Raval is an area of Barcelona near the city center, as a nick name most locals call it Ravalkistan due to the foreign immigration leaving in the neighbourhood. The truth is that the area has changed a lot in the past years and it is no longer the Ravalkistan we used to know with streets that looked very different from the Barcelona we are used to see.
A new cultural movement called Raval Cultural has taken the streets and has a very interesting activities, associations and artists that have established in the area.
Activities and Culture in Raval
Freedonia: it is a cultural association, there are shows every week. They have courses on different topics, arts, theatre etc...
Mucha Fibra: is an association that their aim is to strengthen activities around fashion and design. They started in 2008 and they have an atelier where they rent sewing machines and also working space.
Almazen: is an association called the city of words that started in 1998 that came from a project of the same name in that converted Raval into a visual poem created by artists and neighbours. They are a space with unconventional arts program such as experimental cinema, storytelling, microcircus and contemporary clown that makes almazen a reference internationally.
Theatres and book shops in Raval
Raval is full of culture everywhere, starting with theaters such as Café Teatre Llantiol and Sala Fenix that is full of art: doing courses to do art with recycled materials, they do art exhibitions, concerts and also theater shows for adults and children.
Raval has plenty of great bookshops to find all you could dream of, my favorite is Lletraferit, it is a book shop with a cafeteria and comfy sofas, can it be better than that?La central del Raval is another book shop with a wide variety of titles and it is specialized in humanities. Another jewel hidden in Raval is the bookshop La rosa de foc that specializes in historical and Revolutionary Barcelona.
Restaurants in Raval
It is not all cultural in activities and art but also gastronomical, that is my favorite part. One my pics in Raval is Las Fernandez, a very cosy restaurant with cuisine from the Bierzo, León. Cheapy food but great quality and nice dishes, you need to try it out! It is compulsory to book a table in advance. My recommendations are: papas don't preach and lacón with stuffed avocado grilled with cheese. I have been recommended Bar el Guixot for their great sandwiches and crêpes, but I yet have to try it out. Have you been there?
Interesting facts about Raval
I am in love with el Talller de Músics, a little musical academy found between carrer de requesens and carrer de la cendra. Most of the shops around the Taller de Músics have in their shutters musical graffiti like the ones below, great art!
Carrer de la cera -cera street- is famous because this is where rumba Catalana was born, la rumba Catalana is a musical style that developed in the gypsy community "Romani community" and came from flamenco, Cuban music and rock and roll
Another thing that surprised me during the tour around Raval it was th e house of Manuel Vazquez Montalban, I didn't know that he was born in El Raval in Barcelona, the neighborhood that was known as the Chinatown.