Popular Pont del Bisbe (meaning Bishop’s bridge) at Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is not as Gothic as it seems…And keeps an unknown spell.

One of the charms of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is the amount of mysteries and secrets that enclose its streets. To begin with, it is not Gothic at all (we explain it here), it was built between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. To continue, it has been the scenario of films like Perfume: the story of a murderer or The Shadow of the Wind book saga. It’s full of unique spots but one of the most interesting ones among locals and tourists is the Pont del Bisbe (Bishop’s bridge), at carrer del Bisbe.

This bridge connects the Palau de la Generalitat building with Casa dels Canonges, Catalonia’s Presidential Palace. Despite its architectural style, it’s no older than a hundred years. In fact, it was designed by Joan Rubió i Bellver in 1928. When this disciple of Gaudí presented this fake gothic bridge project, he was criticized by Barcelona citizens. Even more, satirical magazines found several uses for this construction such as a protection against the rain or a scenario to play Romeo and Juliet. Here the legend of the skull begins.

fotos del barrio gotico
Pont del Bisbe, Barcelona.


A real skull?

Under the arch of the bridge, Bellver placed a skull crossed by a dagger. Why? What does it mean? Those are the questions nobody knows how to answer. Some say it is a real skull and not a sculpture. It is also said that if someone removes the dagger, the buildings of Barcelona will collapse. Or that the souls of the prisoners parade under it. The most optimistic ones say that if you go under the bridge with your back facing the skull and you make a wish, it fulfills.

Bellver drank from Modernism, an architectural style with a lot of symbolism (see Gaudí’s obsession with Sant Jordi’s dragon). This is why it is clear that the presence of the skull has a message. Maybe it was an answer to those who despised his project…

gothic quarter
A satirical strip from the late 1920’s about the different uses of Pont del Bisbe.