A fascinating historical voyage through the local streets of El Raval into the life of Barcelona before the Spanish Civil War. An influential period that helps explain what happened to Spain in later years. Not to be missed by history buffs or anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of this dynamic city.
Plaça de la Universitat (under the clock tower of the university building)More details +
Utopic urban / Industrialisation / Conditions of working class / ‘Anarchism’ / The new bourgeois / Changes in El Raval / Organised worker’s movements / 1909 Tragic Week of Barcelona / Anarcho-syndicalismMore details +
Wheelchair friendly tour
KNOWLEDGEABLE AND ENGAGING
"While most people focus on the beautiful riches of the Passeig de Gracia and the rich architecture that makes Barcelona famous, Catherine put together a fascinating 100 year history you will not find in the guide books." Read on Trip Advisor
AREN'T YOU CURIOUS?
"If you want to not only see but also start understanding this city make sure to book a place. It will definitely change what you see when you visit the sites and wander in the streets of beautiful Barcelona." Read on Trip Advisor
THE RICH & THE POOR "BOURGEOISIE & WORKING CLASS"
"One of the best tours to learn the history of Barcelona & how the labor movement in the 19th & 20th centuries shaped the city. Our guide, Catherine, has vast knowledge on the subject." Read on Trip Advisor
Plaça de la Universitat
(under the clock tower of the university building)
How to get to the meeting point
Nearest metro stop: Universitat (L1 & L2)
How to find the guide
Your guide will be Catherine and she will be waiting under the clock tower of the University building (left tower) holding a yellow umbrella.
WATCH THE VIDEO
Utopic urban planning (“Eixample”) & harsh reality
In the 1850s a plan was proposed for Barcelona to remove its medieval wall; allowing for rapid growth and better organization of the city, in what was to be a new inter-class living space.
The proposal never became a complete reality. By the end of the 19th century, the upper classes migrated steadily towards the Eixample, leaving the working class in the increasingly miserable conditions of the Old City.
Industrialisation & beginning of unease
By the 19th century Barcelona had become the first industrialized city in Spain. It was not a smooth transition, however. On a national level, three civil wars during this period caused great political unrest. On a local level, the medieval wall surrounding the city resulted in stunted industrial development.
Conditions of working class Barcelona
It is the neighbourhood of El Raval where this class division was felt the most. Deplorable factory conditions were only matched by worsening living conditions, as homes were continuously subdivided to accommodate a growing working class population. Disease, illiteracy, abysmal wages, no laws governing workers safety or job security – are but a few of the factors that would impact on the escalating working class frustrations.
Bombing of Liceu Theatre & birth of 'anarchism'
The misery and frustration of the working class would find relief when an introduction to Anarchism arrived to the neighbourhood in 1869 – the idea of living in a classless, stateless society would become ingrained amongst the workers. For the next few decades, however, Anarchism would manifest itself in violent attacks across the city.
The new bourgeois & rebirth of Catalan culture and identity
Enjoying the profit generated from the Industrial Revolution the bourgeois planned to project Barcelona as the ‘Paris of the south’. A Universal Exhibition to rival that of the French capital was organized in 1888, coupled with the desire to create a unique architectural style to relive the glorious past of the Catalan region and to showcase local talent – Modernisme.
Changes in El Raval (Barri Xino / Chinatown)
With the loss of Spain’s last colonies in 1898, the industrial progression of Barcelona’s bourgeois was greatly affected. The loss resulted in many factories being shut down – these abandoned spaces would now be used by the proletarian to hold clandestine meetings. Anxieties continued to grow amongst the elite as they saw the neighborhood as the ‘underbelly’ of the city.
Beginning of organised worker's movements
By the turn of the century changes were on the horizon for the working class in Barcelona. They began to organize in a more non-violent approach to Anarchism; replacing the attacks of previous decades with boycotts, strikes and protests. The efforts were met with constant repression, which in turn served to strengthen the plight of the workers.
Burning of convents and monasteries (1909 Tragic Week of Barcelona)
What began as a planned general strike and demonstration against conscription for the colonization of Northern Morocco descends into a citywide uprising. The church of San Pau del Camp is one of dozens to be attacked as the fury of the city’s population results in a week of destruction and havoc.
General strikes and worker’s conditions (anarcho-syndicalism)
In 1910 worker’s organisation is taken to another level with the formation of a national Anarcho-syndicalist union, the CNT. Constant growth and networking amongst its members leads to the greatest labour victory in Spanish history to date in 1919 – a step closer for the worker’s to their dream of a revolutionised society.
- We require a deposit of €100 to reserve a tour. This will be invoiced to your email address through our bank’s online secure payment system. The balance has to be paid in cash to the guide on the day of the tour or by bank transfer. If you prefer to pay the whole amount beforehand, please let us know so we can issue the invoice accordingly.
Cancellation policy for the tour:
- Deposits and full payments will be refunded to tours cancelled by the customer up to 72 hours before the scheduled time. There is no refund for tours cancelled by the customer less than 72 hours before the start of the tour.
- In the case of heavy rain the tour will run as usual so please bring suitable rain gear.