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Passeig del Born
Passeig del Born Review
Once the site of medieval jousts and Inquisitional autos-da-fé, the passeig, at the end of Carrer Montcada behind the church of Santa Maria del Mar, was early Barcelona's most important square. Late-night cocktail bars and miniature restaurants with tiny spiral stairways now line the narrow, elongated plaza. The numbered cannonballs under the public benches are the work of the "poet of space"—a 20th-century specialist in combinations of letters, words, and sculpture—the late Joan Brossa. The cannonballs evoke the 1714 siege of Barcelona that concluded the 14-year War of the Spanish Succession, when Felipe V's conquering Castilian and French troops attacked the city ramparts at their lowest, flattest flank. After their victory, the Bourbon forces obliged residents of the Barri de la Ribera (Waterfront District) to tear down nearly a thousand of their own houses, some 20% of Barcelona at that time, to create fields of fire so that the occupying army of Felipe V could better train its batteries of cannon on the conquered populace in order to repress nationalist uprisings. Walk down to the Born itself—a great iron hangar, once a produce market designed by Josep Fontseré. The initial stages of the construction of a public library in the Born uncovered the perfectly preserved lost city of 1714, complete with blackened fireplaces, taverns, wells, and the canal that brought water into the city. The Museu d'Història de la Ciutat will open a museum here September 2013, kicking off a year of events that will end with the September 11, 2012 celebration of the Barcelona defeat by the troops of Felipe V that concluded with the War of the Spanish Succession and started Barcelona's "internal exile" as official enemies of the Spanish state. The museum will be a walk through the streets of the 14th- to 18th-century Born-Ribera.
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