La Plaça Sant Felip Neri is a square in Barcelona with a very special story behind it, the square got the same name as the church that is placed in the square. Sant Felip Neri is located in Gothic area and the square is on top of the ancient medieval cemetery of MontjuIc del Bisbe that was destroyed during the Civil War.
Right in the centre of the square there is a fountain with an octagonal base and the square was also the centre for the shoe artisans and for the boilermakers too. But the place believe it or not it is not famous for any of this reasons but because of a tragedy that happened on 1938.
In the façade of the church you can still see the grapeshots, a bomb was thrown by the national army in the Spanish Civil War and took fourty two lives, the majority of children that went to refuge into the church. There was a kinder garden school in the square and when the bombs started, the teacher wanted to refuge the children in the basement of the church. Unfortunately for them, the army at that time was testing how to kill the most number of people throwing X number of bombs, and what they did was to pause and when everybody thought that the troupes were out, they started bombarding again. This way they got to all the people who got out from the refuge to help the wounded outside, believe it or not, it was not that long ago.
Some of the buidings that surround the square, the arch from where you enter the square and the two adjacent buildings were originally located in Via Layetana, this explains that they are not affected by the grapeshots. The buildings were moved to give it a more gothic esthetic.
Apart from the victims, all the houses of the square were destroyed. It is a beauty the square, but even more when you start seeing the grapeshots and someone explains you the story behind it. The square is two feet away from the cathedral, I recommend you that when being in the city centre you step in to see it.
Nowadays there is a kinder garden as well, on my opinion is full of meaning, we are not scared and the square will always show the story that happened through its walls and the children you can see now running through the place.
I will share a secret with you, the videoclip inmortal from Evanescence was recorded in Sant Felip Neri square, all the shots taken in the square with the fountain are right there. It is incredible how now that we know the story of the square, the lyrics and the melody of my inmortal song blends in perfectly and the children play around in the square.
As a curiosity, the fountain in the square was designed by Joaquim Ros de Ramis, and is another attempt as many others in town to make Barcelona gothic, such as the cathedral gothic fake as well, don't tell anyone, shhh!
In the original fountain there used to be a child statue but it didn't last long in the square, for some reason it was stolen and it was never recovered nor replaced with anything else.
It seems that the love for Sant Felip Neri is not only something that I recognize but there are many lovers out there and one in particular that used to visit the square very often and it was Antoni Gaudí.
Gaudí was a very religious man and he used to go daily to Sant Felip Neri's church, and the day he died he was on his way to Sant Felip Neri actually and he was run over by a tram in Tetuan.
Disclaimer: Sant Felip Neri picture by Ghirigori Baumann