Casa de l'Ardíaca (archdeacon's house)
Located in the heart of the Gothic quarter, near the cathedral, the casa de l'Ardíaca (the house of the archdeacon or principal deacon of a cathedral) is a 12th-century Gothic palace built on the building that served as the headquarters of the Visigoths, itself built on the Roman wall. The building has undergone many transformations, the most important in the 15th century when Archdeacon Lluís Desplà made it his residence.
The building is standing on the Roman wall, which can be seen inside the ground floor, as well as the arrival of the two aqueducts and the cisterns that supplied Barcelona with water in Roman times.
The building is standing on the roman wall that can be seen in the interior, on the ground floor, also at the end of the aqueducts and cistern that distributed water to Barcelona in the roman times.
In 1985 the building became the seat of the college of lawyers, and in 1902 was once again transformed, this time by the modernist architect Lluis Domênech i Muntaner.
Lluis Domênech i Muntaner, was with Antoni Gaudí one of the most famous architects and representative of the modernist movement and one of the most famous architects of Barcelona, known for the realization, among others, of the Catalan Music Palace and the Hospital of Sant Pau.
He added to the facade of the building this enormous and enigmatic mailbox sculpted in white marble which astonishes passers-by and has given rise to many legends, such as the fact of stroking the head of swallows or the shell of the turtle brings good luck and that travelers who perform this ritual will return to Barcelona. Which caused the heads of the swallows to be broken several times and in need of expensive repairs of which one can see the traces.
Asked about the symbolism and interpretation of the mailbox carvings, he replied that these motifs represent an allegory of justice: "Justice should fly high and be swift as swallows, but in practice it is slow as tortoises and tortuous like ivy".
This is the photo we have chosen, in our website for the contact mailbox.
-> Link to la casa de l’àrdiaca’s information in Wikipedia (in Spanish).
-> Link to modernist architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner’s information in Wikipedia.
-> Discover this surprising mailbox during the Gothic Quarter tour