​Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city and is becoming one of the most modern cities of Europe. However, the city continues hiding some secrets, which are extremely difficult to discover.

La Moreneta of Plaça de Catalunya

La Moreneta of Plaça de Catalunya​

A very important part of the city centre of Barcelona is the Plaça de Catalunya. To stand in the middle and see the emblematic buildings around you is something you should not miss when you are visiting the city. However, nobody would think that it is right there, where you can find a hidden secret. 
There are several replicas of the Virgin of Montserrat but this one is special. 
During the civil war, there was a religious persecution in the city leaded by anarchist groups and to show your religious beliefs was very dangerous. For this reason, some parishioners were secretly praying near the statue (work of Eusebi Arnau) and the moreneta, since the military barracks were at the Plaça de Catalunya and the soldiers often went to the front from here.

The holes at the Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

The holes at the Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

Another secret but less hidden can be discovered next to the Catedral de Barcelona, in the square where the church of Sant Felip Neri (with the same name of the square) is located. The façade of the church draws the attention since several holes can be perceived, leading to the belief that they were caused by shootings and created the urban legend that executions by firing squad have been practiced there during the civil war. 
Nothing further form the reality since the damage of the façade was caused by the impact of a bomb, which felt in 1938, destroying several buildings and causing more than 40 deaths. A very tragic event but far from the false belief of executions. Nowadays, it is a hidden corner in the Gothic quarter where you can find a bit of peace in the middle of the city. 

A catedral for sharpening swords​

A catedral for sharpening swords

Returning to the Catedral de Barcelona, we will find another secret. Some scratches carved in the stones at the backside of the cathedral. A legend talks about an executioner that sharpened his axe there, just before decapitating those prisoners who were sentenced to death. That is only half of the truth since these scratches were indeed caused by weapons. However, it was not the executioner’s axe but the swords of the knights, which were sharpened here to participate in jousting tournaments (jousts and other spectacles took place not far from here, at the Passeig del Born). Even the butchers sharpened their knives on these stones, which are from the sandstone rocks extracted from the old Monjuïc quarry.

The unperceived replica of liberty

The unperceived replica of liberty

We are not referring to the well-known replica at the Biblioteca Arús but to the replica at the monument, which was built for the mayor Rius i Taulet at the Passeig Lluís Companys, just in front of the Parc de la Ciutadella. This replica seems to be unusual since it has incorporated wings and instead of a book it carries an olive branch. It is curious that such a visible replica remains unnoticed by many.

The Roman temple of the Calle Bailén

If we walk along the Calle Bailén to the height of Consell de Cent we can find one of the best-hidden secrets of Barcelona. Hidden among trees and undergrowth stands the imposing Parthenon Masriera. It was designed in 1882 by architect Josep Vilaseca on behalf of the brothers Masriera, jewelers by profession. Its design is based on the temple of August and was designed for painters and artists (in fact, it was the studio of the Masriera brothers, who were painters too). Its interior is decorated with high quality sculptures and with artistic collections, including Persian carpets, tapestries, etc. Over the time the building was ceded to a religious congregation of nuns called "Petita Companyia del Cor Eucarístic de Jesús" and now continues to be their headquarter but it belongs to the Pere-Relats Foundation, which is dedicated to helping people with special attention needs. 

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