Barcelona is a city with a rich historical and cultural heritage, attracting millions of tourists every year. But under the surface of the city, there is a secret and fascinating world: underground spaces that are hidden under the streets and buildings.
These underground spaces, which include tunnels, cellars, cisterns and much more, have been used for various functions for centuries. In some cases these spaces were used to store water, in other cases they were used as shelters during wartime or even to hide from enemies.
Some of the most outstanding in the city of Barcelona are detailed below:
· Refugio 307: This shelter was built during the Spanish Civil War and was used as an air raid shelter for the Barcelona inhabitants. The shelter was excavated on a hill in the neighborhood of Poble Sec and has the capacity to house around 2,000 people. Today, Refuge 307 is a museum showing daily life during the Spanish Civil War and is a must for those interested in the city's history.
· Laberinto de Horta: This labyrinth of cypresses was built in the 18th century by the Marquis of Llupià I d'Abella as part of his private garden. The maze is made of cypress hedges and is a popular place to visit, especially for tourists and children. But what many people don't know is that under the labyrinth there is a system of tunnels and caves that were used as a refuge during the Spanish Civil War.
· Underground cisterns in Barcelona: These cisterns have been used for centuries to store water. One of the most famous cisterns is the Carrer del Bisbe cistern, which is located below the old Episcopal Palace. The cistern was built in the 14th century and it was used to store rainwater for many years. Today it is a popular place to visit and can be accessed from the Episcopal Palace.
· Casa Batlló underground cellar: The Casa Batlló is one of the masterpieces of the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi and is located in Passeig de Gràcia Barcelona. The underground cellar of Casa Batlló was built in 1906 and was used to store wine. The cellar features brick vaults and is decorated with ceramic tiles. Today the cellar is used for special events and guided tours.
· The tunnels that connect the Plaza del Rei with the Plaza Sant Jaume: These tunnels, undoubtedly one of Barcelona's best-kept secrets, were built in the 14th century to connect the Palacio Real Mayor, located in Plaza del Rei, with the Palace of the Generalitat, located in Plaza Sant Jaume. The tunnels were also used as a prison, and it is believed that many prisoners were imprisoned there during the Middle Ages.
· The tunnels that connect the Castle of Montjuïc with the port of Barcelona: These tunnels were built in the early 20th century as part of a complex defensive system to protect the city during the Spanish Civil War. The tunnels stretch for more than 600 meters and have several exits, including one leading to a small beach near the port. Another hidden gem in town. The tunnels are currently closed to the general public but can be accessed by guided tour. The visit begins at Montjuïc Castle, where visitors receive a detailed explanation of the tunnels' history and the role they played during the Spanish Civil War. Visitors are then taken through the tunnels and can view the various rooms and corridors that were used during the war. The visit also includes a stop at the small beach near the port, where visitors can enjoy the views and take some photographs.
It is important to note that for those interested in exploring Barcelona's underground spaces, there are various options available. In addition to the guided tours mentioned above, there are also companies that offer private tours of the city's underground spaces. These tours tend to be more expensive than regular guided tours, but they also offer a more personalized and detailed experience.
Barcelona and its underground secrets are a fascinating part of the history and heritage of the city. From the air raid shelters of the Spanish Civil War to the medieval cisterns, these spaces offer a unique window into the history and culture of the city. If you have the chance to visit Barcelona, don't miss the chance to explore these secret places and discover all they have to offer.