Sant Antoni Market

During the week, you can find in this market of Barcelona's Eixample Esquerra stalls outside selling all kinds of goods, from clothes and shoes to homewares … and, inside, gleaming displays of vegetables, fruit, fish and meat. On Sundays, second-hand books and stamps for collectors captivate the visitors to the historic Mercat de Sant Antoni which retains the architecture, vibrancy and charm of its origins.

The Mercat de Sant Antoni was designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias in 1882. Welcoming us inside, above the main entrance, is the Barcelona coat of arms, crowned by a bat, and a plaque showing the year the market was built. The metal structure, so typical of the markets built at the time, spans an interior that covers an entire block in Cerdà's Eixample district: an area large enough to contain the stalls that supply the neighbourhood of Sant Antoni.

One of the most beautiful and original elements is the gallery around the perimeter of the Mercat de Sant Antoni. Green tarpaulins provide walls and ceilings protecting the circular corridor where traders sell clothes and other goods throughout the week, while on Sundays shoppers fill their bags with books, stamps, comics and magazines. A walk around the market, especially on Sundays, is a long-established ritual among the locals and visitors who come to Sant Antoni, in search of a literary relic, to swap stamps or just to browse. At night, when the stallholders shut up shop, they put their goods into wooden drawers and the Mercat de Sant Antoni falls silent.

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