More than 1,400 air-raid shelters were built in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to protect the population against Fascist bombing. The shelter in Plaça del Diamant, built by local residents, was 12 metres deep.
The air raid shelter in Plaça del Diamant, which was dug using picks and shovels, was one of the largest in the city. It was formed by a 250-metre network of tunnels that stretched under both the square and Carrer de les Guilleries, and had capacity for around 200 people. The walls were lined with brick and, as in most shelters built in Barcelona, the Catalan arch system was used in construction. The facilities included stone benches, lavatories and a small infirmary.
The shelter was rediscovered in 1992, when a power station was built and, thanks to the petition of local people was conserved an opened to the public with clear educational purposes. During rehabilitation work, the second entrance was also restored and a new lighting system was installed. Two glass skylights were also installed to provide light and ventilation. Today, Gràcia History Workshop organises guided tours of the shelter.
The square itself is an emblematic Civil War site. Besides housing the air raid shelter, its name was also used as the title for one of the best-known novels in contemporary Catalan literature: "La Plaça del Diamant" by Mercè Rodoreda. Set in the times of the Second Republic and the Civil War, the book is entitled The Time of the Doves in English.
Address: Plaça del Diamant || Coordinates: (LAT, LONG): 41.403796757, 2.155879781