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La Barceloneta area of Barcelona
Passeig Joan de Borbó
The name Barceloneta means literally “little Barcelona.” It is on reclaimed land from the sea and there were residents here as early as the 15th century. The small triangular form of La Barceloneta covers just 71 hectares, but it is 71 hectares of the most expensive real estate in Barcelona's old city centre, the Cuitat Vella, due to its prime location near the beach and the the Port Vell marina and Barcelona centre.
The first real houses in Barceloneta were constructed in 1753 by the army. The purpose was to provide new housing for former residents of the Ribera neighbourhood, who had been displaced by the construction of Cuitadella garrison, which was constructed by Philip V after the siege and fall of Barcelona in 1714.
The garrisson later became what is now the Cuitadella Park. In the early 18th centure Barcelona was still walled and there was no room for new residents within the walls, so Barceloneta was conceived.
In true military fashion 15 parallel streets were planned, each 7.5 meters wide and crossed by other three cross-sectional streets of 9.3 meters width. The original houses, some of which can still be seen, were two floors high and originally intended to house 1 family. They were all the same and built in a grid pattern. The earliest residents were mostly mariners, fishermen, shipbuilders.
From 1846 they were joined by factories and factory workers as the industrial age started and the city council of Barcelona banned new factories within the city walls. New industrial areas outside old Barcelona sprung up and Barceloneta with it’s close proximity to the port and the emerging railways was the an ideal location for industry. One of the original industries, the gas production industry, still has its head office close to Barceloneta.
When the walls of Barcelona came down and trams connected the city, Barceloneta began the transformation into the beach and leisure area that it is today. Most of the two storey houses have been long since been built up or replaced, but the street layout is still the same and the “village in a city” atmosphere is still strong. Today La Barceloneta is a bustling, vibrant and essential part of Barcelona.
Around 16000 inhabitants are adapting to the new Barceloneta which merges the best of old world tradition and customs with fast paced modern tourism. Hundred year old bars and fish restaurants co-exist well with new and trendy cocktail bars, chiriniguitos and hotels.
Some old timers grumble that the number of tourists living and renting apartments in Barceloneta have turned the neighbourhood into one long vertical "hotel", the roads being corridors and the tiny flats the rooms. They might be right, but most locals and visitors agree that the infusion of visitors has made Barceloneta an even more colourful and lively area of Barcelona than before.
Living in La Barceloneta
Personal opinions from people who live there
* Unbeatable neighbour atmosphere - the streets, the neighbours, the colours of the washing hanging out from every flat makes it feel like a real home with real people
* the smell of the sea and the salt
* great for walking, biking, skating this is the best place in town
* like living in a village by the sea
* plenty of old world restaurants and cafes
* many tourists in the summer and noisy
* close proximity to the sea means that the humidity can makes it chilly in winter
* shopping is limited, but it’s close to the city centre
* No lifts
* finding parking is hard but there is underground parking nearby
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