Are you going to be in Barcelona on a Sunday? Take advantage of Barcelona’s free museum Sundays and spend a few hours at the Museum of Barcelona History (MUHBA). The museum is free after 3 pm every Sunday and all day on the first Sunday of the month.
The MUHBA is actually a collection of museums, but its main attraction is the Placa del Rei in the Gothic Quarter. Guests enter through the main entrance (next to the incredible La Central Bookstore) and view a small exhibit of unearthed Roman and Iberian pottery, sculptures, jewelry, and artifacts before descending below the street level to the lower exhibit: an excavated portion of the old Roman city, Barcino, that was slowly built over after thousands of years.
Once in the old Roman city, visitors move along a raised walkway and view areas just inside the city walls where clothes were bleached and dyed and where garum (a sauce made from fish offal) was made. Visitors also pass churches, some stairways leading to access points in the old wall, and early Christian church remains (pictured above) before heading to the wine processing area. The wine-making facilities provide a fascinating look at ancient wine-making techniques and tools.
Just as modern day winemakers use gravity to transport wine grapes and wine, the Romans utilized gravity n wine-making: although hard to tell in the photo, the ground is slanted here. This allowed the workers to roll their barrels more easily into the other areas of the facility. (Learn more about how gravity is used in wine-making in this article about O. Fournier in Mendoza, Argentina.)
Standing on a glass walkway, visitors can see where wine was transported (via the stone gutter) to another area for aging.
The wine was kept in clay casks, remnants of which can be seen in the above photo. In the distance (in the room where the light is shining) are the remains of an old wine press. Guests can still see the spout where the juice from the grapes poured out.
Archaeologists also uncovered wine ampollas bearing the seals of different regions. The first D.O., perhaps?
The museum also has a lovely cafe in a courtyard, which I highly recommend checking out before heading up to the beautiful and austere 14th century cathedral. Enjoy the intricate wooden designs on the ceiling: it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s so incredible that I won’t share a point, in the spirit of avoid spoiler alerts.
Need some more tips for making the most of your time in Barcelona? Check out our article on 10 Off-The-Beaten-Path Things To Do In Barcelona.
The Museum of Barcelona History
The Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA) is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 19:00; Sunday 10:00 to 20:00. It is closed Mondays.
Admission is 7 € (this includes access to all of the other MUHBA locations), 5 € for groups of 10+, for people under 29 or over 65, and for BCN library card holders. Children under 16 are free. With a Park Güell entrance ticket, visitors receive a 50% discount on a MUHBA combined entrance ticket.
Metro: Jaume I (L4)
Bus: 120, V17 and 45
Barcelona Tourist Bus: south route (red)