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El Pla de la Seu (Carrer Merceria)
This is one of the city's areas that best retains its mediaeval atmosphere. Presided over by the Cathedral, it is the site of several large Gothic structures, including, of special note, the ancient rectory and the Casa Balcells. The latter, still well conserved, consists of a large central courtyard ringed by harmonious arches and beams that still partially bear their original colouring, and lined with servants' rooms, wine cellars, stables, a cistern and other chambers. A twisting staircase leads to an arcaded gallery on the main floor, which houses a vast reception room. Quite close, toward the end of Carrer Major, the home of the Abbot of Poblet, the former City Council building, with its exceptional courtyard and main floor, and the archways of Carrer Merceria, which date from the 14th century, can all be found.