El Raval

The sleek, shiny, white walls of the Museu d’Art Contemporani (MACBA) juxtapose the decrepit, ramshackle tenement buildings; Asian grocery stores sell herbs and spices next to what were once the most decadent brothels in Europe; and smoky, decades-old bars share dark, narrow streets with high-ceilinged art galleries showcasing video installations. The old-town barrio of El Raval is a traditional working-class neighbourhood in flux. Over the last decade it has been undergoing an enthusiastic urban renewal, led by the arrival of the MACBA. The barrio now even has its very own Rambla, a new pedestrian street called La Rambla del Raval. Not surprisingly, all of this has sparked a real-estate boom, with renovated old-fashioned flats now ...

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