El Mercat (Market of the Princess) is found in Barcelona's most Bohemian quarter: El Born. Just stepping through the door, one is captivated and feels compelled to wander through it. Without knowing why, he feels that magic of unique places steeped in history. It was a palace, back in the 14th century and, like something out of Game of Thrones, has witnessed stories of love, heartbreak, passion, power, intrigue… What we can say for certain is that one now eats better there than during those long-ago times, with wonderful fare and drinks at its 17 different eateries, whether it’s some authentic Basque pintxos in a casual atmosphere at Txapela, tasty burgers at Burgers & Broquetes, some broken fried eggs at Amb 2 Ous, some good Sushi, high-quality ham at Xarcu… or those incredible mini pizzas at Fabio's , our most authentic "Pizzaiolo", among other little delights!
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As one would expect of what is both a great palace and a great market, the Princesa is constantly buzzing with activity. There is something going on all the time… Every week there are new features and events: product presentations, celebrations, wine and beer tastings, and live music…We are bubbly people, and we like the atmosphere that arises at dusk and the early evening with our superdiva singers, alternative jazz and indie groups, or a pure flamenco artist who, from time to time, astonishes everybody... and, sometimes, classic... whatever comes up.
For those few inhabitants of this small and wonderful world who are not familiar with the history of the market, the palace and its princess... we'll tell you. Here we go:
The story goes that in the year 1346 the Princess Constanza, daughter of Pedro III "the Ceremonious," was strolling through the Ribera District looking for bargains in the Jewish market… Attracted by a ruckus in a corner of it, she discovered a shipwrecked sailor on the beach , clinging to life, gravely wounded… He turned out to be from Genoa, the only survivor of a shipwrecked vessel on which he served as a cook. The princess's best friend, Lucía, fell madly in love with him, a love story that never would have been possible without Constanza, who functioned as a kind of procuress. Everything was kept under wraps, as Lucía was the daughter of an Aragonese nobleman and engaged to be married to a rich landowner who, it seems, was secretly conspiring (or so he thought) against Pedro III's imprudent decision to name his daughter Constanza his heir. So, things got complicated…
Although Lucía was never certain that it was Constanza who betrayed her, later, on her deathbed, she thought she had figured it all out: Constanza had not helped her out of friendship, but rather in her own struggle against those who opposed her succession to the throne. Without realizing the importance of her words, Lucía had let it slip to her friend that her father and her detested fiancée thought that the king was mad to decree that his daughter succeed him. Thus, Constanza had found in Lucía's illicit love the perfect instrument of revenge: an Aragonese noblewoman stains her honour for a plebeian who, to make matters worse, came from the crown of Catalonia-Aragón's most hated kingdom. A future husband and a father, victims of the greatest possible affront to their honour. Thus did she take revenge on Lucía, for her beauty, and also on her political enemies.
Of course, Lucía's father and fiancée at first wished to duel to restore their honour, but these intentions didn't last long... Nobody knows why exactly, but there was no happy ending for anyone: the sailor was unveiled as an arrogant, Genovese usurper; the tavernkeeper, a Jew and a procurer; and Lucía, a tramp. Constanza, of course, was never crowned queen. Some letters say that Lucia and the Genoa ran away happily, but not for long, as the Black Plague took both their lives, leaving only a poor two-year-old orphan.