Rambla de Santa Mònica
In 1774, walls have been destroyed from “plaça del teatre” (theatre square) until the sea and in 1817, a fountain, dedicated to Hercules, mythical founder of the city, has been built and unfortunately destroyed at the end of the century.
The place has been restructured by the architect Falqués and actually, the fountain has been replaced by the statue of Frederic Soler (known as Serafí Pitarra), founder of the modern catalan theatre, work of the artist Querol. Since the place is located in front of the “Teatre Principal”, it has been named “plaça del teatre”.
Going down the rambla by the left side, you will arrive at
the escudellers street where, through the time, it was the street for potters in the Middle Ages, for hoteliers in the 18th century and the gathering of progressive french people in the middle of the 19th century. Actually it is full of restaurants, pubs and bars and at the end of the street, you will find the square dedicated to George Orwell where a surrealistic monument has been built by Leandre Cristòfol (1991).
Beside the theatre square, there is the Pompeu Fabra University and behind it, the square dedicated to the philosopher Joaquim Xirau. This part of the rambla still conserves some former building like:
- the house of the photographer Napoleón which has been recovered in 1992 for the Olympic Games and actually it is the site of the Columbus pelota courts.
- the building of Credit and Docks, built in 1882 by Elies Rogent, where you can spot not only some classic statues but also the Superman and the Star Wars Android ones and near to it, the wax museum built in 1973.
- the “Palau Marc” (Marc Palace), built by the architect Joan Soler Faneca for the famous businessman Francesc March, on which it still conserves its front of austere classicism dating from the end of the 18th century and used actually by the Department of Culture of the Generalitat (Autonomous Government of Catalonia).
- and the building of cannon iron foundry used actually by the military. Close to it, you will find the building of the “Govern Militar” (Military Headquarters) and the Josep Anselm Clavé street which will bring you to the church “Mare de Déu de la Mercè” (Church of Our Lady of Mercy).
Let’s back to the theatre square by going down on the right side of the rambla, you will find first the Teatre Principal. In 1568, Felipe II allowed the “Hospital de la Santa Creu” (Hospital of the Holy Cross) to build a theatre in Barcelona to maintain itself from its takings. In 1603, after ceding the land, a wooden theatre has been built and later, substituted by a more permanent construction which burnt in 1787.
Totally rebuilt, it welcomed for the first time in the country the italian opera and the theatre has been named as “Corral de Comèdies” (courtyard of plays), later as “Cases de l'Òpera” (opera houses) and after as “Teatre de la Santa Creu” (theatre of the Holy Cross). In 1847, it received an important renovation on which the front has a curled and tripartite form and adorned by 4 busts of past actors and actresses and renamed as Teatre Principal but its destiny made it suffer 2 more fire, one in 1924 and one in 1933.
Still going down, you will find the former convent of “Agustins Descalços” (barefoot Augustinian) (1626) converted actually in the Santa Monica Art Center, an art room of the Generalitat. Next to it, there is the church of Santa Mònica which conserves a worthy baroque cloister of imposing austerity.
Once at the end of the rambla, you have the “Drassanes” (old shipyards) which are the bigger and most important gothic civil buildings of the city. Built during the 13th and 14th century, they have been declared as public place after 1939 and actually some are:
- the building of the Maritime museum, built during the civil war (1936-1939) and opened in 1941
- the building of the Naval Sector of Catalonia (1792) which stands one part of the area previously occupied by the old shipyard barracks for the artillery service and subsequently demolished when they abandoned the site.
Also during the weekend, there are stands which sell handmade objects like jewelry, hat, candles...
Next, the “rambla de mar” (rambla of the sea).