During the Civil War, anti-aircraft batteries were installed on the top of Turó de la Rovira hill, which overlooks much of Barcelona, to protect the people against bombing by the Italian and German aviation that supported the Francoist army.
During the Civil War (1936-1939), Barcelona was bombed on 194 occasions, several times by Francoist ships, but mostly by Italian and German planes, which supported the military uprising. Hitler and Mussolini used the conflict in Spain to test their weaponry with a view to the start of a new world war. The objective of these bombings was not only to destroy weapons factories and infrastructure, but also to demoralise and spread fear amongst the civil population in the rearguard.
In 1937, the Republican Government set up several bodies to coordinate air raid defences. Under the supervision of DECA, the Special Defence Against Aircraft, anti-air raid batteries were built on Turó de la Rovira hill to combat attacks by planes from Majorca. The hill, which stood 262 metres above sea level, was considered the best strategic point in the city for the installation of these defences. Seven batteries were built, along with facilities for officers and men: dormitories, a kitchen, and showers. The cannons used were Vickers 105 mm guns, which had a maximum range of 13,400 metres. In truth, these batteries were not particularly effective. Too far from the coast from which the airplanes arrived, they mainly played a dissuasive role.
After the war, in the mid-1940s, the site occupied by these batteries became one of the main centres of informal housing, with up to 110 shanties built here to house around 600 people who had come to Barcelona to seek work in Catalan industry.
The History Museum of Barcelona (MUHBA) placed information panels in the area to highlight the different historical episodes of the hill and renovated the battery's command building to house the exhibition "Barcelona to the limit" to show how the city lived under the bombs during the war and how it was transformed in the after-war period. For further information, please visit MUHBA's website.
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