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El Raval (from arrabal, meaning "suburb" or "slum") is the area to the west of La Rambla, on the right as you walk toward the port. Originally a rough quarter outside the second set of city walls that ran down the left side of La Rambla, El Raval used to be notorious for its Barri Xinès (or Barrio Chino) red-light district, the lurid attractions of which are known to have fascinated
the young Pablo Picasso.
Gypsies, acrobats, prostitutes, and saltimbanques (clowns and circus performers) who made this area their home soon found immortality in the many canvases Picasso painted of them during his Blue Period. It was the ladies of the night on Carrer Avinyó, not far from the Barri Xinès, who inspired one of the 20th-century’s most famous paintings, Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, an important milestone on the road to Cubism. Not bad for a city slum.
No city in Europe has an ancient quarter to rival Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic in its historic atmosphere and the sheer density of its monumental...
The textile and waterfront neighborhoods are home to some of the city’s most iconic buildings, from the Gothic 14th-century basilica of Santa...