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The three chimneys of La canadenca, an icon of Barcelona

The neighborhood of Poble Sec in Barcelona hides one of the most interesting points of the city, not only for its architecture but for the history behind it. These are the three chimneys of La canadenca. Do you know that some of the work improvements of today were achieved thanks to the strike that began in the electricity sector, with La canadenca as the central axis? We explain you.

Three chimneys Barcelona

Three chimneys in the middle of the city

la canadenca barcelona

In the Sants-Montjuïc district we find the three chimneys located in the facilities that had been the headquarters of Fecsa-Endesa. Each one of the chimneys measures 72 m in height and up to 4 m in diameter, some buildings that have become the emblem of the neighborhood.

The Sociedad Española de Electricidad, founded in 1881, settled in the industrial complex of Poble Sec in 1883 with the aim of producing electrical energy for Barcelona. It was the first thermal plant that settled in the city. But it was not until 1896 that the first chimney was built.

The demand for electricity grew once in the twentieth century, and it was then that the other two chimneys were built, one in 1908 and the other in 1912. At that time, Canadian engineer Frederick Stark Pearson acquired the factory turned it into what we now know as La canadenca (The Canadian).

In the 1950s the electricity company FECSA was born, and to centralize its services, a large building was built around the three chimneys. In 1987, however, it was dismantled due to environmental and safety reasons, with the exception of the chimneys that are conserved until today.

La canadenca strike

La canadenca strike

The industrial complex and the three chimneys of La canadenca name one of the most important strikes in Catalonia. In 1919 the electric company Riegos and Fuerzas del Ebro wanted to lower workers' wages, and many were fired when they protested. In solidarity with colleagues, many workers in the electricity sector were declared in strike, and the news spread throughout Barcelona to declare a general strike of electric, gas and water companies. This strike paralyzed the city for 44 days, until La canadenca manager agreed to negotiate with the strike committee. Thanks to this firm and determined Spanish labor movement, considerable labor improvements were achieved, such as better wages, re-admission of dismissed workers or the decree of 8-hour work days. This general strike occurred in history as the strike of La Canadenca, an example of what can be achieved with the union of workers for a common cause.

 If you want to discover other special places of Barcelona like Montjuïc or La Sagrada Família, book one of our e-bike tours. Don’t miss the experience of a bike ride in Barcelona.

Montjuïc: a mountain of history and culture in Barcelona

In the Sants-Montjuïc district of Barcelona there is the Montjuïc mountain, a 177-meter-high peak that goes into the Mediterranean Sea. But Montjuïc is not just a mountain, its slopes, its rocks hide a lot of interesting places that are worth discovering. The list is extensive, but we have selected some of the most emblematic places on the mountain of Montjuïc.

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Montjuïc history: a military fortress at the top

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At the top of the Montjuïc mountain we find Montjuïc Castle, a military fortress that became a military museum after the civil war and which is currently a municipal facility that depends on the Barcelona City Council. The first stones of this fortification date back to the 17th century, during the war against Felip IV, and then the fortress was a fort with two square squares and bastions. Later, it played an important role during the War of Succession against the troops of Felip V, who took control of the fortress. Catalans recovered the castle of Montjuïc, but in 1714 they had to transfer it definitively due to the defeat in front of the Bourbon troops.

In the early nineteenth century, it was occupied by Napoleonic troops, and to choke a spontaneous revolt in Barcelona, from the castle of Montjuïc bombed the city for 12 hours in a row. Throughout this century the fortress became a prison for victims of political and social repression, and thus continued in the 20th century, during the Spanish Civil War. One of the most famous prisoners was the president of the Generalitat de Catalunya Lluís Companys, who was tried and shot in the castle of Montjuïc in 1940. The fortress was held as a military prison until 1960, and from there, already in the decline of the building, it was transferred to the city as a Military Museum. In 2007, the Military Museum was dismantled and, after a series of rehabilitations, the castle of Montjuïc was opened again to the public to visit it and get to know its history. A visit that, without a doubt, you cannot miss if you are in Barcelona.

Art on the Montjuïc mountain

On the hillside of Montjuïc there is an imposing classic-style palace inspired by the Spanish Renaissance architecture, which is now the seat of the MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia), one of the most important museums in Barcelona. The palace was built between 1926 and 1929 for the International Exposition of Barcelona and in 1934 it became the Museum of Art of Catalonia. In this first phase, the museum exhibited collections of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque art. But in 1990, seeing the need to have a national museum in Catalonia, the collection of modern art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was added, a large collection of drawings and prints and a numismatics. Officially, on November 14 of that year, what today is the MNAC was inaugurated. Now the museum hosts a great diversity of artists, collections and temporary exhibitions, as well as doing educational, cultural activities and the recovery and preservation of artistic works.

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Palau Sant Jordi, the music of the Montjuïc mountain

The mountain of Montjuïc also takes place for the sport, and for that reason during the Olympic Games of Barcelona 1992 was builded the Anella Olímpica. One of the most emblematic buildings of this space is Palau Sant Jordi, designed by the Japanese architect Arata Izosaki. Considered a jewel of architecture and modern engineering, the Palau Sant Jordi is a multipurpose space that can adapt to all kinds of events, whether sports or cultural. Regarding sporting events, it has been done from athletics championships, to different Final Four of basket, tennis and swimming championships, and also motor events such as indoor trial and motocross.

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But if something is known Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona is for the concerts that are done thanks to its impeccable acoustics and the great capacity of the public. In 2002, Bruce Sprinsteeng made a concert that was recorded on DVD as an official concert of the tour of that year. But for its stage, there have been all kinds of styles and artists, for example pop divas such as Madonna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga or Rihanna, rock kings like Queen, U2, Coldplay or Lenny Kravitz, as well as metal gods like Iron Maiden, Metallica, AC / DC or Deep Purple. Local and national artists have also filled Sant Jordi, such as Alejandro Sanz, Miguel Bosé, Amaral or Estopa. And if there is a concert that marked an important moment in the history of the Palau Sant Jordi it was on June 14, 1991. The concert brought together four groups of Catalan rock, Sau, Sopa de Cabra, Els Pets and Sangtraït in a very special night for Catalans, later remembered as "the great night of the Sant Jordi". Palau Sant Jordi is, therefore, a space for all audiences and for all possible shows.

Montjuïc also have a place for dead

On the southern slope of the Montjuïc mountain, the largest cemetery in Barcelona extends. It was inaugurated in 1883 as a result of the great urban and demographic growth that the city lived in the mid-nineteenth century. The architect was Leandre Albareda, and included many elements of Modernism, the artistic and cultural movement in force at the time, which is why it is a good place to learn more about this style. The cemetery of Montjuïc, besides being a monumental necropolis that looks to the sea, is also an almost obligatory place for any art lover. There are numerous sculptures, iron and stone works, pantheons and architectural groups that are worth discovering beyond the dead ones buried. A place of peace and tranquility for a walk.

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If you are in Barcelona and want to discover the most emblematic places of the Montjuïc mountain, take a look on our e-baike tour that will guide you to this magic mountain!

Plaça Catalunya, meeting point in the center of Barcelona

Plaça Catalunya in Barcelona is one of the most popular and tourist places in the city, and a meeting point in the center easy to reach because of the amount of public transport that has stopped. This attraction of Barcelona connects the old town with the Eixample neighborhood, and it is also the point of origin of many important avenues of the city such as La Rambla, Passeig de Gracia or Portal del Angel.

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Plaça Catalunya: from outside to inside

When the walls of Barcelona still surrounded the city, Plaça Catalunya was nothing more than an esplanade on the outskirts, in front of one of the main doors. From there, paths leading to the surrounding villages began. That is why it quickly became a place of open air markets and, therefore, a very busy place. Although not yet called Plaça Catalunya, that esplanade already predicted a promising future as a meeting place. Once the walls were demolished, it became part of the city definitively. In 1889, after the Universal Exposition of the previous year, the building permit was granted to the square, and was finely opened in 1927 by King Alfons XIII.

When the city was preparing for the International Exhibition of 1929, some of the most luxurious cafés, hotels and theaters in the city were located in this attraction of Barcelona. Over time they have been changing, but locals in Plaça Catalunya have always been a meeting place and literary and political gatherings.

Art and culture in Plaça Catalunya

plaça catalunya barcelona attraction

Plaça Catalunya of Barcelona as well as being a meeting point for tourists and locals, is a good place to take a walk and contemplate the sculptures that are distributed throughout the square. You can find sculptures such as La Deessa, by Josep Clarà, a monument to Francesc Macià by Josep Maria Subirachs, the sculpture Els pastors of Pau Gargallo and other important sculptors such as Josep Llimona and Enric Casanova. There are also six sculptural groups surrounding the square that represent wisdom, work and the four Catalan capitals.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Plaça Catalunya was also a theater center with venues such as Bon Retir, Cercle Eqüestre Alegria or Teatre Barcelona. Now, the commercial activity is one of the great attractions of the square, and the commercial center El Triangle or the legendary Café Zurich are almost obligatory places of visit.

Plaça Catalunya, today

At the moment, Plaça Catalunya is much more than a meeting place. It is an attraction of Barcelona where there are all kinds of public events, concerts, citizen events, fairs, shows... It is a multipurpose space that welcomes activities for all tastes and for all ages. One of the most media manifestations was that of May 2011, when a large group of citizens camped there to protest against the passivity of the political class. There were also celebrations when Barça won the Spanish Football League. And now that we leave behind Christmas, there was a Fair of responsible Consumption and social and solidarity Economy, recreational and sports activities for children and a show of puppets for the whole family. If you want to discover this and other attractions in Barcelona, reserve one of our e-bike tours right now!


Arc de Triomf: a legacy of the Universal Exposition of 1888

Must of the Barcelona attractions

Among all the Barcelona monuments, one stands out for its imposing construction: the Arc de Triomf. From the second half of the 19th century to the present day, universal expositions are celebrated worldwide with the aim of publicizing the culture and tradition of the different countries that participate. In Barcelona, a Universal Exposition took place in 1888, which will last from May 20 until December 9, and it was then that the Arc de Triomf was built, one of the tourist attractions of the city. Designed by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, it became the entrance to the Universal Exposition presiding over the Passeig de Lluís Companys, near the Ciutadella park. One of the main features of this monument in Barcelona is its civil character, marked by artistic, scientific and economic progress. This makes it different from triumphal arches of other cities, of a more military character.

arc de triomf monument

This Barcelona attraction is cataloged as a Cultural Good of Local Interest within the Catalan cultural heritage. In 1989, one hundred years after it was built, it was restored to give it all its magnificence.

Six scluptors, one Barcelona monument

arc de triomf barcelona attraction

The Arc de Triomf is 30 meters high and is of Neomudejar inspiration, not typical in Catalonia. Although it also includes ornaments of the first modernism. It is constructed with exposed brick, that gives this red color so showy, and the most outstanding is the rich sculptural ornamentation. Up to six different sculptors participated in the construction of this attraction in Barcelona. Thus, the upper frieze, called the Adhesion of Nations to the Universal Contest, was conceived by Josep Reynés; Josep Llimona made the reverse of the top and called The Reward; on the right side of the Arc de Triomf Antoni Vilanova designed the allegories of Industry, Agriculture and Commerce, and to the left side Torquat Tasso was in charge of allegories of Sciences and Arts. Finally, in the monument there are twelve female sculptures that represent the Fames, sculptured by Manuel Fluxà and Pere Carbonell. The talent of all these artists created what is still one of the most visited tourist attractions in Barcelona.

As a curiosity, if you pass by, look over the Arc de Triomf, there you will see the shields of the 49 Spanish provinces presided over by the coat of arms of Barcelona. The Arc de Triomf has often served as a goal for some of the city's popular races, such as the Barcelona Marathon. If you want to know about this monument in Barcelona, book the 4 hour Discovering Barcelona Tour. We will pass through the Ciutadella park and we will see the Arc de Triomf.

La Boqueria: a touristic market in Barcelona

La Boqueria market: from convent to market

On the Rambla of Barcelona, close to the Liceu, we find the Sant Josep market, popularly known as La Boqueria market. The name of Sant Josep comes from the old convent that founded the order of the Carmelites barefoot in 1586. As the Rambla became important as a walk through the 18th century, the slaughterhouses were taken out which was on his way and they were located in the orchard of the convent.

But on July 25, 1835, the convent of Sant Josep and others in the area were assaulted and set on fire during an anticlerical riot instigated by liberal politicians of Barcelona, and after this fire the convent was overthrown. In its place, a square with large columns surrounded by arcades was built that became the largest in Barcelona. La Boqueria market, as we know it today, was inaugurated in 1840, when finally, the stands that street vendors and farmers from nearby farmhouses were outside the walls to save taxes were absorbed by the growth of the city. That same year the works on the roof began, just on Saint Joseph's day.

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La boqueria: A modern and exotic market

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La Boqueria market has an area of 2583m2 and has more than 300 stands. The metallic roof, which was so characteristic of the building, was opened in 1914, and the last architectural modification of the market took place in 2000.

The modernist arch that attracts the views of locals and tourists was restored in 2012, almost 100 years after its construction.

Architect A. Falguera designed an arc decorated with blue, yellow and brown geometric stained glass windows supported by two columns decorated with ceramics, and is now again seen as the first day.

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In La Boqueria food market more than 300 market stands offer a wide variety of local and exotic products, and are sold to both private buyers and restaurateurs in Barcelona.

There are more and more stops run by sellers from Japan, Italy, Greece or the Arab countries, which offers a great cultural diversity in La Boqueria market and makes it an indispensable place for tourists.

It is the largest market in Catalonia, and its architecture, its location and its diversity make it a must. You can visit it by bike with our tours.