Past and present of a popular promenade

vickylass By vickylass, 23rd Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2fe5p1lz/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Biography & Autobiography

How old the popular promenade known as the "Ramblas" in Barcelona is? Or why was it called with such a name?

Past and present of a popular promenade

“Ramblear” is a popular verb in Spanish that means to go down in the Ramblas of Barcelona to stroll and to observe people as they walk along in this promenade.
“Rambla” comes from the Arabic word “Ramla” which means sandy river bed. The rain falls down the mountains on these sandy river beds. Thus, the promenade that crossed Barcelona was called like this, because it was the longest street that crossed Barcelona.
It was at a time when Barcelona was not the big city that it became from the 19th Century till today.
Of the Ramblas, I keep some of my childhood memories as we lived in this 19th Century magnificent building (on photograph and on the right)
From the beginning till these days, the “Ramblas” have changed a great deal, but it's still the walk where one will go for a stroll starting from Cataluña Square in the core centre of the city to the docks.
One will observe locals and visitors walking along. One will hear the sound of varied animals that are for sale as pets in the stalls or buy plants and flowers in the next stalls. The “Ramblas” have always been a promenade for the poor and the rich alike. The rich went down in the “Ramblas” to show off their riches in opera evenings in its famous opera theatre which is close to another jewel -”La Boquería” food market.
However, on the site of this market which dates from the 18th Century was the Carmelita nuns convent known as St. Joseph, but as the urban plans went on, they decided to move the butchery shops inside in the convent orchard. The convent was set on fire by the liberals that were against religious buildings.
Afterwards it became this food market in the premise of the remains of the convent, but the real and popular market was at the back in the open air where farmers from near farmhouses set up their stalls to sell their produce. They did so, because being Barcelona a walled city, if they sold their produce outside of the walls they could save paying the municipal taxes.
Whatever, it's still a magnificent market to shop for varied fresh food, walking in the different aisles and admiring its stones that tell us countless stories.
There are serious historical researches that tell us that Christopher Columbus wasn't an Italian sailor from Genoa as we have been told, but he was a Catalan that many findings tell us that he was not either a poor and illiterate man, but an aristocrat and a cultured one. This as well as other findings may explain why his statue at the harbour of Barcelona is the tallest in the world and it was in Barcelona port where there was a replica of the ship that Columbus used in his travels to the New World. Unfortunately, this replica ship was destroyed and sunk in the sea by nationalists thinking that he had been to ask for assistance to the Queen of Castile to materialize his project.
It is a loss, because It looked pretty in the port and it was a joy for kids, like myself, to go inside to explore it as well as for the countless foreign visitors.

© Copyright Vicky Pino. November 23, 2015.


Tags

Columbus, Convent, Liberals, Market, Observe, Walk

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author avatar Retired
24th Nov 2015 (#)

been to barcelona many times..really great place

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