Historical walks through the 20th century Barcelona  

Gòtic & Raval


Plaça de Sant Felip Neri was seriously damaged during the bombing raid by the Fascist air force in the city centre of Barcelona on January 30 1938, killing 210 people and wounding 125. Part of the Parish Church of Sant Felip Neri collapsed, causing the death of several children from the neighbourhood and the rest of Spain who had taken refuge there.

On January 30, the people of Barcelona awoke to the sound of air-raid sirens, which continued to be heard until noon. The first bombing raid began at 9 pm, the second at around 11.30. The bombs that the planes dropped were high power, with enormous destructive power, some weighing 250 kg. The site worst affected by these attacks was the old town, between the Catalan Parliament and Barcelona Cathedral. It is likely that the target was to destroy the Palau de la Generalitat, which was not, in fact, damaged.

One of the worst affected points was Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, where a shelter had been built under the sacristy of the church. Here, the Child Protection agency was in charge of a score or more children from the rest of Spain, who had come to the city as refugees, and a group of local children. The roof of this shelter looked as if it were made of stone, like the walls, but it was a false ceiling built from tiles and, when a shell hit it, the whole structure collapsed. Two other buildings in the square were also destroyed, and the church front was pockmarked by shrapnel from the bombs, as we can still see today. After the war, the Franco regime authorities spread the idea that these marks were the result of executions by firing squad carried out by the Republic.

After this bombing raid, in which more than 200 people were killed, attempts were made to negotiate in order to prevent such indiscriminate attacks. The Republican Government urged the British Government to persuade the international community to warn the fascist forces. As a result, there were practically no similar raids in February, but new and larger raids began again in March.

Address: Plaça de Sant Felip Neri || Coordinates: (LAT, LONG): 41.383389738, 2.175075940

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