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Flag of CataloniaBarcelona - Sant Gervasi And The Residential Area Of The City

Towards the beginning of the 1930´s and in particular after 1940, the upper classes slowly began moving out of the area of El Ensanche and having houses built in the upper districts of the city on the Western side. One of the first districts they moved to was Sant Gervasi, situated between Gracia and Turo Park. The main street in this district is Muntaner street and it runs from the Diagonal to the Plaça de la Bonanova. It is here that we find some of the Best shops, especially fashion shops, in the city, as well as bars, restaurants, company offices and fine buildings from times gone by. Next to the uppermost section of this street stands Monterols Park which connects Muntaner Street to Balmes Street.

This street also has many good quality shops and, here, too, there is a small park at the top of Putxet Hill. It was here that the people of Barcelona built their holiday homes at the beginning of the century. At the end of Balmes street there is the Passeig de Sant Gervasi which runs around the foot of Mount Tibidabo, past large mansions and gardens as far as the Plaça de la Bonanova. Sant Gervasi also has another large street, known as the Via Augusta, which winds its way from the Diagonal to Sarria. It is another street that is important because of its shops and businesses. The same can be said of the Diagonal itself, especially in the lower part, where it runs into the Plaça de Francesc Macia. The cream of Barcelona society can be found in the many bars hereabouts.

The city's residential area stretches out to the West of Sant Gervasi to the area around Turó Park, La Bonanove, Sarriá and Pedralbes. To the south runs the Diagonal, and to the North the Passeig de La Bonanova and the Passeig de la Reina Elisenda. This is the cleanest area of Barcelona since there are no factories to pollute the air, and consequently has become the area preferred by the old and new Bourgeoisie. Here we can still find some older parts, such as Sarria, which still has its typical square, small streets with low houses and even some with gardens, as well its other small squares. Nevertheless, most of this area has been recently built by the main architects of the last forty years, including Coderch de Sentmenat, Oriol Bohigas, Mitjans, Ricard Bofill and A.Bonet. In many cases, the block of luxury flats are separated by gardens and are located in tree-lined avenues that are more or less tranquil.

A visit should be made, for example, to the streets in the district of La Bonanova (which lies above the avenue of the same name), those in Sarria, the ones in the area of Turo Park and, above all, those streets in Pedralbes. From the Plaça de Frances Macia, and continuing along the Diagonal, we pass the University where a visit could, perhaps, be made to the School of Architecture. The extension to this building was the work of Coderch de Sentmenat, the Best Catalan architect of late. To the right stands the Royal Palace of Pedralbes with its sumptuous halls, 18C wall paintings and an important art collection. Almost opposite is the home of Barcelona Football Club (Popularly known as "el Barça") with its Camp Nou stadium.

In the Avinguda de Pedralbes can be seen, to the left, the Güell Estate with its wall, gates and two pavilions by Gaudí, and on the right hand side there is an important tennis club. At the end of this avenue stands the 14C Monastery of Pedralbes. With its church, convent, beautiful cloister, paintings by Ferrer Bassa in the Chapel of Sant Miquel, and gardens, this is perhaps one of the finest monuments in the city. Those areas that were not developed in their day are being done so now in an attempt to create new parks, avenues and buildings of the first order.

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