The Gothic Quarter is an area teeming with alleyways and squares in the centre of Barcelona, where the presence of palaces, houses and Gothic churches reveals the city's medieval past. It is one of the most attractive parts of Barcelona, and its streets abound in medieval buildings such as the palaces of the Town Hall and the Generalitat (the Catalan Regional Government), and the Gothic churches of Santa María del Pi and Sant Just y Pastor. It also contains the Jewish Quarter, comprising a network of narrow streets and where part of its former Synagogue can still be seen today.
Its streets are arranged around various squares, of which the most interesting are those of Sant Jaume, el Rei and la Reial. The first is the political heart of Barcelona, and the site of the town hall and the Palau de la Generalitat building. The architectural ensemble in Plaça del Rei square offers arguably the finest examples of mediaeval constructions in Barcelona, with the Palau Reial Major, part of the old Roman wall, the Palau del Lloctinent (Deputy's Palace) and the City History Museum. Finally La Reial is an exceptionally lovely porticoed square and a very popular spot –particularly in the evening– thanks to its numerous cafés and bars.
This neighbourhood has been the heart of the city since Roman times, and in fact is the site of the Roman necropolis (Villa de Madrid square), while very nearby it is still possible to see the remains of the Roman Temple of Augustus.