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Turó de la Rovira

One of the most beautiful viewpoints of Barcelona is located at Turó de la Rovira, a hill located at a height of 262 metres in the border between El Carmel and el Guinardó districts (in the north-west of the city).

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During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), an anti-aircraft battery was installed on top of the hill in order to protect Barcelona from the Fascist air raids. The Republic’s special aircraft defence department considered it ideal for that purpose, taking into account its 360 degrees panoramic view. A wide area could be covered from the hill, even though the port and the lower part of the city were too far away for effective fire without risk to citizens. Apart from firing platforms they built magazines, dormitories, a command post and soldiers and official quarters.

Once the war was over the Republican army disabled its pieces of artillery between 25th and 26th January 1939. However, the structures remained for some time in the places where they were left attracting visitors who climbed up the hill to look at them.

After the war, when the flow of immigrations resumed into a city with a chronic lack of housing, the abandoned military structures were used to build Els Canons, a neighbourhood of shanty dwellings. The neighbourhood came to comprise nearly 110 shanties and 600 inhabitants, and one of its main problems the lack of water supply. It is not surprising that after the installation in 1963 of a circular water tank belonging to the SGAB (Barcelona Water Company) on top of the Turó, someone found a way to connect an improvised fountain, which is still there today.

 

In Barcelona, the fight to eliminate shanty dwellings lasted until the beginning of the 1990’s, when all the people who lived in Els Canons for half century were relocated in new housing states.

 

Nowadays, the remains of the defence quarters and of the shanties are used for many people to go up and enjoy the most wonderful views of Barcelona, especially at sunset. Most of them are locals because it is not known for many tourists and even for people who live in other areas of the city.

 

If you want to enjoy a great view of this city, do not miss the chance of visiting the Turó de la Rovira. After that you can have some drinks in a nearby bar called Art Blau Barcelona which has a lovely terrace and, from there, you will almost touch Sagrada Familia or the AGBAR tower with your hands.

 

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