Barcino - two thousand year old city
As an Australian it is quite a novelty to travel to cities that were build hundreds of years ago. We just don´t have anything like it in Australia.
When Dean and I arrived in Barcelona we discovered it had been a city since Roman times. We learned that an ancient roman city named Barcino (pronounced Bark-ee-no) lay under the modern city, we knew we had to find it.
All we had to do was head over to Museu D’ Historia De Barcelona, pay the entrance fee (€7) and get in the Tardis-Time Machine, I mean elevator. The elevator has an LED display panel that displays the current year, 2017, as you go down to the ruins it reduces the number until you arrive in -17BC - a nice little touch.
The size of the ruins is what immediatly impresses you, walking around them only improves this impression.
As someone who is interested in history, let´s call me a historian for the moment, as a historian I love being able to see the marks of people who have come before us. We read so many things about peoples lives in the past but seldom do we ever witness the indicators of life for ourselves. If this sentiment connects with you then this is a museum you need to visit. Bonus, hardly anyone else goes here so plenty of time and space to explore on your own.
I will confess that there were a couple of moments when I felt very touched, I felt overwhelmed at seeing the marks of human life. The first was a mosiac tile decoration that adorned the floor of what was once the reception room of a laundry. I could easily imagine people sitting around the tiled floor, on seats, to pick up or drop off clothing.
The second was seeminly benign set of steps that sat outside the remains of a door to a shop. The gently wear on them told me this was a popular store well frequented by the populus of Barcino. I allowed myself to imagine a woman entering the store in her sandles, brushing them against the stone beneth her shoe.
The third, and final I promise, was the simple groove of wheels left in the anicient pavement. Too narrow to have been pulled by a horse, I knew in an instant that this barrow would have been pulled along by a slave whos days were long and hard. This mark of human life affected me to the point that tears welled.
The town itself is largely still intact, save for the walls and ceilings which were made of wood and not constructed to stand the test of time as the stone constructions are. Walking around the ruins you will see, a fridgedarium (pool for cold water bathing), drains, store fronts, and a very impressive church.
For those amongst us that love a tipple you can see how the Romans made and fermented their wines and the large vats that still remain inplanted in the grounds.
As the town grew and the Christian influences on the town increased so did Christian iconography. A lovely example of this is a mosiac tile representation, carvings in marble, and the baptismal pool which was increased in size and shaped as a cross to cope with the ever increasing conversions to the faith.
Leaving the ruins felt like an abbrupt returning to the present, I was quite happy to remain in the past though I doubt I could acquire the taste for Garrum (a fermented fish sauce made from their guts and heads).