Sant Andreu

Sant Andreu is a neighborhood where tourists do not usually roam though it is a one with a strong sense of identity and rich history. Let El Palauet Living Barcelona tell you more...    

Sant Andreu first sprang to life as a small rural community huddled around a tenth-century church dedicated to Saint Andrew (Sant Andreu in Catalan). The slow pace of life continued until the 19th Century when industrialization turned this quiet village outside Barcelona into a manufacturing powerhouse. The population rose dramatically and people swarmed from the countryside and other parts of Spain to find work in the textile factories which had recently been set up around the neighborhood. The first such factory was Vapor de Fil, founded in 1839 by Ferran Puig and by the mid-19th Century there were thirty factories just in the area of Sant Andreu.  The factory of Fabra I Coats is one of the most well-known, at its height it was the second most important cotton mill in Barcelona and created almost a workers colony in the neighborhood. Today the factory is a cultural center holding exhibitions on various art forms throughout the year.

As Sant Andreu grew so grew the need for more public services. In 1839 a cemetery was opened, in 1842 the Town Hall was erected, in 1862 Sant Andreu was connected to the railway line which led to Granollers, and between 1870 and 1890 the new church of Sant Andreu was finished and the main boulevard was opened. In 1897 Sant Andreu was officially annexed to the city of Barcelona, however, due to its working-class inhabitants, the barrio was always a hotbed of republican activism, refusing large scale building works and renovations. One of the few major works before the 1970s was Casa Bloc, a project started before the civil war aiming to create a new type of social housing and give workers a decent place to live. From the 1970s onwards some building work has taken place and the neighborhood can also now boast La Maquinista, the biggest shopping center in Catalonia. However, Sant Andreu has kept its original town center, keeping the village feel and enjoying a close sense of community even in the big city.