Barcelona: The Spanish Civil War Tour

I spent nine days in Barcelona this past April. This is the first of a few posts about that trip.

I began my second, full day in the city at the Plaça de Catalunya, which is the beginning and ending point of the Spanish Civil War walking tour. Nick Lloyd created the tour nearly a decade ago and offers it multiple times a week with the aid of his partner (whose name, I hate to admit, I’ve forgotten).

The Spanish Civil War walking tour traverses the Plaza and part of the area across the way in and around Las Ramblas covering various important locations and events of the era. You can read more about the tour at the official site.

All photos taken with my ZTE Z983 and edited on PSCC19.

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The tour begins with quick introductions at Café Zurich across from Plaça de Catalunya where the history lessons begin at the monument dedicated to Francesc Macià, president of the re-established Generalitat de Catalunya of 1931.

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Above is a pin promoting the Olimpiada Popular (People’s Olympiad) of 1936. The event was a response and protest against the official 1936 Summer Olympics hosted by Germany and the Third Reich. Thousands of athletes from 22 countries were set to compete under the watchful eyes of Catalans and journalists from all over the world on July 19th when war broke out on July 17th.

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A view of Las Ramblas as we walked over to…

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…the Hotel Continental! George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) stayed here multiple times during the civil war and included it in Homage To Catalonia.

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One of the many narrow streets around Las Ramblas.

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The Santa Maria del Pi church. The large, circular window is new as it was destroyed during the civil war.

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An art store across from the church.

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A box of matches featuring the logos of the CNT, Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, and the AIT, Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores.

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A combat helmet of the era.

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And a gas mask of the era!

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The remains of a case of a rocket-propelled grenade.

STRONG CONTENT WARNING for the next photo!

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Spanish Republicans published this image as part of its propaganda campaign against Francisco Franco and the Nationalists. The child in the image was killed in an air raid.

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First aid bandages.

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A  matchbook.

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A shaving kit.

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The above two photos are from the Plaça Sant Felip Neri. The façade of the church remains scarred by damage from the shrapnel of two bombs dropped onto the square during the war.

The sign outside the plaza (first photo) gives the details of the bombing: on January 30th, Italian fascists bombed Barcelona from 9am until 11:20am. The church in the plaza provided refuge to many children during the war and 20 of them died during the bombardment. Pro-Franco propaganda claimed that the damage to the building was the result of the slaughter of Catholic priests at the hands of anarchist firing squads.

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A copy of the New York Times from January 31st, 1938 with an article about the bombing.

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The Hotel Rivoli on Las Ramblas was once the headquarters of the POUM, Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista, which Orwell was a member of.

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This plaque is located on the Hotel Rivoli. It marks the date when POUM co-founder Andreu/Andrés Nin was kidnapped from the POUM’s office by pro-Stalinist Spanish Communists and disappeared, tortured and killed.

Orwell covers many of the events leading up to Nin’s capture in Homage to Catalonia and narrowly avoided being kidnapped by Stalinist forces himself.

The final set of photos are from the interior of the Bar Llibertària. The bar features numerous artifacts connected with the POUM and CNT.

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Above: “The Revolution Has Placed The Earth In Your Hands”

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Above: “Comrade! Work and fight for the revolution.”

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A pin of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade a.k.a. Lincoln Battalion, composed of hundreds of volunteers from the USA. The battalion was a member of the XV International Brigade, a brigade composed of foreign volunteers who fought alongside the antifascist/anti-Franco forces in Spain.

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A framed portrait of Buenaventura Durruti.

About Afroxander

Afroxander is the nom de guerre for writer/photographer Ivan Fernandez, based in Southern California. He currently writes for L.A. Taco and Gamecrate while studying at San Diego State University.
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