The Palau de la Generalitat, located in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona, is one of the few buildings of medieval origin in Europe that have been maintained as a seat of Government and for the same institution for which it was built.
The original house, on Carrer Sant Honorat, was acquired in 1400 and during the 15th century it was expanded and converted into a new gothic palace, the work of Marc Safont. Among the best preserved elements from this period are the Gothic Gallery and the Chapel of Sant Jordi.
During the 16th century, the Palau de la Generalitat grew with a new part which respected the previous Gothic style such as the Cambra Daurada (Golden Chamber) and the first Pati dels Tarongers(courtyard planted with orange trees). The most radical changes came with the extension towards the Plaça Sant Jaume (1597-1619): the current main façade was inspired by the Italian Renaissance, and there are four Doric columns of Roman origin dating from the 2nd century.
The last major changes in the building happened in the period of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya, the Catalan Commonwealth, (1914-1925): items such as the staircase of honour and the equestrian statue of Sant Jordi were added. Notable from the 1970s is the acquisition of more than a hundred pieces of modern, avant-garde and contemporary art by artists such as Montserrat Gudiol, Josep Maria Subirachs, Antoni Clavé, Joan Hernández Pizjuán, and Antoni Tàpies.
- The Palau de la Generalitat offers free guided visits in groups and individually on the second and the fourth weekend of each month.
- The day of Sant Jordi (23rd April), the day of la Mercè (24th September) and 11th September are open-door days.