Llibreteria and Paradís. This process also happened in several cities in Southern European around the same period. Some of the buildings of the ancient forum were dismantled and reused to build new buildings in other sites of the city. The remains of the Roman buildings that were still standing impressed the contemporary inhabitants. Looking at the arches and columns, they did not know how to give a rational explanation to them and for that reason they started to describe the area as the Miraculum.