El Raval is one of Barcelona’s most ethnically rich and diverse neighborhoods. Until recently, this has been one of the most densely populated urban areas of the world. The recent regeneration schemes have altered the social and economic environment dramatically.
In 1800, El Raval was not built up as it is today. It consisted of small market gardens that were used as a supply to the rest of the city. By the mid-1800’s, El Raval saw rapid growth due to the industrial revolution. The neighborhood was filled with coal run textile mills and housing blocks. As other cities throughout the world experienced at this time, the density of living spaces and lack of hygiene led to a frequent and early death rate. Also around this time is when the southern portion of El Raval earned the reputation as the center of low-life and the sex industry.
The barrio of El Raval has changed drastically since the time of textile mills and slums. The regeneration of the neighborhood has made El Raval safer and cleaner, while still keeping the image of an eclectic, multicultural, and vibrant area. The immigrant population in the area is still large, giving the area a more rich and diverse feel than any other Barcelona neighborhood.
Below are maps describing certain pieces that make up El Raval
(Immigrant data mapping to follow in later draft)
Points of Interest
Points of Interest (Descriptions from The Culture Trip):
- Rambla del Raval
- “The centerpiece of Barcelona’s diverse and multicultural neighborhood, Rambla del Raval features plenty of street art, quirky bars, and fantastic restaurants. Bordered by palm trees and cafés, it’s a perfect place to sit comfortably, enjoy a drink, and people watch for hours on end in the busy hub of El Raval. Go in the morning to enjoy peace and quiet, and in the evening for busy bars and restaurants. Enjoy the open-air Saturday market in every month apart from August, amongst other little and ever-changing delights in this urban addition to El Raval.”
- MACBA (Museo d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona)
- “The Museo d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, or MACBA, houses important works from international artists, with the focus set on the second half of the 20th century. With diverse and varied exhibitions, changing every three to six months, there’s always something new to see. It’s definitely worth doing some reading beforehand about the current exhibitions. MACBA museum houses everything from sculptors to painters, and even filmmakers. Not only is there beautiful art to marvel at, MACBA also hosts regular workshops, conferences, film projects and audio-visual performances.”
- Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona
- “This cultural center is one of the most visited exhibition and arts centers in the whole city, not just El Raval. However, its location in El Raval means it is focused heavily on the city and urban culture. Opened in 1994, CCCB boasts a huge façade and part of the courtyard even remains from the original medieval monastery on which it was built. The rest, in contrast, features tilting glass and steel. The exhibitions inside hide certain gems and art definitely worth exploring.”
- Museu Marítim de Barcelona
- “The soaring arches and vaults of the former shipyards make Barcelona’s Maritime Museumone of the most perfectly preserved examples of civil Gothic architecture in the whole of Spain, where, in medieval times, ships sat right on the water’s edge. Take advantage of the audio guides and maps whilst exploring the nautical instruments and learning from the informative multimedia displays and models which show visitors everything, including the development of shipbuilding and navigation techniques over recent years. You can even enjoy the stunning 1917 Santa Eulalia ship docked nearby, as well as a variety of temporary exhibitions.”
- Palau Güell
- “Palau Güell is one of many of Gaudi’s spectacular pieces of architecture. This mansion was built for the industrial tycoon, Eusebi Güell, and was built between 1886 and 1888. Situated in Las Ramblas, it is now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is unsurprising, as on top of being a spectacular work of art, the building holds a rich history. The mansion is centered on a main room for entertaining high society guests who entered the building in horse-drawn carriages through the front iron gates. By far one of the most magnificent buildings of the art nouveau movement, this is a must see for anyone wishing to see the impressive works of this talented architect.”
- San Pau del Camp
- “This church and former monastery stands in what is now the El Raval area of Barcelona rather than the countryside from which it gets part of its name. Guests can admire the small cloister built in the 13th century which features decorations of biblical life and motifs. Being Barcelona’s oldest church, and very well preserved, still boasting spectacularly intricate architecture, Sant Pau del Camp is a must see in this area of the city.”
- La Boquería
- “Officially known as the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, but more commonly known as La Boqueria, this huge public market is one of the city’s most famous tourist landmarks. The first mention of La Boqueria dates back to 1217, and it still stands today as a vibrant and busy market, only being legally recognized in 1826. The grand iron entrance leads into what is one of Europe‘s largest and most famous food markets, selling a rainbow of fruits, and well known for it’s seemingly never-ending supply of exotic fruit smoothies and fresh lemonade. Visitors can explore the many sections of the market, from fish and meat, to fruit, and even enjoy something to eat at the famous El Quim de la Boquería restaurant at the heart of the market.”