As you explore the narrow streets of the old Barceloneta neighbourhood in Ciutat Vella, you'll discover the charm and atmosphere of a working-class district, which attracts many tourists to its beaches, fine restaurants and bars.
The church of Sant Miquel del Port and the renovated market take us back to the origins of a neighbourhood created to provide accommodation for the inhabitants of La Ribera who had lost their homes due to the construction of the citadel in the 18th century. Military engineers designed a network of streets on a triangular spit of land, known as the Illa de Maians, which had been reclaimed from the sea. The first homes to be built were two-storey workers' cottages, making it possible for the military to keep watch over the city from the citadel, and the grid layout of the streets enabled the troops to move around the neighbourhood easily. These houses were divided into separate flats during the 19th century to house the residents of the densely populated neighbourhood, giving rise to the famous "quarts de pis" (quarter apartments) measuring 28 m2, which can still be seen today.
Barceloneta is still imbued with the maritime atmosphere from the time when it was home to working-class people involved in trades associated with the sea, and where naval and metal industries were set up. The owners of public baths and small bars saw Barcelona's beachfront as the ideal space to set up premises. The 1992 Olympic Games led to a major clean up of the seafront and, since then, the old neighbourhood has gained beaches, sports complexes and renowned restaurants.
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