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Barcelona is amongst the few European cities with a long-standing tradition of municipal food markets, and the only one to have them so well established in every neighbourhood. Many markets were rebuilt during the Modernist period in the late 19th and early 20th century and are architecturally stunning, such as the well known Boqueria and Sant Antoni. Like Dante taken by the hand of Beatrice to visit the realms of Heaven, we are led by Amor Gil Morea to discover Barcelona’s real jewel in its market crown and one of its best kept secrets, the Mercat Galvany. Located in the upmarket district of Sarria, and accessible from C/ Santaló 65 near Muntaner FGC, the Mercat Galvany stands high and majestic; it is the city’s largest iron structure, softened by coloured glass windows. Its origins date back to historic Barcelona, before the sprawling Eixample joined Ciutat Vella with the neighbouring villages of Gracia, Sarria, Sants and Sant Andreu to create the cityscape of today. Our first encounter is at the bar with Bernardo Ridau, President of the market’s Council of Traders. “It used to be all fields around here, with some nice country residences and a dairy farm with cows. This was an open air space where farmers gathered and set up a weekly market. Gradually a few fishermen started coming, and over the years it began to grow, until in 1868 the construction of a permanent market began.” The organic evolution described is common to many focal points in the community such as markets and churches, around which the modern city has expanded.

The Mercat Galvany is open daily from 9am-2pm. http://www.mercatgalvany.es.

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