La Ribera (or The Shore) is one of the many neighbourhoods that Gayle and I strolled through during our recent trip to Barcelona. Many of the buildings date from late Medieval times. It was a well-to-do quarter during 13th-15th centuries, when it really was by the sea shore. In fact, the area that today is named Barceloneta was still an island. La Ribera housed the wealthier shippers and merchants. Its streets were lined with their grand mansions, which like the nearly Church of Santa Maria del Mar, where built with their wealth. Besides the Basilica, notable places we saw included the Museu Picasso, the Palau de la Musica Catalana, the Museu de la Xocolata (and the cool Arxiu Fotographic upstairs), Fossar de les Moreres, and trendy Passeig del Born.
The Ribera neighborhood is undoubtedly a must-see for anyone visiting the city. Located between the sea and the old city of Barcelona, which stood behind an imposing wall, it was really important during the 15th and 16th centuries, since a rising bourgeoisie mainly settled there. Walking through its narrow streets is a journey back in time. Currently it is an area very visited by tourism and although it has become overcrowded and filled with souvenir shops, it is an important part of the city's cultural heritage and a must among travelers and locals. I particularly recommend walking along Carrer de la Argentería, reaching the Church of Santa María del Mar and then continuing along Paseo del Borne. Cute and historic.