Barcelona is an amazing city but one of the things we love most about it is how it takes care of its past. Barcelona gives you experiences such as visiting some of its bomb shelters.
Hidden under the surface of Barcelona lie many remains of the city’s history. Including about 1,400 bomb shelters built during the Civil War.
Barcelona was the first city systematically bombed during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) because of its strategic position, Barcelona was the target for the attacks made by the Italian Fascist air force, which collaborated with the revolutionary forces that were fighting against the Republic. The city was one of the first places where non-military targets were bombed, attacking the civilian population. Madrid and Gernika were also brutally bombed, but while these two cities were near the front-line fighting, Barcelona formed the rearguard. Fortunately many residents of Barcelona survived thanks to the existence of the bomb shelters, true places of refuge while the city was bombed from the sky.
Prior to the bombings, the city council made the citizens aware of the threat and orders were given to build 30 air-raid shelters , which would not be sufficient for even 5% of the population.
On 13 February, 1937, Barcelona underwent the first of the 192 attacks and when everyone realised that there were not enough shelters they began to build many more that were gradually registered. Resources were scarce and the strongest people were away fighting on the front, which meant it was mostly elderly people, women and children who were responsible for building the underground tunnels.
The air raid shelters were located a few meters underground and could be accessed from the staircase of a block or from the street. They resisted the force of the bombs and its entrances were designed to protect the blast of shrapnel. One of the things that we find most interesting in this type of construction is they were carried out with the cooperation of the entire population.
Air-raid Shelters possible to visit today in Barcelona :
The 307 shelter in Poble Sec. It is at the foot of the mountain of Montjuïc and it is surprising because it is one of the largest shelters in Barcelona. It had a capacity for 2000 people. For years it was restored and now you can visit it.
In 1992, due to some building work being carried out at the time, the air-raid shelter was discovered underneath Plaza Diamant,one of the beautiful squares in the popular district of Gràcia. Built twelve metres below the surface by local residents during the Spanish Civil War, the shelter protected over 300 people during the numerous attacks on the industrial area of Gràcia at the time, full of factories which were the main target of the attacking planes.
The shelter of the Plaza of the Revolution is in the same vila de Gracia. You can visit a part of the shelter that consists of a gallery and two nursing rooms, among other parts or resources of the place.
Palau de les Heures shelter is presented in a perfect condition. It is the refuge in which Lluís Companys, the president of the Generalitat de Catalunya at that time was protected.
Do not miss the opportunity to get closer to the air-raid shelters of Barcelona.
We love Barcelona. We love Catalonia. We want you to fall in love with it too.