Secrets of Barcelona
Barcelona, the city of Gaudí, his work has greatly influenced the face of Barcelona architecture and you can see stunning examples of Gaudí’s work all around the city centre. However, there’s a whole part of Barcelona that’s not immediately obvious, and only accessible to the most perceptive.
Read on and you’ll become a member of that exclusive group.
1 – Roman Barcino
Just five minutes from Las Ramblas there’s the perfectly preserved Roman necropolis. In Roman Barcino times it was out in the country midway between the city and the Roman motorway of the Via Augusta.
Next to the cathedral you will find the narrow Carrer del Paradis. At the dogleg enter a narrow dark courtyard until it opens out to reveal the giant columns of the Temple of Augustus, a Roman temple built during the Imperial period in the colony of Barcino as a place of worship for Emperor Augustus.
At one point in history the temple was demolished, and its ruins were not discovered until the late 19th century, when three of its columns appeared on the construction site of Centre Excursionista de Catalunya.
2 – Horta’s Labyrinth Park
The archetypical hedge maze sitting in the center of Barcelona’s Parc del Laberint d’Horta is one of the city’s hidden gems, having delighted visitors for centuries making it the oldest garden in the city. It was created when a Catalan aristocrat decided to convert an old, extensive family property at the end of the 18th century. The garden’s layout, buildings and ornamentation were designed by Bagutti, an Italian architect and Delvalet, a French gardener. It was enlarged in the mid-19th century, this part adopting a romantic style. In 1969 the family reached an agreement with Barcelona City Council who acquired the estate and opened it to the public.
3 – Bunkers at Carmel
The spot is the perfect place for taking amazing pictures of Barcelona. Located at the top of Rovira in the Carmel neighbourhood is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon with your friends or your couple. The bunkers, which were used as anti-aircraft batteries, were built during the Spanish Civil War in order to defend the city from the bombings that shook it.
4 – Soviet Bunker at Salvador Andreu House
Salvador Andreu, better known as “Dr. Andreu,” was the wealthiest physician in Barcelona in the 1920s. He used the great fortune he accumulated by a pharmaceutical invention to purchase large plots of land, and catering to the growing wealthy Catalan bourgeoisie class, developed Tibidabo Avenue, an elegant avenue running along the city’s highest peak. But when Dr. Andreu died in 1928 and the Spanish Civil War broke out eight years later, the empty residence was repurposed as the Soviet Union’s consulate in Barcelona, home to Soviet Ambassador Vladimir Antonov.
The Soviet Union, under Stalin, was aiding the Republican forces fighting General Franco’s Nationalists. At this time bombings by the Italian fascist air force were frequent and the Soviet embassy was an obvious target. So in 1937, a bunker was built on the property.
The Soviet bunker was unique in that it was not just an emergency refuge but also built to be a place for the diplomats to continue their work during bombings. It had all the necessary amenities, including a kitchen, toilettes, an electricity generator, which is still visible.