The Civil War in Barcelona between 1936 until 1939 left Barcelona devasted because of the bombs. Spain became a trial and error location for the Second World War and civilians and cities were bombarded indiscriminately. This is the beginning of the shelter construction in the city, nowadays some of them still remain untouched, such us the one in Poble Sec, called refuge 307.
Civil War in Barcelona
We need to start with a bit of history, Barcelona was the first city that was bombarded systematically against the population during the Spanish Civil War for the german and Italian army. Some experts say that it was a trial and error for the Second World War. What is certain is that the population moved so fast in this situation, they had to find a solution and communities gather in their neighbourhoods to built refuges.
The Government of Catalonia at that time requested a young engineer called Ramon Perera to built a system that could allow the population to shelter from the attacks.
The most effective solution that Perera found was to be in the underground, so they started to built anti-aircraft refuges. Those refuges were accessible from the street or from their own houses. The anti-aircraft refuges that they built, where very strong constructions that had zig-zag entrances that were used to protect people from the grapshot. At the time, people were a bit reluctant that these constructions would stand, but the community of architects nowadays consider them to be very advanced for their time.
Civil War shelters in Barcelona
In Barcelona around 1400 refuges were built, thanks to the collaboration of the population, men and women helped in building this shelters that would save thousands of civilians during the bombing. Refuge 307 in Poble Sec is one of those still standing and it is very well preserved right at the bottom on Montjuic mountain.
The population didn't have enough time to anticipate the bombings, so they only had one choice, to built constructions to protect themselves near their houses, so as soon as the bombings start they could seek shelter.
The city also put in place some other techniques as a passive defence, they were controlling the coast, observing if the enemy was coming from the sea or the sky. People built refuges but there were also constructions at that time that were used as refuges such as the tunnels of the underground, the train in Sarrià. My grandma always explains that when she was little, she was 2 years old when the war started, she remember her mum taking her to the underground to protect themselves from the bombs.
Nowadays, you can still visit civil war shelters, the most famous one is the 307 that has 3 entrances and 200 metres of tunnel and you can even see a fountain, the children's room, the infirmary etc... The refuge at Plaça del Diamant in Gràcia could host up to 200 people and it is located 12 metres under. Last but not least, the refuge in placeta Macià in Sant Adrià del Besòs that had a capacity for 100 people, has two galleries connected with two acceses.
307 Refuge in Barcelona
Muhba 307 Refuge in Poble Sec is one of the bomb shelters that was built during Civil War in Spain to protect the population from bombings. Thanks to the efforts of the population, Barcelona had around 1000 bomb shelters that were excavated to protect people from the indiscriminate bombing.
Everyone took part on the construction of shelters, a great example of passive defence where the Republican Army, the City Council, people of Barcelona and Generalitat were all together to protect civilians from the bombings.This shelter is one of the biggest ones in Barcelona, it has a capacity of 2000 people, the shelter has three entrances and the tunnel is 200m long and between 1, 5 and 2m wide. The shelter has different rooms, toilets and even a natural water fountain, one of the advantages of building the place right in the mountain. It is a memorial of the struggle of people in Barcelona to survive and face difficult situations by gathering together and finding solutions.
The tunnel is now 200m long but the initial plan was to build a shelter of 400m that could refuge around 2000 people. During the visit, we were able to observe how the shelter was used for different purposes: mushroom farm, a house, a glass factory etc...
The bloodiest bombardment that Barcelona suffered during the Civil War began on 16th March in 1938. During three days Barcelona was bombarding, leaving 1000 people either killed or injured. When the bombing alarm went off in the city everyone ran to the nearest shelter, they knew they had few minutes until the bombs started. For that day, the population didn't know that instead of being in the shelter for a couple of hours they would spent there three days waiting to see what the situation was after they came out from the shelter.
There were strict rules in the shelter, people could not talk about religion, no shouting and no negative thinking to avoid chaos. In refuge 307 they even had a couple of hours of light in the shelter and water that came from the mountain.If you want to visit the refuge my recommendation is to book in advance, the only day you can show up with no reservation is on Sunday, but there are only three tours available:10.30, 11.30 and 12.30.
You can get there by public transport, gt the underground L2 or L3 and stop at Paral·lel and then you need to walk until the refuge. You can take the bus as well, these lines go up there: 20, 21, 24, 36, 57, 64, 91, 121 and 157
From Monday to Saturday: only open to groups with advance reservations.
Limited number of places available. We urge visitors to reserve in advance.
Closed on public holidays
Nou de la Rambla, 175
Tel. 93 256 21 00
Fax. 93 268 04 54