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The Fake Gothic Bridge Pont del Bisbe

Carrer del Bisbe is a street in the old center of Barcelona known for its Gothic buildings. Every tourist who visits Barcelona walks by it at some point, often to take a photo of the Pont del Bisbe, a so-called fake Gothic bridge that hangs above the street. But why is it fake and why does everyone take a photo of it?

A Gothic Quarter that is Not (Entirely) Gothic

The streets of medieval Barcelona provide an ideal setting to discover the history of Barcelona and invite everyone to enjoy the city center at a leisurely pace. However, what visitors may not know is that not everything they see is as old as it seems.

Take, for example, the Pont del Bisbe, one of the most photographed spots in Barcelona where every tourist who passes by assumes it is really ancient. But nothing could be further from the truth, as this bridge was only erected at the beginning of the 20th century, to be exact on April 23, 1928.

It was built as part of the Barcelona International Exposition of 1929 under a large-scale plan by the city council to beautify the old center of Barcelona and bring back that old medieval character.

Carrer del Bisbe Barcelona
Carrer del Bisbe in Barcelona

As a result, the neighborhood around the Cathedral of Barcelona was named “Barri Gòtic” (Gothic Quarter), and various buildings were constructed to mimic the glorious Catalan Middle Ages. And with success, because everyone who has visited the center of Barcelona since then thinks they are walking around in the real old Medieval city.

Of course, not everything you see in the Gothic Quarter is fake: some palaces, fountains, and churches, such as the Palau Reial Major or the Jewish quarter El Call, really did exist in the Middle Ages. But others, like the buildings around Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, were brought here, or like this bridge on Carrer del Bisbe, were added later.

A Bridge Full of Legends and Superstitions

The fake Gothic bridge of Carrer del Bisbe was thus placed in 1928. The Pont del Bisbe was designed by the architect Joan Rubió I Bellver, also one of Gaudí’s major collaborators, and connects the Palau de la Generalitat (the palace of the Catalan government) with the house of Casa dels Canonges (formerly the official residence of the Catalan president), which is opposite it. It was designed in neo-Gothic style and is very reminiscent of a Venetian medieval bridge, which fits very well in this street.

And although it hasn’t been around for long, the fake Gothic bridge is already linked with numerous legends and superstitions. The gruesome skull and dagger motif at the bottom of the bridge also helps. For example, it is said that the skull is a real human skull and that if the dagger in the skull ever falls off or comes off, it will mean the end of Barcelona.

On a more positive note, according to another legend, the skull under the bridge can make wishes come true. To do this, you must make a wish while walking backwards under the bridge and looking straight at the skull.

In addition, the Pont del Bisbe remains a strikingly beautiful element on Carrer del Bisbe. No wonder everyone looks at it as they pass by and every tourist wants to take a photo of it!

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Hello! My name is Marta, and I am a born and raised Barcelonian. I love introducing people to Barcelona, especially the Barcelona known to locals. In Barcelona, I am always looking for fun places and tips that I can then share with you, with the goal of helping you experience Barcelona like a local.

Marta Rubio

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