Barcelone Districts and Neighbourhoods
Ciutat Vella, the origin of Barcelone
Until the middle of IXX century, Barcelone included the urban centre bounded by walls, surrounded by fields and small towns like Gràcia, Sarrià, Horta and Sant Martí. Today, the old city or Ciutat Vella is a district over Barcelone which are political, historical and tourist centres of the Catalan capital. The Barri Gotic is the historical and political centre of the city and is located between La Rambla and Via Laietana.
The Roman town developed in the heart of this neighbourhood, surrounded by walls built in the Middle Ages can still be seen in different parts, as is in the History Museum of the City of Barcelone, around the first walled enclosure forming part the perimeter of the current Gothic Quarter. Across the Via Laietana, the Born and the Ribera owes its origin to the expansion towards the east of the old Barcino, which was like the Romans christened Barcelone. Years later, along with the west wall, various types of equipment and religious institutions forming a shantytown were emplaced. And this is the origin of the other neighbourhood from Ciutat Vella: Raval. Barcelone’s famous Las Ramblas once the fortress was in the middle. In the eighteenth century, it was born the fourth quarter district: Barceloneta, fisherman neighbourhood and sea south of the city on the shores of the Mediterranean.
The Eixample or Ensanche was born after the destruction of the walls in 1855, by the plain adjoining considered a military and culture zone. On this plain, between the old walled city and surrounding towns, they have developed the five districts of Eixample district. This development project was carried out according to the Cerdà Plan, devised by the Catalan engineer Ildefons Cerdà and after the long controversy was approved and launched in 1860. Of the five boroughs of the district, three of them were absorbed by this plan after the destruction of the walls: Sant Antoni, Sagrada Família and Fort Pienc. The other two were developed as a result of the expansion that began in 1860 and calling themselves Eixample Esquerra (left) and Eixample Dreta (right).
In 1986, the origin of the last big push occurs in the transformation of Barcelone when it is named host of the 1992 Olympic Games, then the Olympic Village of Poblenou is built, always respecting the original layout of the expansion, which has allowed after more than a century, to the Eixample and Avenida Diagonal reach the sea. They also moved outside Barcelone large industries, leaving many of the ornamental chimneys as witnesses of industrial activity in this area. At the end of 1890 had more than 200 factories. This opens new avenues and develops new areas, similar to the originally designed gardens.
Gracia district and its neighbourhoods constituted an independent villa Barcelone until 1850, which was separated from the city by the agricultural plain surrounding the walled capital. The urbanization of the territory was approaching the capital to the town after disappearing the walls of the city of Barcelona becoming part of Barcelona in 1900. The famous and elitist Paseo de Gracia was the old road to the Villa de Gracia, perhaps for that reason remained much wider this way than the rest of the streets that made up the Cerdà Plan.
Today it is a neighbourhood of artists and bohemian atmosphere. It is full of cafes-terraces and at night is the place that people choose to go for a drink. However, despite its modern nature, Gracia is itself a very traditional neighbourhood. This creates a strange and funny atmosphere that makes it a special place to sit down and enjoy watching people go!
Gracia is also well known for local festivals that are held one week during the month of August in which people compete for the spectacular decoration of the streets (and take it very seriously!) with live music on each corner of all kinds.
Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district
Formed by the old communes of Sant Gervasi de Casseroles and Sarria. Formerly the summer resort of the Barcelona bourgeoisie becoming the residence of good people of the Catalan capital, displacing the Esquerra Eixample and before, the old stately neighbourhoods of Ciutat Vella. Located in the upper left corner of the city, it is – next to the district of Pedralbes and Eixample heart– one of the most expensive and selected areas in Barcelone. Its population is made up mainly of wealthy people. The upper part of Barcelone has several districts, but only Sarria-Sant Gervasi and Pedralbes (belonging to the district of Les Corts) are associated with the term ‘Upper zone’, a name which, in addition to its undeniable geographical reference, pointing to the upper echelons of Barcelone society. Thus, the upper area is synonymous with the district of Sarria-Sant Gervasi and also posh and wealthy people, expensive houses, money and good manners.
Sants-Montjuïc, including the former independent term of Sants, annexed to Barcelone in 1897, the industrial area of the Free Zone and the mountain of Montjuïc, natural boundary of the city by the western side.
The southernmost district and at the foot of Montjuïc reaches the sea by the Paral-lel Avenue inexhaustible history where the most varied theatres in Barcelone that does not sleep night or day.