Sant Marti district of Barcelona - District 10

Sant Marti district of Barcelona - District 10

The Barcelona Sant Marti district has 10 neighbourhoods called 'barris' in the Catalan language. Popular neighbourhoods for tourists and  foreigners moving to Barcelona are the neighbourhoods of Vila Olímpica, Poblenou and Diagonal Mar in the Sant Marti district of Barcelona. 

Hotels in Sant Marti

The Hoxton, Poblenou
The Illulion Barcelona
Hotel Capri by Fraser

The 10 barrios in Sant Marti district

• El Camp de l'Arpa
• El Clot
• El Parc i la Llacuna del Poblenou -
Vila Olimpica del Poblenou 
El Poblenou
Diagonal Mar i el Front Marítim del Poblenou
• El Besòs i el Maresme
• Provençals del Poblenou
• Sant Martí de Provençals
• La Verneda i la Pau

Sant Martí  - Brief history and district profile  

Until quite recent times Sant Marti was the industrial center of Barcelona. It was known as the 'Catalan Manchester' beacuse of all the factories in the area. At the beginning of the 20th century the industrial revolution was in full swing in Barcelona and Spain and the Sant Marti district of Barcelona had the greatest concentration of factories in Catalonia, especially in the areas of Poblenou / Pueblo Nuevo which means 'new village" in Catalan and Spanish.

This industrial era lasted all the way until the end of the 20th century, when like many other areas of 20th century Barcelona, the 1992 Olympic games provided the incentive to make grand transformations and change.

Vila Olimpica Barcelona - hotel Arts and Torre Mapre

One of the Barcelona districts that changed the most for the Olympic games was Sant Marti and it was here that the Vila Olímpica, the Olympic Village, was built to house the Olympic athletes and Port Olimpic marina was built for the sailing events. 

The Barcelona Olympic games in Barcelona were outstanding and unique in many ways. Spain and Barcelona united to make the games magnificents and several elements of luck also shined on the games to make them one of the most successful games of modern Olympic history.

After of the collapse of old Soviet union 12 new countries, which were former Soviet republics competed in the games. It was also the first time all countries of the world were in the games in modern history making Barcelona's games the first Olympiad since 1972 that was not boycotted by any country.

Germany participated as a unified country for the first time since 1964 following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. South Africa was welcomed back into the Olympic parade for the first time in 32 years after the end of apartheid.

The iconic Nelson Mandela attended the games in Barcelona 1992 Olympics to see the first South African multiracial team take their place at the games. For 2 weeks in the summer of 1992 you could not find a more united world and perhaps not since.

Other memorable moments which made the Olymlics special were the U.S. basketball 'Dream Team' winning the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics. This was the first U.S. Olympic team to include professional NBA stars. Other big names that stayed here were Oscar De La Hoya. 

Opera stars at the Olympic Stadium at Montjuic included Placido Domingo and Jose Carerras and perhaps the best remembered performance and olympic anthem was the song "Barcelona' written for the Barcelona Olympics by Freddie Mercury and performed by himself and famous Catalan/Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballe to promote the games. Sadly Freddy Mercury died before the Olympic games in Barcelona and could not perform live at the games.

For Barcelona and for Catalonia and Spain, the games were an amazing success and pointed the way to international fame and impressive economic growth for the new era of Spain which only transitioned to democracy from Franco's dictatorship in 1978. 

For the Sant Marti district the games was the seed of an amazing transformation of entire area of Barcelona that had been in decline for decades. The new beach front was built - before there had onlly been slums and shanty towns on the coastal area. Very diffiernet from today's cool urban beaches, beach bars and hotels.

Barcelona beaches in Sant Marti area

Also since the 92 Olympics many of the old factories have been remodeled or replaced with modern residential areas like Diagonal Mar, shopping centres, parks and high-tech business areas. To create the link between the industrial past and technological future many old chimneys have been preserved and some of the old factories have been restored and converted into civic centres and universities. Today
22 business area
the Sant Marti area of Barcelona is still transforming itself. One of the biggest catalyst for change was the 22@ business area, which was a vision to create a Barcelona 'Silicon Valley' hi-tech neighbourhood in Sant Marti This has been a huge success for the Sant Marti area and Barcelona, helping to make the city a center for IT and start-ups.

22@ business area was created in 2001 by Barcelona City Council and now houses many tech companies, hotels and residential areas. By 2010 an estimated 4,500 new companies had moved to the district. Of the 4,500 companies, 47.3% were new start-ups and 31% were technological or knowledge-based companies. 

The number of people working in Poblenou rose significantly with currently more than 56,000 new workers, half of them with university studies, and that number is predicted to reach 150,000. To meet the demand for housing new council housing, new facilities and green zones have been built in this area of Barcelona. 

As always some residents grumble about the good old days but for Sant Marti the good old days weren’t that great.  it was a semi derelict mixture of abandoned factories, old housing blocks, some dodgy neighbourhoods and slums and shanty towns so change was long overdue and welcome.

The spirit of the old Sant Marti is still very much intact. It was a industrious area based on a strong spirit of innovation during the industrial revolution. 

Now the spirit of innovation is just as strong and again, but the business is high technology and instead of housing for factory workers, modern housing blocks  for communications industry workers are spring up everywhere. So Sant Marti is thriving!  

Digaonal mar area of Barcelona

Sant Martí - Highlights and tourist attractions

Barcelona beaches 
Rambla del Poblenou  
Avenida Diagonal - tree lined with large pedestrian area
Torre Agbar - bullet shaped tower added to Barcelona's skyline
Glòries shopping mall 
Diagonal mar shopping mall 
Trams of Barcelona 
Diagonal Mar - new development of high rise housings and business centres
Parc del Forum - Convention and concert venue with bathing area  

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:18