The bustling neighborhoods of Sants and Hostafrancs, and the legacy of their distinctive industrial past, sit just at the foot of Montjuïc, Barcelona’s paramount green space and recreation area, with Avenida Paral·lel, one of the city’s most vibrant thoroughfares, just next-door.
The modern-day composition of the Sants-Montjuïc district is actually an amalgamation of different settlements that sprung up along the foot of the mountainside over the course of centuries.
In 1897, Sants was definitively annexed by the city through a Royal Decree that also saw the incorporation of the neighborhoods of Sant Martí, Sant Andreu, Les Corts, Gràcia and Sant Gervasi. Previously, Sants was a small agricultural area, settled as early as the 11th century. It gradually transformed into a major industrial zone, thanks in part to the establishment of several major textile factories that churned out garments under the labels Vapor Vell (in Sants), Espanya Industrial (Hostafrancs), and Can Batlló (la Bordeta).
The 1929 Barcelona International Exposition brought a wave of change to the area, prompting the construction of fairgrounds, exhibit halls, and athletic facilities, as well as a whole host of public parks and gardens, among them the Botanic Gardens. Those developments were soon followed by significant museums like the Archeology Museum, the Ethnology Museum, the prestigious Fundació Joan Miró, the National Art Museum of Catalonia, as well as popular cultural and commercial venues like the Teatre Grec, the Mercat de les Flors, and the Poble Espanyol. With the Olympic Games of 1992, the area saw yet another major transformation, with the construction of the Olympic Ring, the Olympic Stadium and the Palau Sant Jordi, which today play host to scores of cultural and sporting events.
And one of the city’s most emblematic experiences is to be had on the premises as well, with the nighttime spectacle of the Magical Fountains of Monjtuïc, and their dancing waters and lights set against the gorgeously illuminated Palau Nacional.
The Avinguda Paral·lel was first developed in advance of the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition, and has since become one of the city’s most vibrant thoroughfares, spanning from the Port to the Fira Barcelona convention center. Also known as Catalonia’s “Broadway,” it became the epicenter for theatre, cabaret, and live music spectacles in the 20th century. And today it’s still home to the preserved Victoria, Condal and Apolo Theatres, as well as the Sala Barts, site of the former Spanish Theatre. The Avenue’s most iconic structure, El Molino, has hosted some of the world’s most prominent cabaret performers, bringing the area an extra dose of personality and pizzazz.
El Poble-sec, Hostafrancs, La Bordeta, La Font de la Guatlla, La Marina de Port, La Marina del Prat Vermell, Sants & Sants-Badal.