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S’il y avait

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s’il y avait (une langue plus belle que le français) : if there were (a more beautiful language than French), if (a more beautiful language than French) existed
When the si (if) clause uses the imperfect, we follow it with a verb in the conditional.
S’il y avait moins de monde dans le métro, ce serait plus agréable. If the subway was less crowded, it would be much more pleasant.
il y a (un chat) : there is (a cat)

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