Gràcia. Squares | Barcelona Bus Turístic

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Gràcia. Squares

Life is lived on the street in this district with a momentous history of working-class defiance

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A district with the soul of a town whose charisma has been forged predominantly in its squares, the true centres of social life and entertainment for its residents. With the annexation of the town of Gràcia, Barcelona gained a district where life is lived in its squares, each of which has its own personality and history.

Why visit the squares in the Gràcia district?

Until the 17th century what is today the Gràcia district was an area of isolated country houses, three monasteries and a few summer homes. But with the industrialisation of the 19th century, this area gained importance as a space where industrial facilities could be installed and the two municipalities were connected by Passeig de Gràcia. The town of Gràcia was definitively annexed to Barcelona in 1897.

Its urbanisation gave rise to its squares, which are not only the centre of its residents’ social life and entertainment, but also make this district one of the city’s most charismatic. In a district with a history of defending itself and involvement in the cooperative movement, not in vain were its two markets named Llibertat and Revolució (the latter is now called Abaceria). Most of its narrow, rural streets lead to a small square where you can sit down and watch the world go by.

You can also stroll through historic squares like Plaça del Diamant, which is home to a Civil War air raid shelter. This square lent its name to Mercè Rodoreda’s best-known novel and in her honour there is now a sculpture dedicated to Colometa, the book’s protagonist. You can admire the bell tower of Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, previously known as Plaça de Rius i Taulet, where the local office of the city council is located and, close by, you can enjoy the atmosphere of Plaça del Sol, a meeting place for the district’s young people, who not only fill the seats on its terraces, but the entire square. Further south, you will feel the rhythm of the Catalan rumba, which was created in Plaça del Raspall and Plaça del Poble Romaní, where the district’s gypsy community congregate.

In Plaça de la Revolució de Setembre de 1868 you can take a rest in the shade of a tree and then follow Carrer de Verdi up to Plaça de la Virreina, which is dominated by the small Parish Church of Sant Joan, and in the northernmost part of the district you can relax in Plaça del Nord or in Plaça de Rovira i Trias, where you can share a seat with the architect after whom the square is named, whose constructions include La Concepció Market and the famous Sant Antoni Market.

 

How do you get to Gràcia?

From the Paseo de Gracia on the Blue and Red Routes of Barcelona Bus Turístic, you will reach the Gràcia district, crossing the Avenida Diagonal, to visit its most famous squares.

For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? In April 1870, there was a popular revolt, known as the Revolta de les Quintes, against the compulsory conscription of young men into the army. Several towns around Barcelona rose up and the inhabitants of Gràcia were informed of the arrival of the troops by the ringing of the bell in Plaça d’Orient, now Plaça de la Vila. Even though the soldiers laid siege for six days and never stopped firing cannon, they did not manage to destroy this large bell, known as ‘La Marieta’, which, although suffering a crack continued to sound throughout the siege.
  • Local’s tip: If you visit Barcelona in the month of August, don’t miss the Festa Major de Gràcia, the city’s best-known traditional festival.
  • A must: To discover the flip side of Barcelona.