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The evolution from an industrial area into a high tech hub
Off the beaten tourist track, but well worth the visit, Poblenou is a neighbourhood undergoing a radical transformation. In the 19th and 20th century, its location made it the ideal setting for the new factories springing up as a result of Spain's industrial revolution: just outside the city centre, where there was plenty of space, water and the country's first railway line right at hand. The Manchester Català, as it was known, became Spain's largest industrial area, but also a residential one: workers used to live right next to the factories, with the consequent impact on health and living conditions. However, as across Europe, from the 1980s, the decline of industry meant that the area fell into decay.
Faced with a depressed area in the heart of the city, during the 1990s, and following the success of the Olympic Village, built for the 1992 Games between Poblenou and the sea, the city council made the decision to convert the area into a high-tech hub. Today, where horny-handed labourers once toiled on the factory floor, nerdy geeks programme endless iterations of social media sites to amuse the developed world's feckless youth, and wacky-spectacled designers discuss the latest gallery opening over a latte in the swish bar of a five-star hotel. How times change.
Never fear: not all the neighbourhood's industrial heritage has been bulldozed away in the name of "civic progress": some old factories have been restored and turned into cultural centres, art spaces and universities. The result there is now an amazing contrast between the old industrial spaces, funky new architecture, sustainable living projects and vainglorious ego-tripping white elephants, without forgetting the still-vibrant social, cultural and civic life of the area's "original" inhabitants. Needless to say, groovy photo opportunities abound!
Check out our gallery for pictures!
MEETING POINT: at the exit (on street level) of the metro of Poble Nou (yelow line)
Every day except Sunday from 10 to 2 or from 4 to 8
€26 per person for groups of 4 and more. For groups of less then four: €104 in total. A private tour is available on request; for prices, contact us!
Whenever possible we combine separate smaller groups to form groups of 4.
Please phone during office hours or e-mail us as soon as possible- tours need to be booked in advance ; last minute bookings are not always possible. The groups are limited to a maximum of ten. The tour can be given in English, Dutch , Spanish, French, Italian and German.