Oldest shop in Barcelona delights customers with its deep routed history, eclectic candles

May 24, 2013
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Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 2.21.58 PMFrom skulls to carrots to cathedrals, the oldest candle shop in the world has been molding original designs for more than 250 years. Candle maker Paulí Subirà and his descendants have been fashioning candles since 1939 with the same principles of the Middle Ages, said Pilar Subirà, the daughter of owner Jordi Subirà.

“Although during the last 40 years, there has been some machining production, candle making follows the development principles that have been kept and passed down over centuries,” Pilar said.

The rebuilding of the old part of Barcelona in that last century caused many original buildings, like the shop founded by Jacinto Galí, to be torn down. However, the business has continued to flourish under a new roof, where it’s remained since 1902.

The building, luxuriously designed in 1847 as a fabric shop, has retained its aesthetic appeal.

“It is the oldest shop preserved in its original state; the décor is exactly that which in 1847 was built to house the shop, Pau Despax textiles,” she said.

Its elaborate interior emulates the items it sells, though not all candles are priced as decadently. The shop sells the candle art for anywhere from 0.07 euros to 200 euros, depending on the consumers’ budget.

“We make and sell over a million church candles a year, and in our store, we have over a thousand different models and shapes,” she said.

The candle shop located in the Gothic Quarter is as much a historical site as it is a grounds for souvenir shopping. Cerería Subirà offers more than a sweet smelling scent to freshen up a room. It’s elaborate molds and range of designs are as individual as the person who buys them.

“The most popular are scented candles; we have over 50 different flavors,” Pilar said. “And the favorite … difficult question. It is almost like asking a parent which of their children they prefer.”