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Medieval Sewers open to public in Barcelona
05 June 2019 @ 11:10

Barcelona's historic 19th-century sewers, whose foundations were laid in medieval times, are now open to the public for exploring. 

Originally the Aqueduct-based sewer system was introduced to Barcino, an ancient Roman colony because when it rained the whole city would flood. Much later, in 1364 when the city become known as Barcelona, medieval architects expanded on the sewers and ran water beneath La Rambla, the city’s most frequented street. 

It wasn’t until 1886 that Pere García Faria designed the first modern sewers in the city, intended to serve Eixample, the bourgeois proto-suburb being expanded outside the medieval walls. These, too, expanded on and connected with the sewers of previous eras. 

Today some of these tunnels are still in use. Most are inaccessible to the public, but thanks to a dedicated group of Barcelonian tour guides, the sewers are open for adventuring. A walk down history lane.

The best remnants are apparently located below Passeig San Joan, a strategic avenue which linked Gracia, a formerly independent village, with Parc de la Ciutadella, the site of the 1888 Universal Exhibition. Beneath these streets, a whole world opens up: The quiet flow of water in the dank sewers is illuminated by dim fluorescent lights while the city’s hustle and bustle continue on above.



The visits are organised by La Fabrica del Sol, an institution responsible for educating the public on Barcelona’s environmental activities. Small groups (no more than fourteen) are guided by locals who explain the evolution of the aquatic tunnels, their technical processes and engineering, as well as other curiosities. 

How to get there - Metro: the L4 and L5 Verdaguer. Buses: 6, 15, 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, 55. Visits must be booked through La Fabrica del Sol.

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