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Ramblas

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Ramblas

"Las Ramblas" redirects here. For other uses, see Las Ramblas (disambiguation).

La Rambla
View over the Rambla
Length 1.2 km (0.7 mi)
From Barri Gòtic
To El Raval

La Rambla (Catalan pronunciation: [ɫə ˈrambɫə]) is a street in central Barcelona, popular with tourists and locals alike. A tree-lined pedestrian mall, it stretches for 1.2 kilometers between Barri Gòtic and El Raval, connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell.

Overview

La Rambla can be considered a series of shorter streets, each differently named, hence the plural form Les Rambles (the original Catalan form; in Spanish it is Las Ramblas). From Plaça de Catalunya toward the harbour, the street is successively called:

  • Rambla de Canaletes - the site of the Font de Canaletes fountain
  • Rambla dels Estudis - the site of the former Jesuit University, whose only remainder is the Church of Bethlehem, and currently the site of an open-air market for caged birds and other small pets
  • Rambla de Sant Josep (or de les Flors) - the site of an open-air flower market
  • Rambla dels Caputxins - the site of a former Capuchin monastery, now dominated by the Liceu opera-house
  • Rambla de Santa Mònica - named after the convent of St. Monica, now an arts centre

Construction of the Maremàgnum in the early 1990s resulted in a continuation of La Rambla on a wooden walkway into the harbour called the Rambla de Mar.

Nearby is the Maritime Museum (Museu Marítim), specifically devoted to naval history in the Mediterranean, which displays a full-scale replica of an ancient galley battle. The museum is housed in the Royal Dockyards (in Catalan, Drassanes) of the medieval era where the ships that connected the extensive dominions of the Crown of Aragon with other ports of the Mediterranean were built. The old port offers other attractions such as leisure venues, restaurants, an IMAX theater, and an aquarium.

In the historical center, close to La Rambla, may be found the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia, the recently restored (1968–72) Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, the Plaça Sant Jaume that houses the buildings of the Generalitat of Catalonia and Barcelona’s City Council, as well as the narrow streets of the Gothic quarter, the Raval and the Born area.

The promenade is crowded during the day and until late in the night. It is full of kiosks that sell newspapers and souvenirs, flowers and birds, street performers, cafes, restaurants and shops. Near the port are found smaller local markets and the shop-fronts of painters and draftsmen. Strolling along La Rambla one can see such historic buildings as the Palace of the Virreina and La Boqueria market and the famous Liceu Theatre (Liceo in Spanish), in which operas and ballets are staged. One of the side streets, only a few metres long, leads to the Royal Square (Plaça Reial), a plaza with palm trees and porticoed buildings containing many pubs and restaurants, and in which stamp and coin collectors gather on the weekends.

La Rambla can be crowded, especially during the height of the tourist season. Most of the time there are many more tourists than locals occupying the Rambla, which fact has changed the shopping selection, as well as the character of the street in general.[1] For this reason also it has become a prime target of pick pockets.[2]

The Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said that La Rambla was "the only street in the world which I wish would never end." The name rambla refers to an intermittent watercourse in both Catalan and Spanish. This is reflected in the undulating design on the pavement which is also decorated with a mosaic by Joan Miró. This work was the second of three sculptures that were commissioned to welcome tourists.[3] The first was at the airport and had been commissioned in 1968. The other was Dona i Ocell in the centre of the city.

History

The course of La Rambla was originally a sewage-filled stream-bed, usually dry but an important drain for the heavy rainwater flowing from the Collserola hills during spring and autumn. It separated the walled city on its north-east bank from the settlements of El Raval ("the suburb") on its south-west.[4]

In the year 1377, construction started on an extension of the city walls to include La Rambla and El Raval. In 1440, the stream was diverted to run outside the new walls, and La Rambla gradually started turning into a street.[5]

Over the next few centuries, La Rambla became established as a centre of Barcelona city life, a long wide thoroughfare used for festivals, markets, and sports. Several large religious establishments were also built along the street during this period. These include the Jesuit Bethlehem monastery and college (1553), of which just the later church remains; the Carmelite St. Joseph's monastery, on the site of the current Boqueria market; and a Capuchin monastery at the lower end of the street.[5]

In 1703, the first of the trees lining La Rambla were planted.[5]

Various conflicts over recent centuries took their toll on La Rambla's religious buildings, most notably the St. James's Night riots in 1835 when revolutionaries burned the monasteries and churches and massacred the monks and nuns;[6] and the Spanish Civil War in 1936-39, when Barcelona came under the control of anarchists who again targeted religious buildings and personnel, as well as being damaged by artillery and air attacks on the area from pro-Franco forces.

In 1971, the famed artist Joan Miró installed the pavement mosaic in Pla de l'Os on La Rambla.[5]

City life on la Rambla

Culture


  • Gran Teatre del Liceu, or simply Liceu, is Barcelona's renowned opera house. Opened in 1847, it is among the world's finest.
  • Centre d'Art Santa Mònica is a public museum of contemporary art located on the Raval side of Rambla de Santa Mònica, with regular exhibitions of international artists.
  • Mercat de la Boqueria (also known as Mercat de Sant Josep or just La Boqueria) is the city's most iconic street market.
  • Font de Canaletes is the city's most famous fountain and its most popular meeting point.
  • Palau de la Virreina, a Baroque palace, hosts museum exhibitions and cultural events.

Animals

Although the City Council implemented the Animal Protection Law of Catalunya in 2003 prohibiting the public exhibition of live animals for sale to prevent their abuse or neglect, it is not uniformly enforced and there are still many stalls in La Rambla that sell them openly. Other shops that sell animals have had to adapt to the regulations which forbid the exhibition of animals in store windows to prevent impulsive purchases. Organizations for animal rights such as the Plataforma Rambles Étiques, the FADDA, Libera!, and AnimaNaturalis3 have launched campaigns to require vendors to comply with the law and cease illegal activity for ethical and health reasons.

From 2006 until today, the City Council has given extensions to sellers, offering them alternatives such as the refurbishment of their stalls to improve conditions for the animals or a change in business activity, but the abuses continue.

Kiosks

There are plenty of kiosks along Las Ramblas. Until late 2010, there were a total of 11 kiosks affiliated to Amics de la Rambla (in all a total of 20 approximately) that sold mainly newspapers, tobacco, lighters, chewing gum and a few more products. A few years ago they started selling souvenirs such as post cards, key chains and mugs, competing against the souvenir shops. There were also several flower and animal stands, but since 2010 the character of the kiosks has changed. If you stroll along the street now you will find a variety of kiosks that sell ice-cream, churros, hand-made candles, pastries and chocolates, as well as the typical newspaper kiosks.

Souvenirs

There are a total of sixteen souvenir shops affiliated to Amics de la Rambla, but in Las Ramblas itself, there are about twenty-four shops. In these shops you can find anything from Gaudi reproductions to t-shirts and stationery with a Barcelona letterhead.

Transport

There are three Barcelona Metro stations with entrances on La Rambla, all of which are served by L3, the green line:

  • Catalunya - immediately adjacent to Plaça Catalunya. One of the city's oldest and most iconic metro stations, and a common meeting place.
  • Liceu - In front of the opera house Liceu.
  • Drassanes - by the port, right next to Centre d'Art Santa Mònica.

There are four Barcelona Bus lines that are located on Las Ramblas: numbers 14, 59, 91, and 120.[7][8][9][10] During the night, there are three lines that go through Las Ramblas: numbers N12, N15, and N9.[11][12][13]

References

External links

  • Amics de la Rambla - Association of La Rambla

Template:Barcelona

Coordinates: 41°22′53″N 2°10′23″E / 41.38139°N 2.17306°E / 41.38139; 2.17306

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