In the 8thC, the Arabs burst into the Peninsula, occupy the city but don’t destroy it. They stay there for 80 years (711-801). The 80 years of Islamic dominion end on the 4th of April 801, with Luis el Piadoso (aka Ludovico Pío), one of the emperor Carlomagno’s children. From then on, some counts get the government in the name of the emperor. The most important of them is Guifré el Pilós (Wifredo el Velloso, in Spanish) who starts the House of the Counts of Barcelona. 2.2.4. FROM ARABS TO CAROLINGIANS
In spite of having good relations with his neighbors, Borrell II (927-992) was attacked by the Muslims and ignored by the Franks. The Frank king, who had his own problems, didn’t respond to Borrell II’s request for help. 2.2.5. FROM COUNTS TO SOVEREIGNS The count would never forget that. When Hugo Capeto, the new Frank king, came to the throne, Borrell refused to renew the vassalage agreement, establishing the independence de facto for the territories he was governing (988). Beginning of the age of the sovereign counts. The legal independence (de iure= signed document) was obtained by the king Jaume I in the Corbeil treaty (1258).
The Romanesque churches represent the art of the time when the sculpture fuses with the architectural elements, offering biblical motifs, for example. The city was growing and the Roman wall ring became too narrow. In the 10thC the first burgs appear. The city grows outside the Roman walls : Burgs and poor areas (siglo X-XIII) Around the old Santa Maria del Mar and near the beach Vilanova del Mar emerged. It was the origin of the popular and active quarter of La Ribera. The present Argenteria St. -first known as Calle de Mar- soon became one of the main streets of the area. It took an important role in its development, holding a big group of craftsmen. It kept this nature until the 19thC, when the silversmiths, settled there since the 15thC, moved to Ferran St. Other important streets of the area were Basea St. and Montcada St. Present view of Argenteria St. Vilanova del Mar
Mercadal /Plaça del Blat/Plaça de l’Angel The present Plaça de l’Angel is very near the Plaça Sant Jaume and Argenteria St. The square emerged around the Old Castle, which was a prison until the mid-19thC. The castle was built at the Principalis Sinistra gate of the old Roman wall. It was an important entrance for goods and travelers. The coastal stretch of Vía Augusta and Calle de Mar (the present Argentería) met at this point. The old prison, in Torre del Castell Vell later del Veguer, by Plaça del Blat, as it appears in Crònica del Principat de Catalunya , by Jeroni Pujades.
Plaça del Blat foundation stone In the Middle Ages it was known as Plaça del Blat , as this was where this cereal, wheat, was sold. Set in the ground was a plaque which marked the start of the four quarters the city was divided into, as shown in this sketch. In the centre it says "The stone of Plaça del Blat " and around it, starting on the right and reading clockwise, the names of the different quarters, or neighbourhoods.
Plana Palma/ Plaça del Pi The Santa Maria del Pi church had already been built when al-Mansur attacked Barcelona in 985. There is documentation of a burg around it 30 years later, small in size and much less important than much busier areas, for example, Mercadal. Part of this burg included the Call, or Jewish neighbourhood, first mentioned in 1082 The Church of Santa Maria del Pi and Plaça del Pi in the 19th century, from an etching by Rouargue.
The Burg of the Arcs Antics Across the arches of one of the old Roman aqueducts in Barcelona an urban settlement sprang up outside the walls, soon known as Burg of the Arcs Antics. Plaça Nova was, before Avinguda de la Catedral was opened, the centre of the settlement.