Browsing Tag


Civil War

Battlefields in Barcelona 1: Carrer Diputació, July, 1936

2nd August 2018

The streets of Barcelona comprise a battlefield which continues to host skirmishes and more enduring clashes between armed police, the civil guard, the army, and local people.

The streets of the city have seen fierce clashes over issues such as workers' rights, the all-pervasive and malign influence of the Church, education, Republicanism, a Stalinist coup, national independence, workers' self-management, property speculation, squatters' rights, forced evictions and revolution.

Friday, July 17th, 1936:

The city is awash with rumours — have they or haven't they?

Tensions are high.

Has a cabal of  generals and colonels issued orders to the armed forces to rise against the Republic?

Radio and telephone messages from Morocco suggest so. But government censors suppress newspapers and radio stations from broadcasting what little information there is.

Anarchist spies in barracks across the city report that a military uprising is set to begin during the early hours of Sunday, July 19th.

Local authorities refuse workers' demands for weapons. Activists in the transport workers union take the initiative and raid two ships in the harbour. They expropriate and distribute 200 rifles.

Saturday, July 18th:

Interminable meetings between representatives of the CNT (Anarcho-Syndicalist union),  the police,  Assault guards, Guardia Civil and regional government are deadlocked by President Lluís Companys's refusal to arm workers.

Meanwhile, anarchist militants detain a Guardia Civil courier; he is carrying precise military orders — the uprising is to begin at 5am on Sunday, July 19th.

Barricades go up on Paral·lel, Les Rambles and in Sants, Hostafrancs, Poble Nou and Sant Andreu, and in neighbouring Sant Adrìa de Besos.

Sunday, July 19th:

In the early hours of July 19th, 1936, Major José López Amor arrests his seniors and assembles the Badajoz infantry regiment based in the Bruc barracks in Pedralbes and tells them that their orders are to put down an anarchist insurrection.

3.15am: The 400 strong column of infantry, accompanied by a cavalry squad and a rabble of armed Falangists, leave the barracks and proceed along Avinguda Diagonal toward the city centre where they intend to link up with other troops converging on Plaça Catalunya and the Generalitat (Regional Government HQ).

5am: Artillery, cavalry and infantry units across the city are on the move…factory sirens in Poble Nou and Poble Sec sound the alarm…armed priests, together with Falangists from among their congregations, take up positions in church towers… 

The forces of Repression and Revolution are now engaged…

Armed workers and neighbours join with loyal members of the Assault Guards to halt the Army's advance on the centre.

On Carrer Diputació, a mixed group of civilians and Assault Guards, having overcome an artillery unit, train their guns on a cavalry squadron (from the barracks on Carrer de Lepanto) riding down Passeig de Sant Joan, to prevent them from linking up with mountain troops and more artillery units approaching Plaça Tetuan.

The photographer, Agustí Centelles was on hand to create a record of the event.

If you recognise the above image then you are probably more familiar with this cropped version of the same photograph:

Monday, July 20th:

During the same photo shoot — yes, sorry to disappoint, but the photo was staged (on July, 20th) the day following the events depicted  — Centelles took more photos of the same asalto (Assault Guard) pictured above using the dead horse as a firing position.

This image was used to great effect in the opening title sequence for UK Granada TV's brilliant, and unsurpassed, 1983 documentary series, The Spanish Civil War.

Here's an image showing the precise location of the photo in Dreta de l'Eixample on the corner of Carrer de la Diputació and Carrer de Roger de Flor:

Photo credit: I have mislaid the copyright information for this image. If you are the copyright owner, or know who the copyright owner may be, then do please contact me.


Pin showing location of the photo site.

You'll find this site in Dreta de l'Eixample at the intersection of Carrer de la Diputació and Carrer de Roger de Flor.

If you want to visit the site, it's fairly straightforward — from Plaça Catalunya take the 55 Bus to Plaça Tetuan. The bus will set you down on the corner of Passeig de Sant Joan and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes from where it is a brief, five-minute stroll.

Nearest metro: Tetuan, L2 - Purple.

Enjoy exploring Barcelona's history

Lunch & Dinner

Simply Superb: Semproniana in Barcelona

19th October 2017


Situated in what used to be a publisher’s offices, Semproniana offers a relaxed ambience in which to enjoy excellent food. 

One of my all-round favourites — equally good for lunch and dinner. 

It’s also one of the family’s favourite spots and often our first choice restaurant when we feel a need for a family celebration.

I can never help smiling whenever I dine here. It’s that kind of place — quirky, arty, fun, and free of pretension.

Chicken and prunes and pinenuts as served as part of the menú diari at Semproniana.

Price for Lunch

The Menú de Migdia (Menú del Día or Menú Diari) costs 16,70€.

The Menú offers a choice of 5 first plates and 5 second plates, ​4 or 5 desserts or fruit, water or a glass of wine.

The Menú changes every day.

A lunch menu may offer a choice of:

  • Steamed vegetables en papillote
  • Chickpea stew with chorizo
  • Cream of sweet potato soup with cheese
  • Endive salad with cod and olives
  • Scrambled egg with mussels

Followed with a choice of:

  • Chicken with prunes and pine nuts
  • Grilled leg of pork with orange and aniseed
  • Oven cooked rabbit
  • Fish of the day
  • Roast beef with mustard mayonnaise
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Dreta de l'Eixample

The Heart of Modernista Architecture: La Dreta de l’Eixample in Barcelona

8th May 2017
Casa de Les Puntxes, Eixample Dreta, Barcelona
Map of La Dreta de l'Eixample

La Dreta de l'Eixample

Dreta de l'Eixample is where you’ll encounter more than 150 of the city's Modernista buildings. The area is sometimes referred to as the Quadrat d'Or — the Golden Square — because of the abundance and quality of the architecture here.

This is where Utopian engineer, Ildefons Cerdà's plan for an expanded city began to take physical form. The first buildings were constructed here during the 1850s at the junction of Consell de Cent and Roger de Llúria.

Passeig de Gràcia is host to Gaudí's La Pedrera and La Manzana de la Discordia the Block of Discord — where you'll encounter buildings by the three giants of Modernista architecture — Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch.

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Lunch at Palermo on Mallorca in Barcelona

11th November 2016

Barcelona's restaurants and bars offer a wide and wild variety of cuisines and creative dishes.

However, grazing on tapas and fine dining is both wearing on the wallet and bruising on the palate. There are times while out and about when you want something more substantial than a snack, something a little more ordinary — more home style than stylish. The kind of food the city’s bar-restaurants excel at.

Salmorejo as served at Palermo, Barcelona

Palermo is another favourite lunch spot. They offer a very good menú diari [menú del día] which regularly features traditional dishes such as codillo al horno (knuckle), estofado de vedella (veal stew) or estofado de ternera (beef stew) and, of course, paella on Thursdays. The menú includes a bottle of vino tinto (red table wine) or beer.

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Submarine in Barcelona

15th September 2015
Ictineo by Subirachs, Barcelona

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious sculptures in unexpected places.

Here’s a sculpture of a submarine by Josep Maria Subirachs in Dreta de l’Eixample at the junction of Avinguda Diagonal/Carrer Provença and Carrer de Girona.

The sculpture commemorates Narcís Monturiol’s invention of the first submarine, Ictineo II, powered by an engine.

Here’s a detail of the underside:

Ictineo, Subirachs3

The Inventor

Narcís Monturiol i Estarriol (b. 1819 — d. 1895) was a curious character, in all senses of the term. He was a Utopian communist and a friend of Ildefons Cerdà, the engineer who designed the Eixample.


The Artist

Josep Subirachs, who died last year, is the same artist responsible for the Passion Facade on the Sagrada Familia, and the large sculpture of inverted steps (Monument to President Macià) installed in Plaça Catalunya.

The nearby bar-restaurant, Morryssom, has a few prints by Subirachs in the downstairs bar.

Here’s a detail from the base of the sculpture:

Ictineo, Subirachs



Here’s a Wikipedia page in English about Ictineo II, the submarine featured above: HERE.

Here’s a Wikipedia page in English about Narcís Monturiol: HERE.

Here’s a Wikipedia page in English about Josep Maria Subirachs: HERE.

Here’s my Spotted by Locals write-up about Morryssom: HERE.

And, here’s a link to an interesting feature about submarines in Barcelona: HERE.

Enjoy discovering sculpture in Barcelona.

The Transition

Battlefields in Barcelona 2: Passeig de Sant Joan, February, 1976

5th August 2015
Los Grises in Passeig de Sant Joan, February 1976

The streets of Barcelona comprise a battlefield which has hosted, and continues to host, skirmishes and more enduring clashes between armed police and local people. 

The streets of Barcelona have seen fierce battles over issues such as workers’ rights, the all-pervasive influence of the Church, education, Republicanism, a Stalinist coup, representative democracy, national independence, workers’ self-management, property speculation, squatters’ rights, forced evictions and revolution.

The city’s layout has been largely informed by the needs of the army.

For example:

  • Via Laietana, was deliberately created to allow cavalry units to disperse hostile crowds forming outside the inner city walls.
  • Avinguda Diagonal was created to enable rapid access to the heart of the city by troops based in barracks in Gràcia and Pedralbes.
  • Parc Ciutadella was once the site of an enormous miltary citadel.
  • The castle on Montjuïc, was only handed to the city in 2008; until 1963 it was a prison run by the military to incarcerate and sometimes execute, dissidents.

1976: Los Grises on Passeig de Sant Joan

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6 Modernista Details in L’Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample, Barcelona

4th August 2015

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious architectural details in unexpected places.

You could be on a shopping expedition — the above entrada in L’Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample is adjacent to a Bon Preu supermarket — or out with friends — this magnificent entrance is just a few metres from the restaurant, Gresca — or just taking a stroll, and pass by a beautiful entrance.

Look — but don’t intrude

It’s difficult sometimes to not stick your nose in, take a gander and snap a few photos.

PLEASE DON’T — unless it’s a civic building, hotel or office building. The residents won’t like you for it, and the portera/o [concierge] will almost certainly hustle you out of the building  and call the police if you resist.

You could politely try asking the portera/o if you can take a few photos — some will oblige (while keeping a very close eye on you) but many won’t.

Instead, linger a little, savour the moment and walk on slowly by.

I am a frequent guest to this apartment building and enjoy the trust of both residents and the portero.

Film location

This apartment building has featured in a few movies, the most recent being, Mientras Duermes (While you sleep) although titled, Sleep Tight, in English — a creepy and coldly credible horror flick.


Lamp Carrer de Provença_Bill Sinclair


Here’s a close-up of the relief work adorning the walls:

Relief work, Carrer de Proveça, Barcelona —Bill Sinclair

Stair rail and newel:



Lift/Elevator Doors — showing ironwork, stained glass and woodwork:




Here are two photos of the interior window casements:

Window casement, Carrer de Provença, Barcelona–Bill Sinclair

Window casement 2, Carrer de Provença, Barcelona–Bill Sinclair.jpg


And here’s a snap of an interior window in the lift/elevator shaft:

Lift Window Carrer de Provença,Barcelona


Here are two photos of an apartment exterior door:


 Door detail, Carrer de Provença, Barcelona, Bill Sinclair

And, finally, a view of the entrance looking toward the exterior doors:


Enjoy Barcelona’s architecture.

Drinking water fountain on Diagonal in Barcelona

12th February 2015

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious and ornate public utilities in unexpected places.

Fountain at Diagonal:Corsega

Drinking water fountain at the junction of Avinguda Diagonal with Carrer Còrsega