SANT GERVASI-LA BONANOVA: AN OLD ‘BOURGEOIS’ TOWN
The rugged terrain comprised of hills, gullies, and ravines helps explain why this area has remained sparsely populated for many years, surrounding its tiny urban center. The name derives from a small rural church to the patron Sant Gervasi. The parish became a municipality in 1716, with its own authoritative body.
The history of this small town began in the mid-19th century, forty years before its annexation by the municipality of Barcelona in 1897. In the beginning, this neighborhood was a parish with a series of isolated rural homes.
Urban growth began when Sant Gervasi became the summer vacation spot for the Barcelonian bourgeoisie, which saw the construction of the first urban developments.
The second half of the 19th century was particularly active for land occupation through ancient manor houses, holiday villas, artisan homes, convents, religious schools, and small stockholders’ homes.
This is still present towards the top part of the neighborhood, known as La Bonanova, although many of the old mansions or "towers" (“mansions” in Catalan) have been replaced by blocks of luxury apartment complexes, helping make this area one of the city’s most exclusive.
Points of Interest & Landmarks
- CosmoCaixa: museum of Science, situated in an old home for the blind, designed by architect Josep Doménech i Estapá (1904-1909). The building was restored in the 1980’s to house the Museum. In 2004, a second renewal project established the present CosmoCaixa museum there. (C/ Isaac Newton 26)
- Casa Figueres: Known as Bellesguard, this house was designed by Antonio Gaudí and built between 1900 and 1909. (C/ Bellesguard 16)
- Santa Maria de Valldonzella Monastery: Cistercian nunnery founded in 1237. After changing locations several times, the monastery was established in the present building, designed by architect Bernardí Martorell, in 1913. (C/ del Císter 41)