The Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya (Palace of the Generalitat) is a historic palace in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It houses the offices of the Presidency of the Generalitat de Catalunya. It is one of the few buildings of medieval origin in Europe that still functions as a seat of government and houses the institution that originally built it.
Palau de la Generalitat is one of the few buildings of medieval origin in Europe
It is also the venue where Catalonia’s most important political and institutional events are held, including high-level meetings, institutional visits, award ceremonies, audiences and receptions. The Diputació del General de Catalunya, known popularly as the Generalitat, has its origins in the Corts Catalanes (Catalan Courts), a parliamentary representative assembly that shared power with the monarch and was one of the first institutions of its kind in Europe. The first president was Berenguer de Cruïlles, appointed to the Corts de Cervera in 1359. In 1400, buildings at the site were acquired to house the institution’s permanent headquarters. The main facade (1597–1619), designed by Pere Blai, is the prime example of civilian Gothic architecture of the Renaissance era in Catalonia.
The main facade (1597–1619) is the prime example of civilian Gothic architecture of the Renaissance era in Catalonia
During the 16th century, the Palau de la Generalitat grew with a new part which respected the previous Gothic style such as the Cambra Daurada (Golden Chamber) and the first Pati dels Tarongers(courtyard planted with orange trees). The most radical changes came with the extension towards the Plaça Sant Jaume (1597-1619): the current main façade was inspired by the Italian Renaissance, and there are four Doric columns of Roman origin dating from the 2nd century. The last major changes in the building happened in the period of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya, the Catalan Commonwealth, (1914-1925): items such as the staircase of honour and the equestrian statue of Sant Jordi were added. Notable from the 1970s is the acquisition of more than a hundred pieces of modern, avant-garde and contemporary art by artists such as Montserrat Gudiol, Josep Maria Subirachs, Antoni Clavé, Joan Hernández Pizjuán, and Antoni Tàpies.
Photography by David Cardelús