Pont Del Bisbe – a neo-Gothic bridge hiding a curious secret

Barcelona’s beautiful, historic Gothic Quarter is one of the town’s most popular sightseeing destinations. Its charismatic, narrow streets and a myriad of historic buildings contribute greatly to its enigmatic charm.

Situated the heart of the Gothic Quarter sits a beautiful neo-Gothic style bridge with a curious history.

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Connecting ‘Casa dels Canonges’ (Canon’s House) and the ‘Palau de la Generalitat’. ‘Pont del Bisbe’, or ‘Bishop’s Bridge’, was constructed in 1928 by Joan Rubió i Bellver, a student and friend of Antoni Gaudi, and hides an interesting design feature:

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In 1927, Bellver, a respected local architect who had collaborated on multiple projects with Gaudi, propositioned the government with a redevelopment plan of the area, suggesting that a large number of structures be demolished in order to make way for buildings inspired by the dominant Gothic style architecture of the town.

Rejected, and harshly criticised by Barcelona’s architectural circles, his grand proposal was refused by the government, but whom, for one reason or another, did allow him to oversee the construction of just one bridge: Bishop’s Bridge.

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Incensed by the decision to refuse his re-development plan, the architect secretly incorporated the symbolic, murdered skull into the underside of the bridge as a message to those that he felt had betrayed him.

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Legend has it that looking upon the pierced skull grants you one wish, or, as others believe, that the removal of the dagger would cause the collapse of the entire city.

Probably best to leave it where it is, then.

Bridge address – Calle del Obispo, 1, 08002 Barcelona

Things to see nearby – Temple of Augustus; Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia (Barcelona Cathedral); The Roman Walls; Palau Reial Major; Church of Santa Maria del Pi; Plaça del Rei; Plaça Reial; Las Ramblas


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