Perhaps today, it doesn’t seem much more than a significant extension of cement, quays and terminals that describe a curve on the coast, but believe us: there are other ways to look at the Port of Barcelona.
Its enormous antiquity makes it so unique. This port has been here as long as the city, from the days of Julius Caesar to the 1992 Olympic boom. It hasn’t stopped growing or being one of the most significant Mediterranean landmarks. But we believe that this place misses its golden days.
It was around the fifteenth century when the Gothic Barcelona was flourishing. It is then when they decide to expand and improve the port facilities so the hundreds and hundreds of ships that drop anchor here can have more room and manage in a better and safer way. No doubt there is a tug-of-war between the Consell de Cent, which governs the city, and the Kings of Aragon, thanks to the typical problem of all times: the budget.
Finally, the Port of Barcelona opened its docks in 1477, and the number of ships, vessels, merchants and sailors multiplied. Leather, precious-metal craft-works, weapons and almost anything manufactured on Catalan soil departed from the city. On the other hand, from Venice silk is disembarked; luxury goods arrive from Egypt, and beautiful objects come from the far lands of the East.
Barcelona’s Port is so prosperous that it's the envy of the one in Hamburg, controlled by the Hanseatic League, whose merchants also disembark here with their eau de Cologne, their precious amber from the Baltic Sea, the valuable fabrics from the Netherlands and many many more products.
We cannot tell you the whole story, but there are two museums at hand that will. One is the Museum of History of Catalonia, in the middle of the promenade, where from the rooftop you will be able to enjoy a great panoramic view while you have a drink. And the other one is the Maritime Museum, housed in the Royal Shipyards.
The Shipyards are from the Medieval times, in them, galleys were built so that the Royalty of Aragon could sail over the Mediterranean Sea with their heads high. Sometime after, the ship on which Juan de Austria commanded the victory in Lepanto also sailed off from here.
But that’s not all! It’s here where the first inhabitants of the New World arrived, brought by Columbus in 1493, and here too, only fifty years later, the first tests performed with a steamboat took place. And who was the wild man? Well, it was Blasco de Garay, a brilliant inventor who, for injustices of life, is not known by many people.