Sep 09, 2013
Sep 29, 2013
The name of this long avenue, leading from the Placa de Catalunya, Barcelona's central square, to the statue of Columbus on the seafront, comes from the Arabic ramla, meaning the dried-up bed of a seasonal river. Barcelona's 13th-century city wall followed the left bank of one such river that flowed from the Collserola Hillls. Convents, monasteries and the university were built on the opposite bank in the 16th century, outside the city wall, and are today remembered in the names of the five consecutive Ramblas that make up the great avenue. As time passed, the riverbed was gradually filled in. In the 1770's, the old city wall was torn down, grand houses began to be built, trees planted and La Rambla became a fashionable place along which to stroll. In 1835 an outbreak of anticlerical arson, and expropriations of church land just afterwards, swept away La Rambla's last convents.