Historical walks through the 20th century Barcelona  

Gòtic & Raval


Barcelona City Hall is, with the Palau de la Generalitat (Government of Catalonia Palace), one of the historic buildings in the Catalan capital that have witnessed most episodes in the city’s history. On 14 April 1931, for example, Lluís Companys took possession of the post of mayor and proclaimed the Republic from the balcony of the Barcelona City Council building. Nearly fifty years later, on 19 April 1979, Narcís Serra, of the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC), was appointed as the first mayor elected democratically since 1939.

The municipal elections called for 12 April 1931 turned into a plebiscite between the Republic and the monarchy. The results were made public on April 14, with the opposition proclaimed winners. In Barcelona, Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) won a majority. On April 14, Lluís Companys took possession of the mayorship and proclaimed the Republic in Catalonia from the balcony of the City Hall, raising the republican flag. As news of this spread, euphoria broke out everywhere, and celebrations took place all over the city. The proclamation of the Republic was so joyfully welcomed because it represented the hope of a new, fairer and more modern Spain. Meanwhile, King Alfonso XIII went into voluntary exile.

The first municipal elections since the Civil War took place on 4 April 1979. In Barcelona, they were won by the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC), led by Narcís Serra. On April 19, Serra took possession of the mayorship, after which the president of the Catalan government presented the emblems of authority to the first democratically elected mayor of Barcelona since 1939. The strategic objectives of Serra’s municipal authority was, firstly, to balance the city’s finances, which had been seriously affected by misgovernment in recent years, and, secondly, to establish a new town planning model and a new municipal charter adapted to the new legal order. Moreover, the incoming City Council was also faced by urgent needs that previous governments had not satisfied, such as the provision of social services, a local health care policy, parks and gardens and sports facilities.

Address: 1, Plaça de Sant Jaume || Coordinates: (LAT, LONG): 41.382512959, 2.177167993

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