Bunkers del Carmel

Bunkers del Carmel

Not even every city resident knows about this spectacular spot offering you to get the very best eyeful of the city.

High above the city of Barcelona, on top of the Turó de la Rovira hill in the district of El Carmel, a number of old underground military bunkers — Bunkers del Carmel — can be found.

The bunker was built in 1937 right in the midst of the Spanish Civil War and it was the heart of the city defense and the main bunker of Barcelona of that time.

When Franco came to power and the Civil War was over, the guns stored there were withdrawn, but the bunkers remained. Due to many problems among the social classes and extreme poverty, which was experienced in Barcelona under the Franco regime, bunkers became a sort of housing and shelter for a number of locals. During the 40s and 50s the bunkers became somewhat of a shanty town, known as the Cannons neighborhood, and toward the end of the 50s they provided shelter for 7% of Barcelona’s population.

Preparing for the Olympic Games in 1992, the City Council decided to “clean up” the town and rehouse the Cannons neighborhood residents providing them with flats within the city.

The Turó de la Rovira hill and the Bunkers del Carmel were forgotten for most of the 1990s and 2000s. In 2011, however, the place was resuscitated due to a project between the Carmelite Agency and the MUHBA (Museum of History of Barcelona), when partially the bunkers were excavated and restored, and a small museum dedicated to the role of the bunkers during the Spanish Civil War and as housing for the local population was installed.

Today the Bunkers del Carmel are said to be one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets offering the most spectacular panoramic view over the city both during the daytime and at night. However, this place becomes more and more popular among tourists gathering here to have a picnic, listen to music and enjoy the sunset.