24 March 2022 0 Comentario

Sarrià – Sant Gervasi

The Sarria-Sant Gervasi district is one of the largest in Barcelona and includes part of Collserola,, the biggest open green space in the city. The district is made up of four former villages: Sarria (incorporated into Barcelona in 1921), Vallvidrera-Les Planes (incorporated into Sarrià in 1890) Sant Gervasi de Cassoles (incorporated into Barcelona in 1897) and part of the municipality of Santa Creu d’Olorda (incorporated into Sarrià in 1916).

You can find a series of morphologically diverse urban constructions throughout the district, from single-family houses with gardens - in the central and upper parts of the district - to large housing complexes and office buildings along the main streets. This is one of the most exclusive areas of Barcelona, boasting the city’s highest per capita income.


Vallvidrera, El Tibidabo & Les Planes: surrounded by greenery

▪   History & Architecture

This area is one of the most important green spaces in the metropolitan region, in that it includes open space, an ecological reserve, and places for sporting and leisure-time activities.  The neighborhood is located on a terrain in the Collserola Mountains and is formed by three different areas: Vallvidrera, Tibidabo and les Planes.

Vallvidrera became part of Sarrià in 1890 and its history is linked to the church of Santa Maria de Vallvidrera, built between 1540 and 1587.

Urban development began in the second half of 19th Century. The improvement in accessibility – the first road built in 1888, the ‘Tramway Blau’ in 1901, and the cable car in 1906 – allowed for the urban expansion that transformed this area into a vacation destination for Barcelona residents.

El Tibidabo is the highest peak in the Collserolla Mountains, and an important leisure-time space for the city since end of the 19th Century when the Arrabassada road was built in 1888.  Since then, a variety of facilities have been built: the Collserola amusement park, the Fabra Observatory (1902-1904) and the Sagrado Corazón church. In 1992, for the Olympic Games, a new telecommunication tower – designed by Norman Foster – was opened. 

Les Planes, which includes the core areas of Mas Sauró, Mas Guimbau and el Rectoret, is located on the north-western slope of the Collserola Mountain. At the beginning of the 20th Century, with its hotels and restaurants, this area became a popular vacation destination for Barcelonians. Its transformation into a humble neighborhood with no urban planning began in the second half of the 20th Century. In 1980, an urban renewal project was approved, but was not carried out until 1994.

▪   Points of Interest & Landmarks

  • Torre de Collserola: A telecommunication tower of contemporary design, by the well-known British architect Norman Foster
  • Villa Joana: The villa was originally a manor house from built in the 19th Century. In this place, Jacint Verdaguer a very representative poet from Catalan lieterature, was died in 1902    (Av Paral.lel, 51)

▪   Personal Opinions

Negative: It is in the outskirts of the central city. Just one train line. Connections with the city are notvery good

Positive: Large green spaces. Calm areas.

▪   Real Estate Perspective

Sarrià : wind, streams, houses & convents

▪   History & Architecture

The name ‘Sarrià’ might have originated as Sirriano, Sarius or Serius, and first appeared in property-sale documents in the year 986. The village of Sarrià dates back to the 13th-14th Centuries, however, human settlement in this area dates back to Roman times. During the Middle Ages, it is possible that the existing core maintained the Roman agrarian socio-economic structure. It has been demonstrated that the area of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi was a place where Roman villas were built.

In the Middle Ages, the urban core was located around the church, and the existing farmhouses outside the village formed a rural society whose economy was based on exploitation of the land. Over time, Sarrià transformed into an urban society of artisans and craftsmen that grew in importance with the proliferation of holiday homes in the 16th-17th Centuries. 

In the early 20th Century, Sarrià became one of the wealthiest and most populous areas in the region. In the 19th Century, there was a decline in farming as an industry, and the importance of the construction industry increased, as a result of Barcelona’s continued urban expansion. Its population, previously made up of peasants and artisans, began to consist mainly of major craftsmen.

In the final years of the 19th Century, the first attempt to incorporate Sarrià into Barcelona was rejected by the local population. In 1921, Barcelona City Council re-opened the case of Sarrià’s incorporation, which was finally passed as the result of a royal law which included the old municipality as part of Barcelona.  

During that time, various convents and religious schools were located in the area. Later, Sarriá became known as a place where wealthy people built mansions and moved to. Therefore, the this neighborhood has become notorious for its “modernist” architecture – of both domestic and religious buildings.

Sarrià today represents a coexistence of the old core, which can be easily recalled around the “Calle Mayor”, and the modern areas with large housing units, schools, and office buildings; and it has become one of the most exclusive parts of the city.

▪   Points of Interest & Landmarks

  • San Ignacio School:  Jesuit school for the Barcelona elite. The present modernist building was opened in 1895.
  • Casa Sastre i Marques: House built in 1905, designed by the Catalán modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch (C/ Vives i Tutó 25)
  • Sarrià Market: Built in 1911, on the Horta del Rectoret terrain, in the center of the neighborhood, including designs by architects Marcelli Coquillat and Arnau Calvet. (Passeig de la Reina Elisenda 12)

Negative: No subway to the internal areas of the neighborhood; Far from the city center. High prices in Real State.

Positive:  One of the most exclusive areas in the city.

▪   Real Estate Perspective

Las Tres Torres: from mansions to flats

▪   History & Architecture

Les Tres Torres, was an area on the outskirts of Sant Gervasi, near the border with the municipality of Sarrià. Between 1901 and 1903, by the initiative of the brothers Romaní and Climent Mas i Soldevila, urbanization on this plot began.

The brothers built three large homes (called “towers”), one for each one of them, hence giving the name to this neighborhood, replacing the previous name, Niña Casas, which was the one used until the beginning of the 20th Century.

Between 1906 and 1916, different railway stations were built, first that of Sarrià, and that of Les Planes in 1916.

Over that time, other “towers” and mansions were built, however, as was the case with many of the large homes in this area, were replaced by luxurious apartment buildings in the second half of the 20th Century.

Urban typology in the neighborhood can be characterized by a small old town center, and the later modern extensions with taller buildings. The area used to includes Casa Rabia, the stadium where the Espanyol Football Club used to compete, however, this was eventually demolished, and the land was re-developed with residential buildings.

▪   Points of Interest & Landmarks

  • Santa Teresa School: The earliest plans for this modernist building (built between 1888 and 1889) were by an unknown architect, who left the job in the hands of Antonio Gaudí in 1889. Gaudí could not change the initial plans because the foundations had already been built, but left his signature style in the interiors and on the facades.
  • Casa Muley-Afid:  A modernist building comissioned by the Moroccan Sultan Muley Afid and designed by the well-known Catalan architect, Josep Puig I Cadafalch in 1911. (Passeig Bonanova 55)

▪   Personal Opinions

Negative: High prices; current metro network does not extend well into the area; just one line of the FGC railway runs across the neighborhood.

Positive:  One of the most exclusive areas in the city; high quality apartments; pleasant areas.


Sant Gervasi-La Bonanova:  an old ‘bourgeois’ town

▪   History & Architecture

The rugged terrain comprised of hills, gullies, and ravines helps explain why this area has remained sparsely populated for many years, surrounding its tiny urban center. The name derives from a small rural church to the patron Sant Gervasi. The parish became a municipality in 1716, with its own authoritative body.

The history of this small town began in the mid-19th Century, forty years before its annexation by the municipality of Barcelona in 1897. In the beginning, this neighborhood was a parish with a series of isolated rural homes.

Urban growth began when Sant Gervasi became the summer vacation spot for the the Barcelonian bourgeoisie, which saw the construction of the first urban developments.

The second half of the nineteenth century was particularly active for land occupation through ancient manor houses, holiday villas, artisan homes, convents, religious schools, and small stockholders’ homes.

This is still present towards the top part of the neighborhood, known as La Bonanova, although many of the old mansions or "towers" (“mansions” in Catalan) have been replaced by blocks of luxury apartment complexes, helping make this area one of the city’s most exclusive.  

▪   Points of Interest & Landmarks

  • Cosmo Caixa: Museum of Science, situated in an old home for the blind, designed by architect Josep Doménech i Estapá (1904-1909). The building was restored in the 1980’s to house the Museum. In 2004, a second renewal project established the  present Cosmo Caixa museum there.
  • Santa Maria de Valldonzella Monastery: Cistercian nunnery founded in 1237. After changing locations several times, the monastery was established in the present building, designed by architect Bernabí Martorell, in 1913.
  • Casa Figueres: Known as Bellesguard, this house was designed by Antonio Gaudí and built between 1900 and 1909. (C/ Bellesguard, 16)

▪   Personal Opinions

Negative: High prices. Far from the city center and not very easy to get there walking.

Positive:  Good real state investment, Pleasant areas. It is one of the most exclusives and elegant areas of the city. Amazing modernist architecture.

Sant Gervasi-Galvany: originally a market and a park

▪   History & Architecture

This neighborhood is located on the eastern side of the old town of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, between the streets Avenida Diagonal and the Ronda del Mig. The current name was taken from the names of the new developments that began to occupy this area during the second half of the 19th Century, such as Camp de les Figueres, Turó de Modolell and Camp d'en Galvany.

The only name that remains now is Camp d'en Galvany, a plot of land that was developed by the owner, Josep Castelló I Galvany, in 1886. The name became popular when it was given to the municipal market.

This neighborhood is mostly residential with commercial activity and an important tertiary sector near the streets Avenida Diagonal and Calle Muntaner.

The former railroad that connected the municipalities of Sarrià and Barcelona, inaugurated in 1868, ran along what is now the street Via Augusta. The railroad was covered between 1925 and 1929 and now corresponds to the underground FGC railway.

The predominant building type in this neighborhood is the closed apartment blocks, but on both sides of Via Augusta, the model of isolated blocks of medium height is repeated. This is one of the most exclusives areas in Barcelona.

▪   Points of Interest & Landmarks

  • Galvany Market:  Construction began in 1868, but the final opening was in 1927. Built over a plot of land donated by the Count of Galvany, and deemed an architectural monument.
  • Turó Park: Park whose origins are in the early Twentieth Century, in 1912, when a small amusement park was opened in the gardens of the Bertrand-Girona family estate. The architect Nicolau Maria Rubio i Tudurí was commissioned to design the park, which was opened to the public in 1934.

▪   Personal Opinions

Negative: High prices.

Positive:  The neighborhood is a mix between, very active main streets, as Av Diagonal, Via Augusta or Travessera de Gracia, and more calmed internal areas. Good Shopping. An elegant part of the city.

El Putget i Farro : an old neighborhood of Sant Gervasi

▪   History & Architecture

In 1879 the municipality of Sant Gervasi was divided into three different neighborhoods: La Bonanova, El Putget and Lledó. There are reports of the existence of a chapel sometime in the 17th Century, however, the urbanization of this area began around 1870, when a series of towers (Catalan mansions) were built by the bourgeoisie, who moved out of Barcelona due to the poor urban conditions in the old city center.

Towards the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries, the urban development of El Putget was not unlike that of the rest of Sant Gervasi: characterized by the division of the rural properties, the construction of “towers” and summer mansions, and then, after the arrival of the train to Sarrià in 1863 and the metro to Lesseps in 1924, their transformation into permanent residences.

Few of these houses have managed to survive as most were replaced by apartment buildings during the second half of the 20th Century.

The opening of the Ronda del Mig, one of Barcelona's urban highways, created an almost impermeable urban barrier – for those traveling by foot and by car – between the high and low parts of the neighborhood. The current urban and transportation renewal projects between Grotto and Lesseps will help to make these areas more accessible.

▪   Points of Interest & Landmarks

  • Jardins del Turó del Putget: Park built in 1970 on the grounds of the Rafael Morato estate; he was a businessman involved in the production and commercialization of cane and beet sugar. The park is one of the neighborhood’s most important urban elements.
  • Plaza Lesseps: A public square and major intersection at the edge of the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi and Gràcia districts. Renovated in 2005, after Albert Vilaplana won an architectural competition to transform this urban space into a contemporary square, controlling and organizing the vehicle traffic and providing more areas for pedestrians.

▪   Personal Opinions

Negative: Take time to get to the upper areas of the neighborhood walking. Away from the urban activity of the city center, but can be a positive point depending on each person interests.

Positive:  is not the city center but is close to it and well connected by train an metro. Large parts of its area is occupied by the Putxet Park.