At first glance, the Plaça Sant Felip Neri seems a little less active than many of the other squares that you encounter while strolling around Barcelona’s gothic quarters. It even feels a little “heavy” in a way. Not heavy in the sense if being overly depressing or unbearable. But you can tell as soon as you enter the square, that there was something significant about it.
The history of this particular square probably has a lot to do with the feeling I experienced. What now houses a school full of rambunctious toddlers, was once a church during the days of war. And this particular church was the very site that the Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudí was on his way to, before being hit by a tram and killed.
The pockmarked walls of the church have quite a violent history as well. Some say that they are from the countless public executions that once took place there. Others say that shrapnel from bomb blasts caused them. It could be from both. But one thing that is for certain, is during a bomb explosion, 20 children and many others died while taking refuge in the church.