Barcelona’s City History Museum is Timewarpy

Much like the Roman Temple, Barcelona’s City History Museum is one of those things in the town that I’ve missed multiple times. This is mostly due to there being a lot to do in Barcelona and I just had never made it a priority. Well, shame on me and everyone else who made the same mistake.
The museum is less a museum and more an interactive self-guided tour (there are audio guides included with the admission) of the old Roman city that was Barcino and is now Barcelona. Yeah, some 2,000 years ago, those crazy, wandering Romans decided to build an outpost here that grew up in the town we all know and love today. True to European custom, the oldest part of the modern city sprang forth from the foundations of Barcino. You can see this on the ground level with various chunks of the old city wall still standing and incorporated in to other buildings as well as parts of the old city aqueducts.
The first floor of the museum is a good showing with artifacts from various periods of its existence as well as maps of the region at the time. It initially seems like that’s about it, but it’s only once you step in to an elevator at the end of the floor, that the cool juju begins. At the top o the elevator is a display that says, ‘2009’. As the doors close and the elevator descends, the display starts to tick off the years and it ever to slowly comes to a rest many meters below the ground in what is the original Roman town. Now, they haven’t excavated the entire old Roman city or anything like that, but they have unearthed a massive chunk of buildings and elements that were everyday life for the Barcinians that lived there. You get to walk through a clothes dying shop, a fish salting shop, and most importantly, a winery (yeah, yeah, “What did the Romans ever do for us?!!”)
The details are fantastic and I spent two hours meandering through all of this. I would have spent more, but I was (and pretty much still am) in the midst of a cold that makes meandering through ancient ruins not as much fun as usual. Even still, it was quite impressive and they’re even working on a whole new chunk, which makes me realize that my next trip to Barcelona should include seeing what’s “new” at the Roman ruins.
Exiting the museum isn’t quite as cool as the entering and meandering, but on the way out, they’ve displayed a number of old documents from various periods as well as two scale models of Barcelona at two points in its history. The bigger model is about three by three meters, so it shows a grew wealth of detail as well as the second set of city walls that were build at some point in the Medieval period to protect that city that outgrew the old walls of Barcino. That was news to me and something I now need to scout out as I have a real old city wall fixation.
Anyways, go check out the museum if you’re in town. About the only downside to it is that they don’t allow photos at all, even without flash for some ridiculous reason. This is why there there is no illustrative photo for this article and why you’ll just have to “unfortunately” see it for yourself.