Sants-Montjuïc is one of the ten districts of the city of Barcelona. It is district III, is located in the south of the city and is the largest in Barcelona with an area of 2,294 hectares. Thie heterogeneity of the territory translates into great social and human diversity. The real extension of the district is much lower if uninhabited areas are excluded, such as the port of Barcelona, the industrial estate of the Zona Franca and much of the mountain of Montjuïc.
The territory is divided into the neighborhoods of Sants, Sants-Badal, La Bordeta and Hostafrancs above Gran Vía, and by Pueblo Seco (which includes the Montjuïc Park), La Marina de Port, La Font de la Guatlla and La Marina del Prado Rojo (which includes the Free Zone-Port) on its coastal side. Within the limits of the neighborhood is the Creu Coberta street, famous for its many shops. The Emperador Carles institute and the Joan Pelegrí school are located there, as well as the Montserrat Institution.
The boundaries of Sants-Montjuïc are, on the one hand, the municipal terms of Hospitalet de Llobregat and El Prat de Llobregat, and on the other, in Barcelona, Avinguda de Madrid and Carrer de Berlín, which the they separate it from Les Corts, and the streets of Numancia and Tarragona and the avenues of Josep Tarradellas and El Paral•lel, which separate it from the Eixample, Ciutat Vella and the sea.
Sants-Montjuïc is made up of eight districts: Poble-sec, Hostafrancs, La Bordeta, Font de la Guatlla, Marina de Port, Marina del Prat Vermell, Sants and Sants-Badal.
Santa Maria de Sants was an independent municipality in the plan of Barcelona, formed in the eighteenth century, which included the territory of the current neighborhoods of Sants (main town), Sants-Badal, La Bordeta, Hostafrancs, La Font de la Guatlla, Magoria, the Marina de Port and the Marina del Prat Vermell. The latter two, called the Marina de Sants, or simply the Marina, with the old quarter of the Port as the main town.
The mountain of Montjuïc is the safe where the history of Barcelona is kept. Few cities have such a characteristic geographical feature and so many secrets clinging to the stone and so many lived events. Archaeologists have already found abundant remains of an Epipalaeolithic quarry-workshop about 10,000 years old; is the oldest evidence of human presence in the city of Barcelona. At the foot of Montjuïc, several population centers have grown to form a physical unit, currently organized in the Sants-Montjuïc district.
Sants was a small agricultural neighborhood that had existed since at least the 11th century and was transformed into a large industrial village. The workshops where the clothes were printed with the so-called Indian drawings. Industrial growth did not stop and soon large textile factories accompanied the multitude of small workshops: Vapor Vell (Sants), Industrial Spain (Hostafrancs), Can Batlló (La Bordeta). This made these neighborhoods, which had a very rapid population growth caused mainly by immigration and with a predominant working class, become places of turbulent history and formation of many popular societies, many of which still exist.
In 1839, Barcelona had made a change of land with the municipality of Sants. The city of Barcelona ceded to its neighbor a part of the maritime area in exchange for establishing, in the stream of Magória, the limit for the southeast. Thus, the territory where the neighborhood of Hostafrancs began to be urbanized became part of Barcelona, which took the name of a hostel founded by Joan Corrades, and named after the town of Lleida where it came from.. Although it already belonged to Barcelona when the Eixample Plan was drafted, Hostafrancs was not included and had its own differentiated urban development. In 1883 the City Council of Sants added the town to Barcelona, but this municipal agreement was annulled by the Government the following year. Finally, in 1897, Sants was definitively annexed to Barcelona, by royal decree, at the same time as Sant Martí, Sant Andreu, les Corts, Gràcia and Sant Gervasi.
Poble-sec was, in fact, the first Eixample in Barcelona, prior to that designed by Ildefons Cerdà. The walls of Barcelona were demolished in 1854 and the Pla d’Eixample was approved five years later, but the owners took a few more years to build, due to reluctance against the Cerdà project. That was the origin of the Poble-sec.
Like those of Hostafrancs, the lands located on the side of the foothills of Montjuïc closest to the sea were not included in the Pla d’Eixample nor were, therefore, subject to urban limitations. The owners, with a good eye, began to plot them according to their convenience, from 1858, and to build simple houses for workers. Thus were born the neighborhoods of France Xica, Santa Madrona and the Hortes de Sant Bertran, later grouped under the generic name of Poble-sec. It was a sector that was very close to the old walled city and thus had all the advantages and one drawback: the steep slopes. It was not until 1887 that the City Council decided to intervene. He called a competition for urbanization projects that had to assume, of course, what he had already built. It was written by Josep Amargós, who completed it in 1894. He copied the chamfer system devised by Cerdà, on a small scale, and established the current urban plot of Poble-sec, from the sea to Plaça d’Espanya.
The Paral•lel, which is currently the district’s border with the old quarter and the lower part of the Eixample, was developed shortly after the 1888 World’s Fair. Its name comes from a tavern opened in 1894, whose owners, to baptize her, followed the advice of her friend the astronomer Comas i Solà, based on the fact that the layout of the street has exactly the same orientation as the terrestrial parallels and coincides with what happens by Barcelona, located at 41º 20 ‘north latitude. Then that wide avenue became a cheerful neighborhood, full of theaters and cafes.
In 1892, the Spanish Theater was opened, in the same transformed premises, which now occupy the Sala Barts. In 1898, the now defunct Café Sevilla was set up on the avenue, and in 1903, the Teatro Condal. In 1901 the New was added; in 1903, the Apollo; in 1907, the Comic; in 1916, the Victoria and the Mill. Raquel Meller, who made her debut in 1911 at L’Arnau, was the undisputed figure in the Paral•lel’s performance halls for many years. That tradition, inaugurated at the end of a century and the beginning of another, has been maintained, with obstacles, to this day.
The name of the Marina, formerly known as Zona Franca, comes from the fact that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Fomento del Treball Nacional asked the Government to create, in the Llobregat delta, a large industrial area where they could to produce, with important tax exemptions, Catalan raw materials destined for export. This is precisely a free zone: a territory that has port facilities and is considered, from a customs point of view, as a foreign territory, although it depends on the state where it is located. Only industrial and commercial constructions are allowed, but not residential ones.
This privilege was never granted in Barcelona. The land was expropriated during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, after being segregated from L’Hospitalet and annexed to Barcelona, but nothing was done because of the lawsuits with the expropriated owners and the later historical evolution of the country. In 1965, when SEAT had been established for ten years, a law decided that the expropriated land would not serve as a free zone, but as an industrial estate for medium and large industry, and also for to the expansion of the port. Three years later, the 714-hectare partial plan was approved, from which those inhospitable and nameless streets have emerged.
There has always been a tradition of going to Montjuïc to spend leisure time. Hermitages have always been a place of pilgrimage and these excursions usually end with a fountain. Snacks were added to the hermitages, always near the fountains. He would go there on Sunday and there would be outdoor dancing. The night of Sant Joan, above all, became the favorite place for festivals because in Montjuïc the verbena grew and that was the ideal day to take a bunch of flowers and offer it to the girl. The Font del Gat gave rise to one of the most popular Catalan songs.
The quarry traffic coexisted with quiet places, with meadows and pine forests where the Lerrouxists gathered at the beginning of the century. This paradise ceased to be so when some Barcelona financiers closely linked to the nascent electricity production and distribution companies set their eyes on it to make it the best advertising showcase for their interests.
Francesc Cambó was the lawyer for Sofina, a financial company linked to the AEG, which had a decisive role in the whole electrification process in Catalonia. Joan Pich i Pon was the leader of the radical party in Barcelona. When the radicals commanded the City Council, the municipal concession was made to the AEG for the city’s public lighting, after a trip that Lerroux made specifically to Barcelona to meet with the representatives of this company.
Cambó and Pich and Pon had the capacity to influence the municipal decisions of the second decade of the century. They were the most prominent councilors of their respective parties and were elected in 1913 to organize an exhibition of electrical industries that would promote the consumption of that nascent form of energy. The City Council fully took on the project and chose the mountain of Montjuïc as the setting for the exhibition, which was to take place in 1917. A royal decree authorized the City Council to expropriate the land, declared of public utility.. Urbanization projects were commissioned from some of the most important architects of the time — Puig i Cadafalch, Domènech i Montaner, Enric Sagnier and August Font, among others — and work began with great impetus.
The European war advised postponing the exhibition, as foreign companies would hardly take part, but the works did not stop, thinking that they could be used for other exhibitions. On the same day that Primo de Rivera staged the coup d’etat, in 1923, a piece of furniture was inaugurated and, six years later, with the urbanization works completed, the International Exhibition was held. The light, as it had been the initial intention, occupied a very important place, with the rays of the National Palace, the magical source of Buïgas, the tower of the place of the Universe and the lamps art deco of the avenue of Maria Cristina. The mountain was set up as it is now, from Plaza de España to Miramar.
In Montjuïc, after the 1929 Exhibition, many things have happened. The first, that many of the emigrants he attracted were housed in huts behind the stadium and, so that they would not be seen during the Exhibition. That nucleus grew in the post-war period to form a real city that reached the fences of the cemetery. In the mid-sixties, which is when they reached the point of maximum density, this city of huts had a population of about 35,000 inhabitants and occupied an area of 30 hectares. It was there until the early 1970s.
The second, which during the Spanish Civil War and once completed entered a process of increasing degradation, from which it did not begin to recover until it was decided to hold the International Eucharistic Congress of 1952 in Barcelona, an event of great importance politics — it was the first visible sign of the end of the Francoist regime’s diplomatic isolation — and of an impact on the city’s urban planning, comparable to the two exhibitions and the Olympic Games.
The third, that once the facilities of the Exhibition were recovered and the Fair of Samples resumed, Montjuïc served to put everything that could not fit in another place, without a coherent and overall vision: from tracks for driving exams to schools for the deaf and dumb, from amusement parks to museums, from sports fields to landfills, everything fit.
One of the utilities that the Franco City Council found on the mountain of Montjuïc was the site of several groups of public housing, which were made in the city in the sixties to provide accommodation for immigrants who continued to arrive. in the city and for which private initiative had no interest in building.
The first of these groups had already formed in the years of the Exhibition next to the Paseo de la Zona Franca, which at that time was a tree-lined path that led to the Can Tunis racecourse. One of the four groups of cheap houses that the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera built in Barcelona was built. It was named after Eduardo Aunós, Minister of Labor, Trade and Industry at the time the group was formed.
In 1966, the Board built another estate on the mountain: La Vinya, with 288 homes next to the Catalan Railways. This railway line was a branch of the Catalan Railways that had been built in 1926 from La Magòria station to the port, via Montjuïc, to carry the potash from the Bages mines to the transport ships. It was closed after heavy protests in 1977, and now no trace of the tracks remains.
In addition, on the side of the Virgen de Port, there are other groups of housing for workers, promoted by companies: the Bausili colony, near the cheap houses, the Santiveri colony, the houses of the SEAT, which construction began in 1953, and other groups that have been diluted within the modern buildings of the Paseo de la Zona Franca, completely transformed.
On the Gran Via side, the Font de la Guatlla – Magória neighborhood has been developed, with its own life, with Carrer de la Font Florida as the central axis, and the Pau Vila municipal school, promoted in the time of the mayor Socías, like nexus of union with the districts of the band of Port.
The choice of Barcelona as the venue for the 1992 Olympic Games introduced a new element that opened the door to a new and important chapter in the history of this sector of the city of Barcelona. Also, in recent years, there has been important work on articulation, redevelopment, housing rehabilitation, new facilities, creation of green areas, and so on.
The headquarters of the District
The municipal headquarters, especially those with institutional representation, are usually noble buildings, which were erected with the intention of showing externally the importance of what was happening inside. Most of the headquarters of the current municipal districts of Barcelona are buildings where, in their day, the town councils of the towns of the plan were established that were added to the city between 1897 and 1921. In the case of the headquarters of the District of Barcelona Sants-Montjuïc, which turned one hundred years old in 2015, has some elements that make it one of the most remarkable municipal buildings.
Unlike other headquarters, such as those of Gràcia, Sarrià – Sant Gervasi, Les Corts, Sant Andreu or Sant Martí, the building of the Sants-Montjuïc District was never the headquarters of Santa Maria de Sants, which was the name of the town that over the years became, more or less, the current municipal district of Sants-Montjuïc. Work began in 1885, as a remodeling of the former headquarters of the Mayor’s Office. This is how Albert Torras i Corbella explains it in the book La seu del Districte: 1915-2015, published on the occasion of the centenary of the building.
The town of Sants grew, from the 10th century, around the Romanesque church of Santa Maria de Sants, where the parish is today. The buildings occupied the corners of the various roads that crossed that area of the Barcelona plain, especially those that correspond, more or less, with the current streets of Sant Crist and d’en Blanco and Plaça d’Ibèria. Sants Town Hall was in the defunct Plaça de Víctor Balaguer, also known as Plaça de la Vila i de la Constitució, although it was popularly known as Plaça del Nen or del Niño, by a sculpture by Agapit Vallmitjana that presided over a fountain that was in the square. All of this disappeared in the late 1960s with the opening of the Ronda del Mig.
The building of the current headquarters of the District is, in fact, in Hostafrancs, a neighborhood that had been part of the municipality of Sants, but in 1839 was annexed to Barcelona. From the middle of the 19th century, the neighborhood of this neighborhood demanded that Barcelona City Council set up municipal offices there. Finally, a mayor’s office was located in a rented building that the City Council ended up buying. This building was modified and new services were added, such as municipal schools, a medical dispensary or a post office.
The need to renovate the building became quite evident, and a period of modifications began. This is how Albert Torras explains it: “From 1885 onwards, a series of structural reforms were undertaken in the building that made it possible to adapt it, although the fundamental part of the integral reform of the building did not begin until 1908. ”. The author also states: “The intervention of Jaume Gustà in 1885 simply allows us to define the structure of what will be the future building and the final intervention, by Ubald Iranzo, between 1908 and 1915.” The latter is what left the building as it is today.
The façade of the current headquarters of the District is covered with Montjuïc stone and has different elements that stand out, such as the clock tower, on the left corner, and the coat of arms of Barcelona. In general, the whole façade is profusely decorated with all sorts of modernist figures; you can see people and also animals, such as a rooster, pigeons, a fox, an owl and several snakes. The doors of the arches that give access to the building are made of wrought iron and are also decorated with plant motifs. Inside, the noble staircase stands out, with a very worked railing, especially at the start and the landings. The start is spectacular, with a pillar crowned by a lamp, in which there are bunches of roses and some eagles. On the first floor stands the Plenary Hall, with columns of worked capitals, walls and ceiling decorated with sgraffito and stucco and splendid stained glass windows by Francesc Labarta, in which you can see human figures representing Barcelona, trade, agriculture and industry. The building of the former Mayor’s Office of Sants is today the seat of the District.
The Sants-Montjuïc district, defined in 1984, amalgamates three clearly differentiated urban units for historical and neighborhood perception reasons:
Sants, an old municipality added in 1897 and made up of Sants, Badal (now Sants-Badal), Hostafrancs, La Bordeta, Font de la Guatlla and Magòria;
Montjuïc and Poble Sec, historically the sector outside the walls of the municipality of Barcelona (and not Sants);
The Marina de Sants and Zona Franca, urbanized, above all, throughout the twentieth century, in territories added to Barcelona on the coast of Sants (1897) and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (1920), respectively.
On the other hand, the historically Sants band located between the Travessera de las Cortes, to the north, and Avinguda de Madrid, to the south, was attributed in 1984 to the district of Les Corts.
The Poble-sec district
The Poble-sec is a narrow urban strip between Montjuïc and Avinguda del Paral•lel. The neighborhood was the first Eixample in Barcelona.
During the Middle Ages, the lands outside the walls of the city of Barcelona were spaces of mainly agricultural use, and near the walls it could not be built because the military laws of the time forbade it. In 1751 the construction of the current castle of Montjuïc was entrusted, and in the second half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, with the appearance of new manufacturing activities, the first spectacular changes took place in the area that currently occupies the Poble-sec district: the establishment of Indian meadows in the Hortes de Sant Bertran and the exploitation of the quarries on the mountain of Montjuïc.
The medieval walls of Barcelona were demolished in 1854 and the Eixample plan was approved five years later, but it still took a few years to build in the most central areas, due to the conflicts and reluctance that the project initially provoked. of Cerdà. Meanwhile, despite pressure to build beyond the old walled perimeter, it was possible to do so in this area of the northern slope of Montjuïc which, despite being very close to the old center, was less valued by the its steep slopes and had not been included in the Eixample plan.
This fact was taken advantage of by the owners to develop the urbanization of the sector without the constraints and strict regulations in force in the areas included in the plan. From 1858, the parcelling and construction of simple houses for working-class families began. Thus were born the neighborhoods of France Xica, Santa Madrona and the Hortes de Sant Bertran, which still today constitute the three different neighborhoods that make up the Poble-sec, along with the small town of La Satalia.
Hostafrancs is located between Gran Via and Sants, in the sector of the district closest to Plaça d’Espanya.
Hostafrancs was part of the municipality of Santa Maria de Sants until 1839. The current Plaça d’Espanya marked the boundaries between Sants and Barcelona. From the Middle Ages, the place was known as the Coll dels Inforcats, a name that came from the Latin, inter forcatos or crossroads, as it was a meeting point for important routes out of the city. In 1344, a municipal cross was erected on the Coll dels Inforcats, which was later covered by a temple, hence the popular name of Creu Coberta, but was destroyed by the Liberals in 1823. disappeared around 1866 during the repair works of the Royal Road from Barcelona to Madrid. The Creu Coberta became a gateway to Barcelona with a peculiar landscape, as from the 15th century until 1715 some of the main forks of the city were built. Between 1584 and 1785, some windmills were set up on the Inforcats or Creu Coberta hill to grind Barcelona’s wheat. The situation at the gates of the city made it a habitual scene of military operations and combat, and a place of encampment during several wars.
The Covered Cross was the path where the authorities of Barcelona traditionally received royalty and celebrities. The construction of the Royal Road around 1761 accentuated the character of the main entrance to Barcelona. In 1770 an aristocratic promenade was built that went from the portal of Sant Antoni to the Creu Coberta. Until the end of the 18th century, the barracks that gave the first name to the neighborhood were built in its surroundings. The barracks were not precarious dwellings, but points of sale for drinking and food at cheaper prices, and their customers were people from the city, especially during the holidays. The vicinity of Creu Coberta was also the place chosen by the people of Barcelona to escape the epidemics that were being declared inside the walled enclosure.
In 1839, Joan Corrades, a roadman from Hostafrancs de Sió (la Segarra) built a hostel on land near the Creu Coberta. The hostel was soon known as the “Hostafrancs”, in honor of the origin of its owner. This fact, if not the origin of the name, as has been stated, reinforced the present denomination of the neighborhood. However, for years Hostafrancs was considered to come from the union of the words hostal and franc. In this line, related to the historical origins of the territory, we must not forget that Hostafrancs was a place of guest camping and that francs is also a word with military connotations.
The engines of urban growth in Hostafranca were two: trade and industry. The industry in Hostafrancs was scarce but it was the main occupation of those who lived there. Hostafrancs became a working-class residential neighborhood. The Hostafrancs market (1888) and the Vinyeta slaughterhouse (1891) boosted its commercial activity. The horse-drawn tram from the Rambla to Sants (1875), the opening of the Gran Via (1883) and the Paral•lel (1894) to the Creu Coberta improved communications with Barcelona.
At the beginning of the twentieth century Hostafrancs was practically built and concentrated a number of 16,474 inhabitants and 1,350 houses in the neighborhoods of Creu Coberta and Àngel. Hostafrancs began to lose its character as a working-class neighborhood in the late 1960s. The tertiarization of the neighborhood received the final impetus in the nineties, thanks to urban and transport improvements. The disappearance of factories has meant that more urban professionals and middle classes live there.
La Bordeta district
The Bordeta district was born along the road from Barcelona to Sant Boi de Llobregat, in the area between Hostafrancs and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.
La Bordeta has about 50 hectares, which extend from the Riera Blanca to Carrer del Moianès, between Gran Via and the axis of Carrer Andalusia-Manzanares – Noguera Pallaresa – Plaça de la Farga and Ferreria to Gayarre. But in 1801 La Bordeta was a neighborhood made up of only one street. This street, which when it was born in Plaça d’Espanya bears the name of the neighborhood and then changes it twice to Gavà i Constitució, was the ancient Roman Via Augusta that connected Barcelona with Tarragona after crossing the Llobregat by Sant Boi. Inhabited nuclei and hostels appeared along its route. But when the Molins de Rei bridge was built in the 17th century, the Sants road won over the Bordeta road. For this reason, while Saints grew rapidly,
The name La Bordeta seems to come from the houses where the tools for working the fields were kept: the bordes. Another version says that she comes from a girl from a farmhouse who was called “la bordeta”, because she was the daughter of unknown parents. In any case, in the middle of the 19th century, the inhabitants of farmhouses such as Can Sala, Can Valent Petit, Can Massagué, Can Poch, Can Paperina and Can Pessetes formed a town that in the rest of Barcelona they mentioned with contemptuous expressions: “Sembla de la Bordeta ”; “He has farms in La Bordeta…”
In 1857, when urbanization had already begun, La Bordeta became one of the four districts of the independent municipality of Sants; five years earlier there was a local segregationist movement that failed. Since then, the neighborhood has grown non-stop. And not just in terms of industries and housing; also in terms of social life. Around 1860, the maximum celebration was a spring festival, in April, of clearly rural origin, in the course of which a rope was hung from a ring with a cat and a duck tied that the riders had to kill with a club. A decade later, on the other hand, cultural manifestations of the urban world appeared. We are talking about the La Floresta Choral Society, which was born in 1878 in the Cal Manel café, on Carrer dels Jocs Florals. Or the Casino,
The large textile factory of Can Batlló, inaugurated in 1880, marked the development of the neighborhood. Many working families left the field for the industry, in which they also highlighted the Molí de la Bordeta, the leather Gatius, the Cooperativa Vidriera, the Companyia Fabril d’Olis Vegetals, the workshops of the Hispano-Switzerland Automobile and the OSSA motorcycle factory, then Citroën. With Sants and Hostafrancs, La Bordeta became one of the most important industrial centers in Barcelona, to which it was annexed in 1897. The inauguration, in 1912, of the Magória train station increased the activity of the neighborhood. And on June 10, 1926, the opening of the Catalunya-Bordeta section of the transversal metro brought a new transport to the neighborhood.
After the war, only the Club Ciclista Catalunya and the Club de Futbol Bordeta maintained activity in the neighborhood. It is true that there was also the García Fossas Foundation, a charity, bequeathed by a well-known oil businessman from Sants, but it did not generate social life. Of course, it had a magnificent collection of paintings and sculptures (Benlliure, Mir, Zurbarán, Romero de Torres, Rusiñol, Urgell and Casas, among others) that few people knew and that no longer exists as such. The creation of the parish of Sant Medir, in 1948, and the progressive disposition of its rector, Monsignor Amadeu Oller, revitalized the neighborhood.
During the sixties, the developmentalism of Franco’s Barcelona transformed La Bordeta. Many of the typical low-rise houses were demolished and gave way to new apartment blocks, mostly along the main street. And to the west of Can Batlló, in Carrer de Badal, the opening of the first belt or ronda del Mig tore apart the southern part of the neighborhood. This expressway, conceived at the beginning of the century by the town planner Léon Jaussely, was concretized in a plan approved in 1968. On two significant dates (July 18, 1971 and March 19, 1972), Mayor Porcioles inaugurated the escalator in Plaça d’Ildefons Cerdà and the section of urban motorway between the Zona Franca and Carrer de Balmes. The work in Sants as a whole cost the expropriation of 837 homes and 165 industries and shops.
The incipient neighborhood movement opposed it. And even though, in April 1975, the Badal Neighbors Association, Brazil, Bordeta won a lawsuit against the belt before the Supreme Court, the harm was already done. However, in the last thirty years the residents of La Bordeta have won other battles that have humanized the neighborhood. The first of all was Plaça de la Farga, inaugurated in 1956, and the last, Plaça de la Pelleria, the partial coverage of the Ronda del Mig and the construction of a primary care center.
The reform of the Gran Via between the squares of Spain and Ildefons Cerdà began to be considered in 1994 from the need to build a second tunnel of the Generalitat Railways. After this work, which was necessary to increase the frequency of the passage of trains with a vocation for the metro to the Baix Llobregat, the surface of the Gran Via was also renewed. The result was a more humane route, a wide boulevard that no longer separates so much the Font de la Guatlla and the northern part of the Zona Franca, from Hostafrancs and La Bordeta. In addition, in 1997 a new railway station was inaugurated, Magória – La Campana, which, with the corresponding tariff integration, brought the metro closer to this part of the city. The urbanization of Plaça d’Ildefons Cerdà and its surroundings, the coverage of the train tracks and the new Mercat Nou metro station, among others, have also contributed to improving the quality of life.
But, without a doubt, the operation that will completely change the appearance of La Bordeta is the transformation of Can Batlló. A large area of 170,000 square meters is being reorganized to make way for a real green lung with parks, facilities (which will include the conservation of the main building of the old textile factory), new roads and housing. Flats that, on the one hand, will save, as far as possible, the already built façade of the Bordeta road and, on the other, will give life to the Badal-Parcerisa triangle and the Gran Via between Mossèn Amadeu Oller and the Plaça d’Ildefons Cerdà.
The Fountain of the Quail
The small neighborhood of Font de la Guatlla stretches between Gran Via and the north-western slope of the mountain of Montjuïc.
The strip between the mountain of Montjuïc, Plaça d’Espanya, the stream of Magória or Carrer de la Mineria and Gran Via is known, at the same time, as the neighborhood of Magória and Font de la Guatlla, and this reproduces it. the name of their neighborhood association. But even though it is a small territory, several historical and urban factors allow us to define the Font de la Guatlla as the most sheltered area under Montjuïc, while Magória would be the closest to Plaça d’Ildefons Cerdà. Trajan’s Street would be the dividing line between the two parts of the neighborhood. Before the Plaça d’Espanya was developed in 1908 and the Gran Via began to take shape, the Font de la Guatlla was nothing more than a rural area that was sometimes attributed to Hostafrancs and in others to an extension of the Poble-sec district of France. In 1910 it consisted of a few farmhouses that cultivated alfalfa, wheat and fruit trees, and eighty-two houses spread over eight streets, all around Carrer de Sant Fructuós, then Sant Jacint.
From such a secluded and small neighborhood suddenly the associative tradition. In 1889, the first recreational entity, Els Hereus, was created in Carrer de Sant Fructuós. And a year later, El Recreo, next to a hostel on Carrer d’Amposta. In 1910 the choir La Nova Lira d’Hostafrancs was also founded in Carrer de Sant Fructuós, and two years later another entity was born, Panxeta, in Carrer del Rabí Rubèn. Much of this activity was generated by the workers of the two large factories that were installed in the neighborhood following the example of the gas of Emili Clausoles, located on Gran Via.
One was the Casarramona textile factory, which in 1912 was set up on Carrer de México in a beautiful modernist complex in Puig i Cadafalch, which won the prize for the best building of the year. It functioned as an industry until 1920, and was later used as a police barracks. The other was at the end of Carrer del Rabí Rubèn, but a fire destroyed its headquarters in Poble-sec. Can Butsems folded in 1978 and part of its plot is now occupied by a neighborhood center, the La Muntanyeta school and an institute under construction. But in its heyday, during the works of the 1929 International Exposition, a thousand workers who produced artificial stone came to work there. Many of them built houses on the hill, behind the farmhouse of Can Cervera (1801),
Inside the Butsems factory, next to an oak tree, was the fountain called “de la Guatlla”, which gave the neighborhood its name. Its use by the industry and the dumping of rubbish in Montjuïc during the 1960s contaminated it. Today only the memory remains, a monolith and a hymn: “Our grandparents remember when they searched for the name, / to name our neighborhood, it was very easy to find. / The quail made a sharp cry while singing the fountain./ They chose Font de la Guatlla as the most beautiful in the world. ” Another popular source survived for a few more years in La Guatlla. This is the Florida Fountain, at the end of the bucolic street of the same name. In this place, in 1930, the Cooperative of Municipal Workers and Employees bought land from the Baron of Esponellà and built a series of turrets with a garden, in the English style. During the Republic, every June they organized a street party that has now taken over the whole neighborhood.
Before the Civil War, the Font de la Guatlla also grew along the Gran Via. A chocolate factory was set up, two lamps and light bulbs (Lámparas Z, on Calle de México, and Clover). Enriched draper Pau Forns erected six blocks of flats between numbers 272 and 282 of the Gran Via, which are still known as the Houses of the Draper. After the war, the rural atmosphere of the neighborhood was diluted. In 1949 the parish of Santa Dorotea was built on an old wheat field. At the same time, characters such as the bully, the skinner, the middleman or the pinionaire, who sold five cents of pine nuts to children while telling a story, were disappearing. On the other hand, the nine streets that went up to Montjuïc were named after flowers: Dahlia, Jasmine, Chrysanthemum…
During the first Franco regime (1940-1960), an organization called Nia Nesto, which in Esperanto means ‘my nest’, organized talks and film sessions. It had to fold in 1968, when some of its members were arrested. But the school cooperative Magòria, the organization Veïns i Amics de Magòria and the Associació de Veïns Font de la Guatlla resumed, during the late Franco regime, social and vindictive activity. The result of this, already in democracy, are the neighborhood center and the La Muntanyeta school, which the residents won without having to give up the other public school, La Pau Vila.
The Port Navy district
The territory organized around the current Paseo de la Zona Franca had been a predominantly agricultural area, which was called the Marina de Sants.
At the beginning of the 19th century, livestock was of some importance in the area. In the swampy lands, large herds of cows, goats and sheep grazed waiting to be led to the slaughterhouse. Meanwhile, fishing activity continued in small neighborhoods along the beach, dedicated to catching sardines, lizards, sea bass and needles. The inauguration of the Canal de la Infanta in 1819 meant the replacement of rainfed crops by irrigated crops and the concentration of most land in the hands of large companies. At the end of the 18th century, industrial activities began with the appearance of the first Indian meadows, attracted by the large tracts of land and the availability of water offered by the area. Later, the prohibition, in 1846, of installing factories in the interior of the city favored that they were implanted in peripheral lands like those of the Navy.
Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, the orchards, fields, farmhouses and the fishing village of Can Tunis gave way to the port, industry and the various urban centers. The Paseo de la Zona Franca is, today, the main street of the neighborhood, and connects a whole mosaic of neighborhoods, most of them very small, born in different times and circumstances (Port, Can Clos, Polvorí, Ferrocarrils Catalans, Sant Cristòfol, Estrelles Altes, La Vinya, Plus Ultra…).
This industrial growth took place in parallel with an urban development that led to the birth of new neighborhoods. In the fifties of the twentieth century, large-scale public initiative actions were carried out, such as the neighborhoods of Can Clos and El Polvorí and, in the sixties, the Vinya housing group. In the same period the great project was carried out, fruit of the private initiative and the legal imposition, of the group of houses for workers of SEAT, and to the sixty the district of Promotion was raised, also of initiative private. In the following decade, large real estate projects ceased to be carried out, which were replaced by small private developments, located mainly on the Paseo de la Zona Franca.
But in the 1980s, some medium-sized companies began to move their production centers to the industrial areas of the metropolitan area, and thus part of small industry began to close. The process continued until it also affected large companies. Powerful industries such as Pegaso and Motor Ibérica reduced staff and production. But the most worrying case was that of SEAT, which reduced its industrial activity from the Zona Franca factory and sublet part of its land.
The industrial crisis was also reflected in the social context, due to the loss of population. To this demographic phenomenon must be added the building problems that arose in the various neighborhoods. Thus, in Can Clos and Les Cases Barates, the houses were demolished, due to their poor condition, to build new blocks in their place. Aluminosis problems arose in the homes of SEAT and the Polvorí district and, finally, others suffered over the years, as in the case of Plus Ultra and Port, in which houses had to be closed in due to its degradation. On the contrary, and as a positive aspect, a great task of construction of parks and gardens was carried out, of which the area was completely lacking.
The Port district refers to the original port that had existed there. Its origin is linked to the rise of the castle of Port and the nearby chapel, at the end of the tenth century, in which farming families, who lived in small scattered houses, gradually concentrated. At the end of the 19th century, the neighborhood began to consolidate around the chapel of the Virgen de Port and the road that connected Sants with its Marina. The people who worked in the fields and in the factories constituted the primitive nucleus of this district, that already in 1916 counted on the Industrial Colony of Port, that welcomed children and old people. In the twenties, as a result of the industrialization of the sector, two new inhabited nuclei along the Port road emerged: Santiveri, whose official name was Barriada Nova de Port, and Plus Ultra. The three nuclei were physically separated, which is why they maintained their character with a common element: the active character of the inhabitants, who soon organized themselves into various political, cultural, and sporting entities.
The neighborhoods began to emerge in the late twenties of the twentieth century, and are the result of specific urban processes that, being built in one go, gives them a uniform formal appearance. The Can Clos neighborhood was built in 1952 to house, on a temporary basis, the shantytowns of Avinguda de la Diagonal, who had been evicted on the occasion of the 35th Eucharistic Congress. It was located in a sector away from other neighborhoods, which led to its isolation. It was built in record time, but also with very low quality materials, so it soon began to present problems. At the end of the seventies, the remodeling of the neighborhood began with the construction of new blocks and the demolition of existing ones. Today, the new homes are already built and the interior development remains to be completed, as there is a block left to demolish.
The Polvorí district was built on the middle slope of Montjuïc and, like the rest of the new neighborhoods, its main feature was isolation. The construction was sponsored by the Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda to house barracks and police families. The first blocks were occupied in 1953, but due to the quality of the construction of the materials used, they did not withstand the passage of time and the degradation of the buildings soon began. This effect had its greatest exponent in the detection of aluminosis in homes, so in the mid-nineties a plan of interior reform was approved that has given rise to a new neighborhood.
The installation of the SEAT factory involved the construction of the Las Viviendas district of the SEAT. Started in 1953, it consisted of 1,062 homes that General Franco inaugurated on October 5, 1955. It is the first neighborhood to be built with a finished urbanization and equipped with services, conceived as a self-sufficient unit, so the its inhabitants also had little to do with those of the neighboring neighborhoods. Part of the buildings suffered from aluminosis, so the affected blocks were demolished and new ones were built.
In the last thirty years, through some real estate initiatives, the urbanization of the area has been completed. The Fomento district is made up of 400 homes built between 1960 and 1961 on the initiative of Fomento Inmobiliario de España, SA, on land classified as urban planning as a green area. The blocks of flats were built but no urbanization was carried out, not even the only access street was paved. Later, another promotion known as Ciudad Amarilla was made for the color of the facades. Between 1970 and 1972, through a last promotion, the flats located on the other side of Carrer del Segura were built on a plot of land also classified as a green area. This neighborhood, like most in the area, In the 1960s, Philips, a landmark in the Port district, came to the neighborhood until it closed in 2005. Today, this old factory has become an area of facilities. In recent years, the installation of the Fira de Barcelona 2 has given a new impetus to the neighborhoods of the Marina, and the desired metro line 9 is being built.
The Marina del Prat Vermell district
El Prat Vermell was the name given to the fields in this low sector of the Marina de Sants, where for years an Indian factory was installed.
At the beginning of the 19th century, livestock farming was very important in the area, and what is now the neighborhood used to be occupied by large herds of cows, goats and sheep. Only in the coastal area did incipient fishing survive. The inauguration of the Canal de la Infanta in 1819 meant the transformation of the agricultural landscape: rainfed crops were replaced by orchards and orchards, but pastures were maintained in wetlands.
The most important transformation took place in 1846, when Barcelona City Council banned the installation of factories inside the city. This decision led the industrialists to direct their investments to areas of neighboring municipalities where land and water abounded. El Prat Vermell is the closest area where Indian factories in the area had been set up. It was so called because once dyed the clothes were dried on the ground, which acquired a reddish color.
In 1897 the town of Sants was integrated into Barcelona, and with it the Marina del Prat Vermell. It was important because the area was populated with factories and allowed many people to move to the neighborhood. At the end of the 19th century several significant processes took place for the future of the neighborhood. At the same time, a new economic sector began to flourish, the leisure sector, with the construction of several bathrooms and also a racecourse.
In 1929, by means of a royal decree law, the constitution of a free zone for the city was approved, and this was established on the lands of the marinas of Sants and L’Hospitalet, which were integrated, for both in the neighborhood. In 1955, the SEAT factory was inaugurated, bringing thousands of workers to the neighborhood. Nearly a thousand homes were built to accommodate them. They were the first in the neighborhood to have all the necessary services.
With the works started by the City Council, the new urban aspect began to be drawn that linked the current reality, made of industrial buildings and technological buildings, with which it will become, with the predominance of residential spaces and new facilities. The future invites the neighborhood to be a new central area in the metropolitan area.
The group of cheap houses Eduardo Aunós, who adopted the name of the former minister during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, was the first to rise. It was built in 1929 to house the evicted shantytowns of Montjuïc when part of the mountain that was to be the scene of the Universal Exposition was developed. The neighborhood was built in a short time and with precarious means. Due to the poor condition of the houses, the small size and the abundant floods they suffered, in the eighties the need arose to remodel them. Work began in the early 1990s with the demolition of old houses and the construction of new homes.
The birth of the neighborhood of Can Tunis was a phenomenon parallel to the process of industrialization, in the late nineteenth century, while the small fishing villages were disappearing. The development of the irrigated agriculture related to the channel of the Infanta allowed the growth of the inhabited nucleus next to the chapel of Port. Also at the end of the 19th century it was a place of recreation, several bathing establishments were opened on the beach and, even in 1883, a racecourse was built.
From the twenties of the twentieth century, with the modification of the land to establish the free zone of the port of Barcelona, began a period of great transformations that eventually led to the disappearance of the neighborhood of Can Tunis and a multitude of scattered farmhouses all over the delta. And in the 1930s most of the expropriations began. As the neighborhood disappeared, the phenomenon of shantytowns emerged. In the summer of 2004, the last houses were demolished and the neighborhood was absorbed by industrial and port infrastructures.
Sants is the most important population center and the most extensive and oldest district of the district to which it gives name. It originated along the old royal road.
In the 19th century it was a working-class district with several textile factories, including Vapor Vell, which became a library and school in 2001, and Industrial Spain. In 1897 the municipality was annexed to Barcelona.
The construction of the new road at the end of the 18th century encouraged the economic and constructive rhythm of the neighborhood. Today, Carrer de Sants and Carrer de la Creu Coberta form one of the most important shopping areas in Europe.
Sants was annexed to Barcelona, alone and at his own request, between May 5, 1883 and July 12, 1884. On April 20, 1897, a royal decree of Queen Maria Cristina, signed by the Minister of the Interior, consumed the aggregation in Barcelona.
The growth of Sants was accentuated during the second half of the 19th century, and its population multiplied by five between 1850 and the annexation. It is a higher growth than in Barcelona and in many of the municipalities in the plan, due to the impetus of industrialization and the attraction of labor that it meant.
Industrial Spain, the new steamer, has been the most important factory in the social and economic history of Sants. A textile joint-stock company of the Muntadas family, it produced various types of fabrics and prints, especially corduroy, the textile genre most used by the Catalan popular classes (peasant black, greenish beige for trams…). The street that bears the name of the factory, and which gives access to it from the road, was probably one of the busiest on weekdays, when workers and laborers gathered; women with skirts to the feet and head covered, men wearing espadrilles and blouses.
Half-temporary clothing stalls, with their sails outstretched and their merchandise hanging, were placed on either side of the street to take advantage of the comings and goings. The workers of La España Industrial, at the entrance and exit of each shift, were attractive customers and clients for traders: they had a secure salary and social security allowances, and they were numerous enough to justify the more or less temporary installation of these stops. Maybe not every day, or just on pay days (history has left us no information) there must have been, however, enough people with a minimum of purchasing power.
The social life of an industrial municipality like Sants, on the outskirts of the capital, had to be, in large part, governed by social conflicts. Negotiations and strikes, demands for work and unemployment, paternalism and radicalism, charity and charity, taverns and popular athenaeums, snacks at fountains, dances, theater and choral singing must have been the characteristics of Sants life, such as that of the rest of urban Catalonia.
The first factory was that of the Güells, the Vapor Vell, whose building is still standing today, with an entrance on Carrer del Nord, which after the annexation became known as Carrer de Galileu. Today is the best memory of one of the first episodes of social violence in Sants and Catalonia. In fact, in this place, in July 1855, the factory manager, Josep Sol i Padrís, was assassinated during a wage negotiation meeting with a workers’ commission.
In the nineteenth century, two estates had an important social leadership: that of doctors and that of chaplains. The doctor, despite being a university student who was beginning to have certain scientific backgrounds, maintained direct contact with sick people and their families which made him especially appreciated. Many doctors, moreover, showed great concern for the emergence of new diseases that seemed to contradict the progress of the century and preached prevention and hygiene, which made them even more popular. Jacint Laporta i Mercader (1854-1938) can represent the doctors of Sants, such as Josep Saltor or Francesc Llauradó. Although he was councilor of Barcelona for the Sant Andreu district, in fact, Laporta was the one who did the most to make Sants known, before and after the annexation, since in 1880 he published the first history of Sants.
The Church has always been a fundamental institution in countries of Catholic culture. Also in Sants. The municipality was born with the Church and, in its surroundings, much of its history has been made. Some rectors have played a key role: Monsignor Andreu Casanovas, who left the famous Monitor de Sants in 1850; or Monsignor Miralles, many years later. The church provided care services to a needy population, then important in Sants. The public space of Sants was represented by its streets. Places were scarce. In fact, more than the streets, the roads that left Barcelona to the south-west were the axes that articulated the growth and the urban forms of the municipality.
The Sants road was started by Bourbon reformism in 1764, and five years later the bridge over the Llobregat at Molins de Rei was completed. Transversal to these road axes, which guided the growth of the hamlet, were the main and commercial streets. La España Industrial Street and its temporary clothing stalls; Carrer de Riego, a major shopping center, with its shops and even a department store, El Barato de Sants. But the real main street of Sants was that of Colom, which as a result of the annexation had to change its name and took that of the northern Catalan region, Vallespir. It started at the railway ditch that for a long time cut the town in this sector, although it passed underground along the two roads. Columbus Street was also planted with bananas and was almost always lively, full of people of different ages, as a sample of the social life of the time: children leaving and entering schools.
The Sants-Badal district was originally the westernmost end of Sants, but it has been quite detached for many years.
On the western side, it has always had an intense relationship with the neighboring neighborhood of Collblanc, already at the end of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, with which the Riera Blanca – less than 20 meters wide in many sections, but with the sidewalks belonging to both municipalities — establishes a border much more virtual than real. On the east side, on the other hand, the passage to the open air of the Ronda del Mig was, over the decades, a heavy barrier for communications with Sants, which favored the development of differentiated dynamics on both sides. of the great road axis.
The autonomous consideration of the neighborhood with respect to that of Sants responds, among other reasons, to this historical evolution, although today, fortunately, the coverage of the Ronda del Mig, already completed, has meant the elimination of that barrier. The coverage has also made it possible to gain a large longitudinal space for the leisure of the public, and has represented a significant improvement in the quality of urban life for the immediate neighborhood and also for those who live in the two neighborhoods that La Ronda, today, no longer separates but articulates. The lower part of Sants-Badal is organized around Plaça de l’Olivereta. The location of various facilities in this environment forms it, already today, as a unifying pole of the life of the neighborhood, with good potential to increase these functions.
Discover the Sants-Montjuïc district: urban spaces, cultural and architectural heritage, natural spaces, museums, leisure and leisure centers, study centers, proposals for shopping or sports and much more.
The Casaramona Factory is an old modernist style building built from 1909 to 1912, at the foot of Montjuïc. Current headquarters of CaixaForum Barcelona since 2002. It is a work declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. From the Civil War, it was used as the headquarters of the National Police until 1992 Later, the building was acquired by the “La Caixa” Foundation, who restored the building and adapted it to be a cultural and social center. This is how the current CaixaForum Barcelona was formed, inaugurated in 2002.
The old Casaramona yarn and fabric factory occupies an entire block of houses at the foot of Montjuïc. It has a practically square floor plan, made up of a series of buildings (eleven bodies of different surfaces and heights), mostly on the ground floor. The set has a great formal coherence. The various structural solutions and ornamental details are solved from a perfect understanding of brick technology, from a functionalist perspective. The naves, with a rectangular floor plan and a flat roof, are covered with brick vaults that rest on iron pillars. The discharge arches and a system of metal braces counteract the side thrusts, which are discharged into pillars or buttresses on the enclosure walls. These buttresses are finished in pinnacles, which create a vertical rhythm that helps to break the horizontality of the whole. The decoration is completed with brick battlements.
The two towers, which hide ancient water tanks, mark the axis of symmetry of the whole. One located at the entrance, has the name of the factory inscribed on ceramic panels and is topped by an iron structure. The other, located inside, has the round tank at the top, which is topped with a body formed by parabolic arches and a ceramic-clad roof. The Casaramona factory, which won the Barcelona City Council award in the year it was completed, moves away from the neo-Gothic approaches that had characterized much of Puig’s previous work, and is part of a aesthetics perhaps more properly modernist.
El Vapor Vell was the first large modern textile factory to be set up in the old town of Sants, and one of the first in Catalonia. Construction work began in 1844, began production in 1846. and ceased operations in 1891. Initially, it belonged to the company Güell, Ramis i Cia, with Joan Güell i Ferrer as a capitalist partner and president and with Domènec Ramis, a manufacturing partner who had obtained a monopoly to produce breads with mechanical looms in the French way. The factory installed in the Sants district was initially known as El Vapor Güell. A few years later, when another textile factory with steam engines was installed in Sants, L’Espanya Industrial, they popularly referred to the factory of Güell i Ramis as the “old steam” and that of Industrial Spain as the “new steam.”
The main building was a factory of flats, such as those built in Manchester, of a ground floor, three storeys and attic, intended for spinning and preparation. Although the thickness of the wall is brick, its wall structure (interior and exterior enclosures), jambs and window sills are made of stone. With a tile roof on two sides. The pillars, of cast iron, were arranged in rows on each of their floors. The fourth floor retains the original wooden entablature.
The old set there is still a very significant element, the last chimney installed, octagonal in plan, pyramidal trunk and of considerable height. The highlight of the construction of the Vapor Vell were the architectural solutions they provided. On the one hand, its construction design for plants allowed energy improvements resulting from its system of large pulleys and transmission belts that gave movement to all the horizontal trees on each floor. On the other hand, an improvement in the lighting, due to its large windows on both sides of its façade.
After the closure of the factory, the interior space was divided and various economic activities were set up. In 1897, the filmmaker Fructuós Gelabert shot his first action film ” Riña en un café ” in the factory courtyard, considered the first fiction film shot in Spain. During the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 the space was collectivized by the CNT-FAI and turned into a wooden workshop. In 1944 the Mediterranean Sports Club bought the Vapor Vell swimming pools. He set up his headquarters there where he remained until 1978 when, by means of an exchange, he moved his facilities to an inner courtyard on Carrer Regent Mendieta. That same year the old ships of the Vapor Vell caught fire.
In 1977, the Vapor Vell was bought by the company Jorba Preciados, at that time owned by the Rumasa group, with the intention of building department stores there. On July 16 of 1986, the City Council approved the Special Plan Vapor Vell. Of the set of buildings and spaces occupied by the old industrial complex, only the main one and the chimney were preserved as facilities, while the rest of the site was used for residential land and the opening of Carrer de Joan Güell, which it arrives from Avinguda Diagonal to Plaça de Sants. On February 28 of 1998, the Mayor of Barcelona laid the first stone of the new Central Library District located in the old building of Vapor Vell. The 15th of May of 1999 took place an open day at the works of the Old Steam library before the division inside the ships.
The Castell de Montjuïc in Barcelona was a strong military and, after the Civil War, was a military museum. It is currently a municipal facility dependent on Barcelona City Council. Located at the top of the mountain of Montjuïc in Barcelona, located more than 170 meters high on a rocky terrace. The current appearance of the set of fortifications is the work of the military engineer Juan Martín Cermeño, who demolished the old fort in 1640. Cermeño modified the existing fortifications and built new ones following the defense systems designed by the French engineer Vauban. The fortress adopts a starry disposition. Several bastions and exterior constructions protect the core of the enclosure, surrounded by a deep moat. The main body is structured around a porticoed courtyard. The rooms are covered with a semicircular vault.
In 1640, during the war against Philip IV, the first fortification was built in thirty days on the mountain of Montjuïc, in the form of a quadrangle of earth covered with stone and mud. The dry stone work was improved by French engineers in January 1641. This temporary fortification repulsed the assault of the Castilian troops of Pedro Fajardo de Zúñiga y Requesens, Marquis of the Vélez, on January 26, 1641. (Battle of Montjuïc). In 1643, the dry stone fort was damaged by the passage of time and was completely demolished. In 1651 a new fort had been built, consisting of two square enclosures with bastions at the extremities and still outside a fence protecting the fortification from any surprise. The third of Montjuïc was garrisoned, formed by the third of Barcelona of Francesc de Granollachs raised towards the end of 1650 to help Tortosa and troops of the Battalion of Francesc de Mostarós who was appointed field master.
In 1694 the original fort was converted into a castle. The plant occupied the entire flat part of the summit, with three bastions facing the ground and a line of saw-toothed battlements facing the sea. The previous small fortification remained as an interior stronghold.
During the War of Succession, the 17th of September of 1705, Charles Mordaunt, Lord Peterborough, on conquered by the Catalans, which was a factor that was turned toward the cause of Archduke Charles. However, on April 25, 1706, it was recovered by Philip V, despite the resistance of seven hundred red coats commanded by Arthur Chichester, Lord Donegall. On May 12, the Catalans recovered it and did not return to the hands of the Bourbon troops until five o’clock in the afternoon of September 12, 1714, when the people of Barcelona handed it over to them, in accordance with the fifth article of the Capitulations which on the same day to impose on the city the Duke of Berwick.
On February 13 of 1808, the troops Napoleon of Guillaume Philibert Duhesme and Giuseppe Lech come to Barcelona, with 5427 men and 1830 horses. Theoretically they had to stay three days in the city, making their way to their final destination, Cadiz. However, on February 29, an imperial military unit commanded by Colonel Floresti climbed the mountain of Montjuïc and occupied the castle. The Spanish troops guarding it offered them no resistance, as the captain-general of the Principality had received orders from the Court to receive the French troops benevolently.
Until 1960 (the year it was ceded to the city) the castle remained a military prison. After three years of work to condition it as an Army Museum, on June 24, 1963 Francisco Franco presided over its inauguration. With the arrival of the Spanish Democratic Democratic Transition, for many years there was controversy over the conditions for the return of the castle to the city, as the dictator ceded the site to Barcelona, but not the military museum it housed; instead, the city claimed full ownership.
At the end of April 2008, the city council removed an equestrian statue of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco that had been there since 1963, inaugurated by the then mayor of Barcelona Josep Maria de Porcioles. Finally, on June 15, the Spanish government ceded the castle to the city, which is visited by 40,000 citizens in an open day. On April 20 of 2009 he began to work the International Center for Peace Montjuic Castle.
The Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, known internationally as the Barcelona Pavilion, was built as the German pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich. This building is simple in shape, but made of luxurious materials such as travertine marble. It is an emblematic monument considered the beginning of modern architecture of the twentieth century, and has been studied and interpreted extensively, while inspiring the work of several generations of architects. The building was dismantled at the conclusion of the International Exposition in 1929 and rebuilt in 1986 on its original site. On the other hand, the Barcelona Chair, designed by Van der Rohe himself, is exhibited in the Pavilion, together with a bronze reproduction of the sculpture Alba by Georg Kolbe.
The study architecture Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich was offered the commission of this building in 1928, after his successful management of the Werkbund exhibition in Stuttgart in 1927. The German Republic commissioned Mies and Reich to direct and assemble not only the Barcelona Pavilion, but also the buildings of all sections of Germany at the 1929 World’s Fair. However, Mies and Reich were serious. time constraints – they had to design the Barcelona Pavilion in less than a year – and they also faced uncertain economic conditions. In the following years, in the First World War, Germany began to change, the economy recovered after the Dawes Plan of 1924. The pavilion for the Universal Exposition was supposed to represent the new Weimar Germany: democratic, culturally progressive, prosperous and pacifist, a self-portrait through architecture. The play’s promoter, Georg von Schnitzler, said he should give “a voice to the spirit of a new era”. This concept was reflected in the realization of the “free floor” and the “floating room”.
Mies and Reich’s response to von Schnitzler’s proposal was radical. After rejecting the original site, perhaps to avoid visually breaking the historicist and eclectic proposal of the great official palaces that were built for the Exhibition, they agreed to place it in a quiet place, next to the narrow side of a wide diagonal axis, where the pavilion offers views and a route that leads to one of the main attractions of the exhibition, the Spanish People.
The pavilion had to show only the structure – and not commercial exhibitions -, a single sculpture and the furniture designed on purpose (the Barcelona Chair made of leather and metallic profile that, with time, became an icon of the modern design A good example of this is the fact that the Barcelona chair model is still produced and marketed today). This lack of practical use allowed the architects to treat the pavilion as a continuous space, confusing the exterior and the interior. “The design was based on an absolute distinction between structure and enclosure – a regular mesh of steel cross columns interspersed with freely separated planes.” However, the structure was more of a hybrid style, as some of these plans also acted as supports.
The plant is very simple. The whole building rests on a travertine marble pedestal. A U-shaped enclosure, also made of travertine marble, helps to form an annex service and a large water pond. The floor slabs of the pavilion are projected outside and over the pool – once again connecting the outside with the inside. Another U-shaped wall on the opposite side also forms a smaller water pond, this is where the statue of Georg Kolbe is located. The roof plates, relatively small, are supported by chrome cruciform columns, all of which produce the effect of a suspended ceiling. Robin Evans said the reflector columns appear to be struggling to keep the “floating” deck plane down,
Mies and Reich wanted this building to become “an ideal quiet area” for the weary visitor, who had to be invited to the pavilion on the way to the next attraction. Since the pavilion did not actually have an exhibition space, the building would become the exhibition itself. The pavilion was designed to “block” any passage through the site, rather it should pass through the building. Visitors would come in to climb a few steps, due to the slightly sloping site and leave it at ground level already in the direction of the “Spanish village”. Visitors were not conditioned to be driven in a straight line through the building, but to take continuous changes of direction. The walls not only created the space, but they also directed the movements of the visitor. This was achieved by moving the surfaces of the walls relative to each other and creating a space that became narrower or wider.
Joan Miró Foundation building
The Joan Miró Foundation Building is a work of Barcelona declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. It is the headquarters of the Joan Miró Foundation. The single-storey building develops around a central courtyard as does the Roman house around the impluvium and the medieval cloisters. From this courtyard, open on one side, you can see a very good view of the city. The structure of the building is based on modules as Mediterranean architecture does and establishes at all times a relationship of dialogue between the interior and the exterior and creates a perfect balance between architecture and landscape. A characteristic element of the building is the lighting system that allows the maximum use of natural light by means of skylights in the shape of a quarter of a cylinder through which sunlight, reflected, penetrates zenithally.
The architect Josep Lluís Sert, a founding member of GATCPAC and a friend of Joan Miró, raised the double issue that affects places intended to exhibit works of art: lighting and traffic. The building was designed to make the most of natural light thanks to the zenithal lighting system and for the user to visit without going through the same place twice, thanks to the distribution of the rooms around a part. Before designing this work, Sert had already built Miró’s studio in Mallorca and had designed a building with similar characteristics to Saint Paul-de-Vance, the Maeght Foundation.
The Joan Miró Foundation – Center for Contemporary Art Studies, opened to the public in 1975, was born with a double purpose: to be the depository of the legacy of works that Miró gave to Barcelona and also a cultural engine for the city, dedicated to contemporary art in all its aspects. The building was conceived under the idea of two types of infrastructures: exhibition and study, with an auditorium, a library and an archive, in addition to foreseeing the possibility of a future extension according to the needs of the institution. Extension designed in 1986 by the architect Jaume Freixa, a former direct collaborator of Josep Lluís Sert.
The National Palace located in Montjuic (Barcelona), is a palace built between 1926 and 1929 for the International Exposition of 1929 and since 1934 houses the National Art Museum of Catalonia. It was the main building of the Exhibition, the work of Eugenio Cendoya and Enric Catà, under the supervision of Pere Domènech i Roura, and rejecting the initial project of Puig i Cadafalch and Guillem Busquets. The Oval Hall hosted the opening ceremony of the Exhibition, chaired by Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia. It has an area of 32,000 m². Of classic style inspired by the Spanish Renaissance, it has a rectangular plant with two lateral bodies and one of later square, with a great elliptical cupola in the central part. The waterfalls and fountains on the steps of the Palace were the work of Carles Buïgas, and nine large floodlights were placed that still emit intense beams of light that write the name of the city in the sky.
The Palau Nacional was dedicated to showing an exhibition of Spanish art with more than 5,000 works from all over Spain. Various artists took part in its decoration, in a Noucentista style, contrary to the classicism of the architectural work, such as the sculptors Enric Casanovas, Josep Dunyach, Frederic Marès and Josep Llimona, and the painters Francesc d’Assís Galí, Josep de Togores, Manuel Humbert, Josep Obiols, Joan Colom and Francesc Labarta. Since 1934 it has housed the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Between 1996 and 2004 the palace was enlarged by Gae Aulenti, Enric Steegman, Josep Benedito and Agustí Obiol with the aim of creating spaces to accommodate all the works in the collection.
The model of the National Palace, is unified in a style that at the time was called Spanish Renaissance, with airs of an academic classicism; that is to say, the bet is the result of different functional forms and constructive procedures, solved with the technical language of the School of Architecture of Barcelona of the second decade of the twentieth century, that was the one in charge to guarantee the buildings for the Exhibition. The construction of the building was also the combination of traditional systems based on symmetry, clearly set out in its composition, and procedures for building with more modern materials and techniques, such as the use of serious elements. and concrete.
The building is organized on two floors: one as a base, and the main floor with double pilasters that frame large blind wall panels. In the northeastern part, it also has a basement that at the time of its construction was intended for kitchens. There was a set of rooms comprising the Throne Room, with rooms for the King and Queen and, at the front of the building, the museum section. At the back were placed the party area and a small tea room, or restaurant, located in the body that protrudes behind the Great Hall. The façade consists of a protruding central body and two lateral bodies: the central one is crowned by a large dome, reminiscent of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.of London or that of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, with two smaller domes on either side. At the four corners, in the part that corresponds to the Great Hall, are towers that keep a certain similarity with those of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the Giralda of Seville.
In the project of the architects of the Palace architectural architectural elements such as columns, pediments or moldings were considered, but also the interior decorations that consisted of murals and sculptures were realized. The entire ornamental part of these spaces depended on the organizing committee of the Exhibition, and an additional endowment of 1,200,000 pesetas was granted. The person in charge of directing the project was Lluís Plandiura, curator of Fine Arts at the Exhibition. The commissions began during the winter of 1928; therefore, the artists had only about three months to complete their work. The style of the works of art belonged to the current that predominated in Catalonia at that time, the so-called noucentisme, which were especially manifested in the main dome, the smaller domes, the Throne Room, the Great Hall and the Tea Room..
Palace of Graphic Arts
The Palau de les Arts Gràfiques is a work from Barcelona declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. It is the headquarters of the Museum of Archeology of Catalonia.
The palace is a building of approximately triangular plant, that is organized around a hexagonal nucleus covered with a cupola. The two arms of the triangle that flank the main façade have in front of them lodges with semicircular arches supported by Tuscan columns. The whole ensemble is an excellent example of the classicism of the Brunelleschi line, with white stuccoed walls and structural and ornamental elements covered with terracotta, a solution practiced by some architects in the 1920s.
Built between 1927 and 1929 to become the Palau de les Arts Gràfiques of the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition, under the project of the architect Pelagi Martínez i Paricio, with the collaboration of Raimon Duran i Reynals.
Parks and gardens
Sants-Montjuïc offers lots of outdoor spaces ideal for walking and enjoying nature and the landscape. Breathe fresh air from Montjuïc and contemplate the best views of Barcelona.
The gardens of Laribal
It is one of the pearls of Montjuïc Park and walking there is a real delight. The rich vegetation, together with the water that descends through waterfalls and slides delicately through wide railings, tile banks and squares, create a set of exceptional beauty. This garden is the first public rose garden to be created in Barcelona, known as the Colla de l’Arròs. This is a place to be there, to contemplate it and to discover the thousand details that make it up, with a harmony that is difficult to overcome. And the views of the city are even more special.
The gardens of the Greek Theater
These gardens, which were born as a rose garden, are one of the green spaces that were created on the mountain of Montjuïc on the occasion of the International Exhibition of 1929. An old quarry allowed the construction of an amphitheater, which every summer is the stage of many of the performances of the Greek Festival of Barcelona. It is a sunny place, with geometric parterres, pergolas and terraces, from where you can see the garden mountain and the city.
Going up the Paseo de Santa Madrona, we come across a large imperial stone staircase that climbs on either side of a wall. It is the main entrance to the gardens of the Greek Theater. From the promenade you can already see some important elements of these gardens: the pergola, the old pavilion and the sloping green fences behind which large trees rise.
The gardens of Joan Maragall
When we enter these gardens, we get the impression that they are like a king. And they are, as they were created for a king in the early 20th century. Joan Maragall’s gardens are very elegant, with tree-lined avenues, wide expanses of grass, embroidered flower beds, ornamental fountains, numerous outdoor sculptures and a small palace that was, and still is, a royal residence.
Joan Maragall’s gardens are a space full of serenity, a world apart where only the chirping of birds and the sound of water gushing from ornamental fountains can be perceived. You enter through the door on the Avenue of the Stadium; the first thing the visitor finds are large lawns where tall trees grow. From time to time, slight slopes bordered by stone descend gently through the terrain until they reach the heart of the gardens: the Palauet Albéniz.
The mountain of Montjuïc, as a whole, is the great urban park of Barcelona. The celebration of the 1929 International Exposition makes the city rediscover this space, order it and organize it. We currently have to consider it as a park park. The mountain condenses a wide and extensive offer where nature coexists, from forest areas to themed gardens, with recreational, sports, cultural and service areas. Despite withstanding this great pressure, the mountain acts as a large urban park and we can explain it, from the point of view of green spaces, as a garden of gardens, observing the mountain as a whole and not paying attention to its parts.
Montjuïc is, together with Collserola, one of the great urban lungs and, for this reason, the mountain is in the process of regulating and maintaining the necessary balance between the protection of space and its richness and biodiversity, and citizen uses.
The current Botanical Garden is the heir to a long tradition of gardens designed with the aim of studying, maintaining and preserving plant species. A space specialized in showing the biodiversity of the flora of the Mediterranean climate. It allows you to place, in the right geographical context, dozens of species that can be found in all the gardens of the city. They are plants that have adapted perfectly to the temperate climate although they are typical of other latitudes.
The Botanical Garden, in line with the new times and obeying scientific and sustainability criteria, has set aside the character of a collection of exotic plants or botanical rarities typical of the natural sciences cabinets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and has evolved towards to a more scientific proposal that follows sustainability criteria.
Gardens of Mossèn Costa i Llobera
It is one of the most important cactus and succulent gardens in Europe. Facing the sea, sheltered by the mountain of Montjuïc that welcomes them, they are located in a privileged viewpoint and a few minutes from the city center.
Mossèn Costa i Llobera offers a spectacular panoramic view over the coastal strip of the city and the port. The recent refurbishment has significantly improved this central access with the opening of two new pedestrian gates, which until then were only used as service accesses. The garden is a privileged outdoor classroom, which allows you to learn about the evolutionary strategies of succulents, which have generated varieties specializing in low water consumption.
Municipal Nursery of Plants Tres Pins
It is an uncommon green space of unsuspected beauty. Going through it allows you to know the place where, for almost a century, the plants that have landscaped the green spaces of Barcelona come from and discover that a nursery can also be a beautiful garden. It is located on the north-western slope of the upper part of Montjuïc, where the land has been used for terraces and slopes dedicated to the reproduction and parking of plants intended for gardening in Barcelona.
In the oldest part of the nursery there are greenhouses, umbrellas and headland spaces, and in the new part there are large terraces for plant stocks as well as plots dedicated to experimentation. The Viver Tres Pins produces about 225,000 shrubs and perennials annually from cuttings and seeds, such as pythospores, crassulas, ivy, asparagus and trojans, among other species. There are also two tunnels: one for producing plants and the other for storing stocks.
Gardens of Monsignor Cinto Verdaguer
Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer’s is, by far, one of the most beautiful gardens in Barcelona. The combination of bulbous, rhizomatous and aquatic plants gives it an exceptional chromatism.
Located on the mountain of Montjuïc, the Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Gardens descend a slight slope that allows you to enjoy a good view of Barcelona, the sea and, on clear days, even Montseny. It is part of the Montjuïc park, within which it is one of the most outstanding theme gardens, and borders the Joan Brossa garden and the Tres Pins nursery.
Montjuïc Acclimatization Garden
The Acclimatization Garden is one of the areas with the most botanical interest in Barcelona. It contains about 230 different plant species, some unique or very rare in the city. All this makes it a place of rare beauty. Formerly initiated in the eastern Mediterranean, in places such as Egypt or Mesopotamia, plant acclimatization trials have not only contributed to the knowledge of new species, but have also enriched the diversity of local flora.
The Barcelona Acclimatization Garden is arranged in flower beds, among which large trees stand out. The specimens are far enough apart to be able to contemplate them individually. This is logical if we take into account that the aim of these gardens was to know the possibilities of development of plant species from all over the world in the climate of Barcelona and, therefore, they needed space.