Situated in the El Born region of Barcelona, close to the Picasso Museum, Santa Caterina is one of the finest markets in Barcelona. Built on the ruins of an old monastery, the market opened in 1848. The market was constructed on the former site of the convent of Santa Caterina (from which it derived its name). It has served its working class neighborhood for more than 150 years.
Santa Caterina market has recently undergone modernization and extensive renovation, completed in 2005 (while preserving the old walls of the market). This is most evident in its brightly colored wavy Modernista roof, which consists of 325,000 ceramic pieces in dozens of colors intended to be coordinated with the produce sold under it. The market roof bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the Escoles de Gaudí at La Sagrada Família.
The market features more than 100 stalls dedicated to good food and fresh produce. You can buy fruit, vegetables, preserves, meat, fish, pastries, bread, frozen foods –everything you could possibly want to eat is found under one wavy roof. There are tapas bars, a restaurant, and even a supermarket in the basement (making one stop shopping easy).
My most memorable impressions of the market, besides of the unusual roof, were of Spanish people moving about with their shopping baskets, and of the vast assortment of tomatoes available. One vendor was selling over 15 varieties of tomatoes! It is not as busy or crowded as other markets in the city, and it was clear this market was mostly frequented by locals, rather than tourists.
Here’s some of what we saw during our visit:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, then right arrow to advance the slideshow)