Follow the victories of Barcelona FC from its early days, learn about Barcelona during Franco’s reign, walk in the footsteps of famed film director Woody Allen and taste the city’s beloved ‘Potato Bomb’. Scroll through the last 100 years to explore Barcelona’s history…barcelona-main


1922 – Les Corts Stadium Built for Barcelona Football Club

Football is really taking off in Barcelona and the team – founded by Joan Gamper in 1899 – moves from strength to strength during the 1920s. You can hear the crowds roar at Barcelona FC’s brand new stadium, Camp de les Corts, which is set close to the west side of Avinguda Diagonal.

Les Corts stadium built for Barcelona FC in 1922.

1924 - Barcelona Metro Opens

Barcelona’s transport infrastructure is expanding rapidly and the first electrified railway line opens in 1924. Locals can now ride the underground Gran Metro line between Lesseps and Plaça de Catalunya.


1936 – Spanish Civil War

1936 sees political unrest spread throughout Spain during the civil war. Between 1936 and 1937 Barcelona is run by anarchists and the Marxist Unification Workers’ Party (POUM). This is a frightening time for citizens and many flee the city, while uniformity characterises the lives of those who remain.


1939 – Nationalist Forces Capture Barcelona

Following his success in many other parts of Spain, General Franco has captured Barcelona leaving Republicans disappointed. The arrival of Nationalists sparks a major turning point in both Catalonian and Spanish history. In the same year the Spanish Civil War comes to a close.



1940s– Media and Publishing Industries

With the Nationalists in power a period of change has begun. Public use of the Catalan language has been banned. The media and publishing industries are also seeing the effects; from the mid-1940s book publishing is allowed in Catalan but other media channels like television and radio remain in Spanish.


1945 onwards – Growing Population

The city is facing an influx of people, who are travelling to live here from the south of Spain and other areas of the world. New housing is developed to accommodate the growing population, much of which stands on former shanty towns.

boms-away1950s – Potato Bomb Invented

Since 1944 La Cova Fumada has been a firm favourite with locals, who head to the eatery for delicacies like fried fish. In the 1950s everyone is queuing up to try Maria Pla’s deep fried ‘Potato Bomb’, which is made with pork, potatoes, egg and breadcrumbs. It’s a taste sensation served with aioli or a spicy sauce.


1957 – Camp Nou Stadium Built

Fans of Barcelona Football Club have been delighted with wins across the Cup, the League, the Latin Cup, the Martini Rosso and the Eva Duarte (the Five Cups) in the 1950s. Their new stadium – Camp Nou – has a capacity of 90,000, meaning more fans can go to watch their favourite players.



1957 – New Mayor Announced

Josep Maria de Porcioles i Colomer is appointed mayor of the city of Barcelona, marking a period of urban expansion. The mayor receives new authority during his time in office under Franco’s regime, and he uses it to help house immigrants to the city.

1963 – Port Cable Car Reopens

The Civil War impacted upon many aspects of life in Barcelona, including the Port Cable Car, which was closed so that the city could be defended effectively. 1963 sees the cable car reopen to the public.




Barcelona is much more than pretty buildings and places. What I like the most about it is the way the bold architecture impacts the atmosphere of the city. I feel blessed every time I wander around Eixample or Gótico neighbourhoods and specially when admiring Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece: Sagrada Familia!

Bruno from

1977 – Passeig de Gracia Demonstration

A peaceful demonstration takes place – the largest Europe has ever seen – to mark the anniversary of the loss of independence in 1714. One and a half million people line the street of Passeig de Gracia to demand change under the banner of ‘Freedom, Amnesty and Autonomy Statute’.

1977 – Free Elections Held

With the restoration of autonomy, Barcelona is looking forward to holding free elections. Democracy finds a place in the city.

1984 – Gaudi Gains UNESCO World Heritage Status

Gaudi is now an icon of this beautiful city and his artworks and architecture adorn various sites. Casa Milà (La Pedrera), Park Güell and Palau Güell are all awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in1984, paying tribute to the works of this Spanish genius.


1986 – Barcelona Pavilion Reopens

After the International Exposition in 1930 Barcelona’s pavilion was deconstructed. In the 1980s it was reimagined, and in 1986 citizens of the city are once again able to visit this beautiful structure. It has been designed to replicate Mies van der Rohe’s original, using materials like glass, steel and different types of stone. The Pavilion will provide a space for exhibitions and presentations.

1992 – Barcelona Hosts Olympic Games

In the summer of 1992 Barcelona welcomes elite athletes from around the world to compete in the prestigious Olympic Games. Badminton, baseball and women’s judo are to feature for the first time and the likes of Michael Jordan and Linford Christie will put their skills to the test.

1992 – Beaches Open for Leisure

While the Olympic Games is on, Barcelona will open its beaches for leisure activities so that residents and visitors alike can relax on golden sands. Industry will slowly make way for fun.



1999 – Botanic Garden

A peaceful haven opens in 1999. Designed to conserve around 1,500 rare species, the Jardí Botànic de Barcelona nurtures plants from across the globe, from California’s warm coastline to the shrubs and bushes of South Africa. Set away from the busy centre, this is a tranquil space away from the hot city streets.


1999 – Barcelona Gains Award for Architecture

The prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) recognises the city of Barcelona by awarding it with a Royal Gold Medal. Acknowledging the creative talent of urban planners who have brought new life to the city, the award marks an unusual turn of events, since it is usually presented to individual architects.


2008 – Vicky Cristina Barcelona Filmed

Woody Allen has made a name for himself through films like Manhattan and Annie Hall. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is released in 2008 and was filmed at several of Barcelona’s landmark buildings such as Casa Mila, The Miro Museum and the restaurant Els Quatre Gats.


2015 – Centenary of Public Library Network

Catalonia’s public libraries are celebrating their 100 year anniversary. This Year of Libraries pays tribute to Barcelona’s cultural heritage. Notable libraries include the National Library of Catalonia, the Agusti Centelles Library and the Sagrada Familia-Josep M. Ainaud de Lasarte Library.


2015 – Ada Colau Elected Mayor

The first female mayor of Barcelona, anti-poverty activist Ada Colau, is elected in 2015. Having defeated Xavier Trias i Vidal de Llobatera, she is moving the city towards the left via the ‘indignados movement’.  She aims to increase job security and create more affordable housing.


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