old images of Barcelona

The Rambles one hundred years ago

March 9th, 2010

The Barcelona Photographic Archive has just released a hundred or so photos taken between 1907 and 1908. They were taken by Frederic Ballell, one of the pioneers of Catalan photojournalism, who delighted in documenting the daily life of the city. Above a goat herder passes by Palau Moja, below a puppy seller. From La Rambla, hace un siglo

See also History of Les Rambles

Barceloneta fishing boats

May 16th, 2009


A remarkable photo of Barceloneta beach at the end of the 19th century. Compare with this painting by Picasso.

Shanty town in 1960s Barcelona

April 15th, 2009

This remarkable image is of the shanty town of El Carmel in the 1960s on what was then the outskirts of Barcelona. A number of these shacks have survived and been renovated into sturdier houses, sandwiched between high-rise blocks. Most of the El Carmel was developed in the 1960s and 1970s when immigrant workers flocked to the city and were forced to build housing for themselves. The area is today probably the most urbanistaically chaotic neighbourhood in the city.

Barceloneta Beach by Picasso

April 13th, 2009


Barceloneta Beach by Pablo Picasso, 1896 – Oil on canvas. Note the factories of Poble Nou and I think La Maquinista in the background. Picasso lived in the city as a young man between 1895 and 1904. It is also striking how bare the Catalan coast painted in the background was. We forget the massive reforestation in Spain since the 1960s as people no longer had to cut down trees for fuel.

  • Picasso in Barcelona (Bcn.net). He said of Barcelona “There is where it all began… There is where I understood how far I could go
  • ” Picasso thrived in the city, regarding it in times of sadness or nostalgia as his true home.” (Wikipedia)