El Masnou, Barcelona Metropolitan Area, Catalonia, Spain

The Masnou is a town and municipality in the county of Maresme. It is situated on the coast between Montgat and Premià de Mar, to the north-east of the city of Barcelona, in the comarca (county) of el Maresme. The town is both a tourist centre and a dormitory town in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.

El Masnou is a fairly young town, which did not gain independence until 1825. For centuries, the population was basically engaged in farming or fishing and preferred to live in the villages of Alella or Teià, because they were sheltered. of pirate attacks. Gradually, small fishing communities were established on the beach and fortified farmhouses were built near the sea.

The town center has buildings in a wide range of styles: neoclassical, modernista, noucentista and simply eclectic. The municipal museum has collections of archeology and of Catalan ceramics, and there is also a private museum of pharmacy and medicine. A Roman village called Cal Ros de les Cabres was one of the first settlements located on the site of the current town.

The first settlers we have documented in the area are the Iberians and, later, the Romans, who settled in the village of Cal Ros de les Cabres. From these beaches came ships loaded with amphorae of the famous wine of Laietania.

Today’s town of Masnou is very different from the commercial and seafaring town of past centuries, although it still retains the memory and anecdotes of more than a hundred years ago. The good communication, the proximity to Barcelona, and, at the same time, the pleasure of enjoying the tranquility of a town with a maritime history have made the Masnou a privileged place to live and also to visit. any time of year.

The agriculture of El Masnou is mainly of flowers, especially carnations, and the industry has a predominance of textile, with several industries about ceramics, glass and pharmaceutical products.

Currently, the testimonies that maintain the maritime tradition of this town are the industrial activities related to sailing, sports centers such as the Club Ocata Vent and, secondarily, the work of some fishermen and also amateurs who can still be seen today. at the mouth of the marina.

The current municipality of El Masnou once belonged to Sant Feliu d’ Alella and Sant Martí de Teià, villages in the area relatively far from the sea to protect themselves from pirate attacks. Its population lived from agriculture and fishing, and fishing communities were established on the beach.

The first antecedents of the town’s history can be traced to the Iberian and Roman settlements that settled throughout the Maresme region. The Roman villa of Cal Ros de les Cabres is one of the first vestiges of the inhabitants of the current Masnou territory. The lands of Masnou belonged to Sant Feliu d’Alella and Sant Martí de Teià, which were villages that were relatively far from the sea to protect themselves from pirate attacks. Its population was engaged in agriculture and fishing, and fishing communities were established on the beach.

Gradually, fortified farmhouses were built near the sea, and we have evidence of the town in the privilege of 1505 of Ferdinand the Catholic (which grants the possibility of having a lieutenant who, in the absence of the mayor of Teià, may perform its functions).

Over time, fortified farmhouses were built by the sea and, from 1812, with the proclamation of the Liberal Constitution, the town elected mayor. However, the segregation and independence of Masnou from Teià did not occur until 1825. The new municipality incorporated the Ocata district. This district has its own stop on the railway line from Barcelona to Mataró. At Ocata beach, next to the Teià stream, the green meridian ends. A plaque with the inscription “at this point in Catalonia ends the green meridian that begins in Dunkirk ” recalls this fact. Later (1846) the municipality also incorporated the neighborhood of Alella de Mar, also called Cases de Mar, a maritime neighborhood with about 1,415 residents.

The Masnou still retains the titles of “Charity Villa” granted in 1902 by King Alfonso XIII of Spain on the occasion of the construction of a charity asylum (the Charity House) and the “Most Illustrious” Vila », granted in 1909 -also by Alfonso XIII- for the construction without any aid of the National School (current Escola Ocata).

At the end of the 19th century, with the growing wealth of the Barcelona bourgeoisie, Masnou became chosen by many families who spent their summers there. From these times, important modernist style houses have remained, one of the main attractions of the town.

Later, the port of Masnou was built, which was not finished until the first democratic town councils arrived. Currently, in addition to the accommodation of the boats, it is an important point of night entertainment, not only of a municipal nature, but also of the county. Along with the port there is one of the widest beaches in the Maresme, where the Club Nàutic el Masnou stands out, one of the main clubs in Catalonia and Spain in terms of competitions and medals.

Masnovine agriculture has as its main and almost only asset the cultivation of the flower, especially the carnation. The industry, however, is more important, with a predominance of textiles (knitwear); but there is also construction industry, ceramics, glass and pharmaceuticals.

The weekly market takes place on Tuesdays.

El Masnou is one of the main municipalities in the Maresme region. The villa is very well connected and offers a wide range of attractions to be visited throughout the year. The artistic and monumental attractions are a clear example: the Nautical Museum, which contains an important nautical, archaeological and ceramic collection; the church of Sant Pere, from the 18th century, with a classicist façade, which dominates the stepped and quiet streets of the town; the town house, of late neoclassical style, and the Casino. A good number of popular houses from the last century are preserved in the old town.

Among the unique buildings in Masnou, there are also modernist style ones, such as the Casa Benèfica or the Casa de Cultura, and different old farmhouses, such as Cal Teixidor (from the 17th century) or Ca l’Antic (from the 16th century). Adjacent to the beach are the marina facilities. Its leisure and gastronomic offer is a point of reference in the region. Our town also enjoys a wide range of shops and services.

There is activity throughout the year in El Masnou, but the International Plenary Session of Laughter and the Festa Major de Sant Pere stand out on the summer agenda.

Historical heritage

Town hall
Neoclassical building designed in 1845 by Miquel Garriga i Roca, the same architect who designed the Liceu theater in Barcelona. The façade is divided horizontally into two sections, separated by the balcony: the ground floor, made of stone, where the door is flanked by two bas-reliefs; and the first and second floors, traversed by the four columns with a Corinthian capital, which support the entablature that crowns the building. This one is adorned with the carved shield of the municipality, on a sundial. On the balcony, between the columns, are two female sculptures.

From 1825, the beginning of the constitution of Masnou as an independent municipality, there was a need to build the house of the town. In 1845, a commission of lenders and a board of residents were set up to build the Town Hall building, which would cover part of the cost of the works. It was the Guild of Mareantes the one that contributed more capital, by means of advances, for the construction of the consistorial house, capital that the City council was returning little by little. It was the mayor Joan Rubis who commissioned the architect Miquel Garriga i Roca to build the current neoclassical style City Hall building on land that Gaspar Malet’s family had acquired in 1755.

House of the Marquis of Masnou
Large stately mansion in the French classicist style, built from 1902. It belonged to Romà Fabra i Puig, who received the title of first Marquis of Masnou in 1922. The building is characterized by the two large towers octagonal flanking the main façade, covered with sharp slate pyramids.

Casa Eulàlia Matas
Modernist building characterized by its ornate façade, with floral sgraffito on a yellow background. On the main floor, the balcony doors have a lintel embellished with historicist molding and, between the two openings, the coat of arms of Catalonia is sculpted. In the same historicist line is the mainell window on the ground floor and the gallery of semicircular arches on the upper floor. Interesting is the small porch at the entrance, with built-in dragons. The façade is crowned by a stone roof fence, with plant decoration and terracotta vases on the sides.

Modernist building designed by Bonaventura Bassegoda and built between 1903-1904 next to the old farmhouse of Can Fontanills, known as the Mas Vell, which was integrated into the whole. The works were financed by the local patron Pere-Guerau Maristany i Oliver, who was engaged in the trade of wines overseas. The building has several entity, on either side of the farmhouse. On the right side is the entrance to the Casino, with a semicircular upper terrace. To the left of the farmhouse is the Theater, with numerous doors on the ground floor, surrounded by wide moldings. On the upper floor there are Gothic-inspired crown windows and, in the “hall” part, large narrow-arched windows with polychrome stained glass.

Ca l’Antic
17th century farmhouse located at the foot of the road, very close to the coast. It has a gabled roof, a rear tower and a cylindrical sentry box located at one of the corners. The portal is vaulted, with a lowered arch. The façade of the house preserves windows of Gothic-Renaissance tradition, one with a straight lintel decorated with a woman’s face and the other with a canopy arch, with angel faces.

Can Teixidor
17th century farmhouse, very renovated, located on a small promontory, very close to the coast, almost next to the town of Montgat. It belonged to Francesc Pascual i Cadell, who died in 1671 and later to the Planellas, counts of Llar. It consists of several buildings, with an enclosed courtyard in front, where there is a chapel, dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat. Attached to the house is the cellar. The main façade has a round-pointed voussoir door, with cut-out voussoirs, typical of the 17th century. The restoration carried out in modern times has made it possible to remove the false balcony that ran along the main floor and recover the Gothic lintel of the window. The tower attached to the façade must have been part of the coastal surveillance line in times.

Ca l’Aymà
It is popularly known as the Castellet, an image that evokes the crenellated tower and the general appearance of the building. It was designed by the engineer Jordi Cot in 1907. It consists of several bodies, the facades of which combine plain white stucco with exposed brick. A remarkable element is the polygonal grandstand located at the corner of the two main bodies. At the back is the lookout tower, with a pyramidal roof of glazed ceramic.

Can Targa
16th century farmhouse much renovated later. It has a rectangular floor plan and a double-sloped roof. It preserves the half-pointed voussoir portal and the ashlars that frame the two rectangular windows on the upper floor and those that reinforce the corners. It seems that the name comes from a 19th century pirate captain captured by the owner of the house, the sailor Josep Sampere.

El Mas Vell
The Can Fontanills farmhouse, from the 15th century, was integrated by Bonaventura Bassegoda into the Casino complex, designed in 1903. It had a defense tower, which has disappeared, which can be seen in drawings made by the municipal architect Garriga and Roca, in 1847. Bassegoda’s work involved the restoration of the farmhouse, which retains the large voussoir portal and several windows in the Gothic tradition. It is currently occupied by a restaurant.

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Charity House or Asylum
The Masnou Charity House was instituted by Pau Estapé i Maristany in 1899. The building is a remarkable modernist example of Gaietà Buïgas that was completed in 1901. In front it has a square tower. covered with a dome made of glazed ceramic flakes. It has an ogival façade and a large neo-medieval window. Behind it is a rectangular body covered on two sides and open on the sides with molded windows.

Casa Millet
The house was renovated in the late nineteenth century following the modernist taste. It is a building between partitions of floor and floor, with individual balconies of stone and ornamentation with sgraffito around the openings and under the cornice. The finish of the facing is stucco imitating ashlars.

Can Patateta
Located next to the Millet house and in full harmony with it, the renovation of this house must have been carried out at the same time and by the same architects, probably Gaietà Buïgas and Miquel Garriga i Roca. It is fully in line with the modernist taste of the late nineteenth century, with a predominance of the curved line and sgraffito ornamentation of floral motifs.

Ca l’Indià
The house was built in the late 19th century by the Bertran family, who owned the brig Maria Rosa. The most original element of the façade is the staircase and the access door to the main floor, in a corner of the corner that rests on a thick column of smooth wood.

Sant Jordi mosaic house
Despite the alteration of the ground floor, where there is a shop, the house retains the modernist finish of the rest of the facade, dominated by the polygonal grandstand under which there is a large ceramic mosaic representing the legend of St. George.

Can Malet
18th century farmhouse very modified during the 19th century, although its origin is much older. It had been acquired in 1703 by Vicenç Rogent, from Barcelona, who restored it and added a chapel. It preserves a door framed with stone where, on the lintel, the date 1736 is engraved. From the following century it is the façade of pointed arches between fluted pilasters, partially preserved. The whole, with the garden, has been adapted as a nursing home. According to Garriga i Roca, this is the “mas nou”, which gave rise to the name of the town.

Sensat-Pagès House
Jaume Sensat and Rosa Pagès, young men living in Barcelona, wanted to renovate the façade of their house on the road, with a three-street façade, a project they commissioned from the master builder Pere Andreu. This was inspired by the neo-Arab repertoire to compose a façade of great plasticity, combining pink and white stucco and various types of lobed and horseshoe arches. It is necessary to emphasize the tribune with cupola of the corner. Inside, a good part of the modernist decoration and furniture is preserved. The house was ceded to the municipality in 1975 and restored in 1988 to become a House of Culture.

Cal Senyor
Frederic Maristany promoted the renovation of the house -a typical house of body- to turn it into a large house with garden, ground floor, two floors and roof. The façade stands out for its finish in red and white strips of stucco imitating exposed brick. It is articulated in two vertical axes. In one there are the door and the balconies and in the other the quarter room, on the ground floor, and balcony windows on the floors. The work was carried out in 1900. The garden gate was designed by Juli M. Fossas in 1915.

Casa Framis
Half-timbered house built in 1902. It has a ground floor and two floors. The composition of the façade is inspired by Renaissance architecture, especially the sculptural decoration on the lintels of the main floor and the openings on the upper floor, as a solarium gallery. The door is inscribed in a large pointed arch that includes lattice side openings.

House Bassegoda
The private house of the architect Bonaventura Bassegoda, formerly known as Ca l’Antònia de la Llet, was renovated by himself in 1909. It is a house between one-storey partitions and two floors where the main floor opens with two large pointed arched balconies adorned with pottery and a sculpted coat of arms of St. George in between. In the ceramic mosaics you can see a rose and a compass, symbols of the profession of architect. The upper floor, of lower height, has a gallery of four carpanell arches between columns. The building is crowned by the roof railing, which combines work and iron.

House of the sgraffito
Ground floor and two storey building on the corner of Mestres Villà and Capitans Comellas streets. It was built in 1890 but its current appearance is due to the renovation carried out by Josep Goday in 1925. The sgraffito features the façades that surround the doors and windows and also adorn the grandstand on the side façade. In addition to vases and garlands, there is also a boat that evokes the town’s seafaring past.

Casa Pere Maristany
Bonaventura Bassegoda designed a number of houses in El Masnou during the first decade of the 20th century, several of them for the Maristany family. A good example is the Pere Maristany Pagès house, built in 1904. It is a two-storey building with a balcony on the main floor and a gallery on the upper floor. His style can be included in the most eclectic and contained aspect of modernism.

Can Guarino
Building designed by Enric Sagnier in 1906. It is a large French classicist summer residence, with the typical slate attics of this style.

Can Fontanills
Noucentista building with a square floor plan that consists of a semi-basement, two floors and an attic. Roof with gabled roof. In front of the door there is a porch on Tuscan columns that acts as a terrace on the main floor. At the back is the chapel. In 1984 it was set up as a youth hostel under the name of Josep M. Batista i Roca Youth Hostel.

Religious heritage

Parish church of Sant Pere
The temple was started in 1760 by Miquel Garriga and was finished by his son Pau in 1817, coinciding with the segregation of the parish, until then integrated in Teià. Miquel and Pau Garriga are the grandfather and father of the would-be municipal architect, Miquel Garriga i Roca. The building has three rectangular naves. The façade is neoclassical, with a rectangular portal, above which there is a niche with an image of Saint Peter. The church was set on fire and badly damaged during the civil war. The bell tower was not completed until the 1960s.

Church of Maricel
The modern church of Maricel was designed in 1983. It has an exterior building, where the parish services are located, and the basement, where the church is located, the floor of which is in the shape of an irregular polygon. it lights through a small lantern on the altar. The exterior building also has an irregular floor plan and a roof based on roofs on different sides, with exposed brick facades and wooden cornices. The free-standing concrete bell tower is the work of Joaquim Pujol Grau (1984). In 1993, the extension of the parish premises was completed according to a project by the architects Salvador Ribas, Jordi Gual and Xavier Cavero.

Cemetery Chapel
The Masnou cemetery was designed by Miquel Garriga i Roca in 1860 to replace the old cemetery next to the parish church. However, the splendor of the site, turned into a real museum, was achieved during the first decade of the twentieth century thanks to the construction of the monumental pantheons of wealthy Masnovine families, mostly designed by architect Bonaventura Bassegoda. Of him is the neo-Romanesque chapel, built in 1907 by Bonaventura Fontanills, where his sister is buried.

Under the motto “El Masnou, land of the sea”, The City Council is carrying out an ambitious project to recover local heritage. The main idea is that, when finished, some of the most emblematic buildings and spaces in the history and culture of the municipality become central spaces of social activity, both for the inhabitants of the town and for visitors and tourists. The project aims to recover the heritage (through the rehabilitation, recovery and adaptation of the Water Mine, the House of Culture and the Lake Park); its enhancement (through the definition of an itinerary through the old town of El Masnou and the signposting of the most outstanding architectural elements); and the promotion of the municipality (through the dissemination of heritage through a website and mobile application, the creation of tourist and cultural products and the opening of a tourist and cultural information point).

Ca n’Humet
This historic building was built around 1920, when Eduard Domènech i Muntaner (brother of the famous architect Lluís Domènech i Muntaner) installed a printing press in Carrer de Fontanills, which corresponds to a part of the structure of the ‘current building known as Ca n’Humet. The architect was Francesc Guàrdia i Vial (son-in-law of Lluís Domènech i Muntaner). We know that during the Civil War the Masnou Painters’ Cooperative was set up there and, after the war, it was transformed into a spinning and wool factory of the Humet family, which gave its name to the building. It is currently municipally owned and has undergone a major refurbishment to transform it into a cultural center, which has a theater, a large courtyard and a multipurpose room.

House of Culture (Casa Sensat-Pagès)
Jaime Sensat i Sanjuan and Rosa Pagès i Orta were the owners of this house and on October 23, 1900 they asked permission to “rebuild the main and side facade of the house.” The project is signed by the master builder Pere Andreu, who had already built other houses in the town. The building wanted to show, surely, the taste for the Islamic architecture of the owner, who had spent two years in Egypt. The façade faces three streets and the house occupies a plot of 120 m2. It has a ground floor and two floors. In 1975, the descendants of the first owners ceded the house to the Masnou Town Council on the condition that it be used for cultural activities and in 1988 the building was restored with the help of the Diputació de Barcelona.

Ocata School
This building is located, in part, on top of the old Masnou cemetery, on land called La Mesquita, owned by the Malet family. The Municipal Schools, currently CEIP Ocata, were funded by the industrialist Pere-Grau Maristany, Count of Lavern and designed by Bonaventura Bassegoda, in 1904. Although the procedures for building mixed public schools were formalized in 1902, it was in September 1905 that classes began to be taught there, under the name of Mixed School, because it was a school for both sexes, boys and girls (separated into two distinct wings of the building). It is a floor and floor construction that combines smooth facing with exposed brick. It has a higher central body with a porch in front of the access door.

Events and festivals
The main festival is celebrated on Saint Peter’s Day, June 29. Since 2015, this motto has been “Earth, Sea and Fire”, in honor of the legend of the three founding elements of Masnou, which come from nymphs. This legend is staged every year through the proclamation of the festival that takes place on the beach of Ocata. During the festival, the most important events are the meeting of giants, the castle of fires, the many concerts and the service in honor of St. Peter.

As part of the 2019 festival, the Novina was born, the festive beast of Masnou born from the land, the sea and fire. Created by the three nymphs during the proclamation, the beast represents an animal with the body of a terrestrial and marine animal that throws fire. The builder of the figure was Ramón de los Heros, from Badalona.

The Fastcurt short film festival is also held during July and the Ple de Riure international circus festival during the same month. The Sardana gathering is held in April, although every month there is a dance with a live cobla. Also noteworthy are the celebrations of the Fira de Santa Llúcia, the Sant Silvestre race (the oldest in Catalonia and the first in Spain to introduce a race only for women), the percussion…

The Masnou consists of a giant Doll. Its giants are Pere el Drapaire and Eulàlia Tallacolls. They are 3.45 m tall (he) and 3.20 m (she). They were built in the El Ingenio workshop in Barcelona (the originals) and in the Sarandaca workshopof Granollers (copies). They bear the names of the patrons of the village. The giants are nicknamed “Drapaire” and “Tallacolls” in homage to their patrons (Jaume Santigosa, who was a draper, and his wife, who was a seamstress and cut the necks of his shirts very well). Thanks to them, the first giants existed in the town of El Masnou. The giantess Eulàlia was proclaimed a pubilla giantess from the Maresme in 2003, which is why in 2004 the Meeting of the Giants of the Maresme took place in El Masnou. This meeting was special, as the choreography of the Dansa del Maresme was premiered, a dance that brings together all the giants of the region and is only danced once a year.

The village also enjoys the Ple de Cops baton group, a sardana group, a group of devils, a trabucaire group and three percussion groups: New Drummers, Atabalats and Vatukem. A fixed theater program has been set up at the Espai escènic Ca n’Humet, in which plays, musicals, concerts… are performed.

Parks and gardens
The parks and gardens of El Masnou add up to a total of about 15 hectares of urban greenery, and have more than 4,000 trees that make up the roadside trees.

The main parks in the city are Vallmora Park, Lake Park and Caramar Park. The main gardens are the Nymph Gardens, the Can Malet Gardens, the Millennium Gardens and the Lluís Milet Gardens.

Lake Park
The garden of the estate of the Marquis of Masnou is currently a public park owned by the municipality. Centered by the lake that gives it its name and surrounded by palm trees and various species of trees, it has a bridge, a roundabout and other elements typical of classicist gardens.

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