Historical walks through the 20th century Barcelona  



During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), this mansion, which now forms part of the University of Barcelona Mundet Campus, was the provisional residence of Lluís Companys, President of the Catalan Government. The site was considered safe from Fascist air strikes due to its location far from the city centre.

The Palau de les Heures, a French-style castle with four round turrets with conical roofs, was built in 1898 at the behest of Josep Gallart, a Catalan industrialist who had made his fortune in Puerto Rico, by the architect August Font. The building and gardens were adorned by many sculptures, one of which, in the main front, represented a woman and child surrounded by an ivy plant, which gave the site its name (“heures” means “ivy” in Catalan).

When, on 19 July 1936, rebel soldiers marched into the street and the uprising was quashed by citizens and forces loyal to the Republic, the conservative Gallart family – the owners of the building, who supported the coup – left the city to go to Marseilles with special authorisation from the Catalan Government. The Generalitat then requisitioned the estate, which remained uninhabited for more than a year. Finally, in April 1938, the Government placed the house at the disposal of President Companys, who had been forced to leave his own home in Rambla de Catalunya when it was damaged during an air raid. A 53-metre tunnel was made under the mansion, with a concrete base and brick-lined walls, to serve as a shelter in case of aerial attack. However, the estate was not bombed, despite the machinations of its owner, Josep Gallart Jr., who sent a recent aerial photograph to the fascist army with a letter reporting that Companys had taken up residence there, and demanding that it should be bombed.

Companys lived between the Palau de la Generalitat and the Palau de les Heures until 23 January de 1939, when an official car collected him at the Vall d’Hebron mansion in the middle of the night to take him to Girona, from where he went into exile in France. The day after the entry of Franco forces to the city, Josep Gallart returned to Barcelona and took up residence in the mansion, sharing its accommodation with the new Francoist mayor and personal friend, Miguel Mateu. In 1952, the Gallart family left the estate forever, having sold it to the builder Jaume Rius. In 1958, Barcelona Provincial Council acquired the property, which was reformed, taking on its present appearance, in 1992.

Address: 171, Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron (Llars Mundet site) || Coordinates: (LAT, LONG): 41.436871941, 2.141231777

  • Periods:
  • Second Republic
  • Civil War
  • Francoism
  • Transition