“Raval”, comes from the Arabic “Rabad”, that means neighborhood. The Raval Quarter was the home of the hospitals and a cluster of convents in Barcelona but today the Raval Quarter has become a multicultural neighborhood. It is the home for people from all over the world and it mixes the modernity and the old “Barrio Chino” in the same streets! The Raval is limited by Las Ramblas and Carrer Pelai on the north side and the Ronda Sant Antoni, Ronda Sant Pere and the Paral•lel on the south side.
In the century XIV the Raval Quarter was an agricultural area, responsible for the supply of the city. The Sant Pau del Camp Monastery was the heart of the neighborhood,
around which a small Roman villa was constructed. Here they produced the food for the city of Barcelona but the Raval itself remained a small and poor area.
One century later, the Raval Quarter had more convents and hospitals, like the Old Hospital de la Santa Creu and also we see some textile factories with their workers’ houses throughout the network of narrow winding streets.
After several social- and industrial revolutions, the factories’ exodus began to empty the neighborhood. The Raval became a neighborhood with a high immigrant population where social problems were common, a center for prostitution and vandalism.
From 1990 onwards, the Barcelona city hall started to improve the living conditions and built streets like La Rambla del Raval and they opened the Barcelona Contemporary Cultural Centre, the MACBA (Barcelona’s Contemporani Art Museum), the Santa Monica Art Centre and the Marítim Drassanes Reials Museum. These initiatives have given the neighborhood new prestige while it maintained the multicultural atmosphere and provided the Raval with a wide range of restaurants and bars that make the district an attractive location for the night life activities.