The 20th Century

At the end of the 19th Century and at the beginning of the 20th two new sociocultural movements appeared: the Modernism and Nuevocentism. The first left to the city one of its most representative art heritages like the Catalan Gothic and the integration of the wrought iron, the ceramics, the glass and the wood that expressed the aesthetic aspirations of the bourgeoisies. The second one, instead, was a return to the rationality and to the classicism.

In July, 1909, because of a strong economic recession aggravated by the military mobilization of the young citizens of Barcelona destined to the colonies of Morocco, there explodes a general strike that derives in a riot in some neighbourhoods of Barcelona.

The city suffers fires and plunders and the army suffocates the revolt through a very severe repression until in 1923, with the arrival of the Dictatorship of the General Primo de Rivera, finishes with the illusions of the Catalans.

In 1929 the second Universal Exhibition of Barcelona is celebrated in Montjuïc. The decision to choose this mountain to celebrate the contest meant both the urbanization of a vast area of Barcelona and the conquest of a place tied to the oppression of the city. At that time, Barcelona had a million inhabitants and the city begin important works of infrastructure, for instance La Plaça de Catalunya (The square of Catalonia) which would turn into a symbolic square in the city centre.

In 1931 the democracy is recovered and the Second Republic is proclaimed. La Plaça de Sant Jaume and La Rambla together with other significant places of the city vibrate with this new historical fact that tries to open the a new window to the history, but again The Spanish Civil War destroyed the Catalan’s illusions.

The fascist and cruel indiscriminate bombardments from the Italian-Spanish aviation destroyed both the sea-coast neighbourhoods and L’ Eixample and Barcelona became one of the most bombed cities of the world by modern aviation. The bombardments caused between 2500 and 3000 deaths plus thousands of injured people.

With the victory of the general Franco, the Dictatorship returned to the country and during the post-war period, the Barcelona’s town hall suffered a lack of power and totally submitted to the military power. The repression and the hunger took possession of the city and of the country, what motivated the immigration wave during the decade of the 50s, when more than 400 thousand people arrived in Barcelona and settled in its industrial areas.

The decade of the 60s was the decade of progress. Barcelona’s vitality was shown in multiple aspects: by considering the city as the perfect settlement to celebrate exhibitions and congresses since its economic structures had approach a European level.

After 40 years of lack of freedoms, fortunately, on April 3rd, 1979 the inhabitants of Barcelona could choose democratically their mayor, and therefore, acceding to improvements and transformations regarding urban development.

On October 17th, 1987, in Lausanne, the candidature to celebrate the Olympic Games in 1993 was awarded. With it, a new future begins for the city suffering a deep architectonic transformation: The city was opened to the sea and in the place where there existed the Iberian settlement called Barke-no, some of the best Olympic Games of the history culminated and projected to the world the picture of a new modern, opened and hospitable Barcelona.

The Fòrum de les Cultures in 2004 was last worldwide event celebrated in Barcelona. Although it did not have such a repercussion as the one the Olympic Games obtained, Barcelona’s name became a new brand which sales new open-air places, a modern center for conventions and an auditorium which has recovered one of the most forgotten urban areas of the city.