A few days ago, I went on a guided tour in Barcelona’s historic center to visit some of the city’s most well-hidden treasures, namely buildings with masonic symbols. In this post, I will share some info about the walk without revealing the exact itinerary, because those of you in Barcelona might like to do it, and because I think it would be better to do it with the guide (Alexandre Lloreda, Literat Tours) rather than on your own, given his excellent knowledge and his passion for the theme: Check the website of his agency here.
The tour (Masonic Barcelona) started with an introduction to Freemasonry, its history (from the XIV c. onwards), its symbols, its values, etc. A fair share was given to Freemasonry in Spain, which has around 170 Masonic lodges, with the central one being in Barcelona. It is interesting how Freemasonry was demonized by Franco who associated it with Jewish conspiracies. It comes as no surprise though, bearing in mind that most of the liberators of the ex-Spanish colonies in the Americas were Freemasons, and so were most of the figures of the Second Republic in Spain. One of the participants, himself a mason, emphasized how the Freemasonry in Spain until the Civil War was largely a French influence, and hence the rejection for it on part of those who associated France with all the evils imaginable (cherchez the Church vs. the French Illustration!).
The guide also talked about the ranks of masons, their division into two currents, and the symbols they use. In addition to obvious symbols like the compass and the square, other symbols include the 7-pointed star and the acacia tree, reminiscent of Hiram Abiff, the Phoenician architect of King Solomon’s Temple. God is the master geometrician and architect (and hence the G in their symbol), and it’s only logical for a ‘mason’ to venerate Him as such.
The itinerary took us to places like Portaferrissa Street and the Cathedral of Barcelona, where we could admire plaques and friezes with Masonic symbols that seem to elude the viewer. As I said, I will not mention building numbers or exact places, but I’ll attach some photos (scroll down). Among the interesting things that we saw were marks left by groups of masons in the façade of a medieval church. The marks might have served as a quality control mechanism (to see which stones erode first and which are more resilient), and also as a ‘count’ in order to pay different groups of masons according to how much they contributed to work. Then came a building with a huge clock on top, and a goddess holding what seemed to be the arms of the clock, but on a more careful examination appears to be nothing but a compass. The marks on the clock (12, 1, 2, 3, 6 and 9) sum up to 33, the age of Christ when he supposedly died on the cross.
Enough for now, but here are some interesting short facts:
Did you know that Freemasonry has no ‘ideology’?
Did you know Freemasonry did not accept atheists into its circles?
Did you know that Freemasons played a massive role in the French & American Revolutions?
Did you know that Mozart was a Freemason and that his Magic Flute is almost a masonic manifesto?
Did you know freemasons can recognize each other’s rank (apprentice, fellow or master) through special handshakes?
Did you know that black and white chessboard floors are typically used in many masonic meeting places?
Enjoy the photos.