Avinguda Diagonal, Barcelona

Avinguda Diagonal, Barcelona

Avinguda Diagonal is the name of one of Barcelona's most important avenues. It cuts the city in two, diagonally from west to east, hence the name.

Location

It was originally projected by engineer and urban planner Ildefons Cerdà as one of the city's wide avenues, which along with Avinguda Meridiana would cut the rationalist grid he designed for l'Eixample. Both would meet at Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, which Cerdà envisioned as the new city centre. However, Plaça Catalunya, occupying a more privileged position in the urban area would finally become the centre.

The avenue starts in the Sant Martí district, next to Ronda del Litoral, bordering Sant Adrià de Besòs, and crosses the city finally meeting the Lleida-Madrid highway and Ronda de Dalt, by Esplugues de Llobregat, in Les Corts.

It's consistently 50 m. wide and about 11 km. long.

History

Ildefons Cerdà's so-called Pla Cerdà wasn't totally successful in transforming Barcelona's urban reality, as only parts of it were finally approved. The construction of Avinguda Diagonal is one of the projects it entailed that became reality, when a Royal Decree from Queen Isabella II of Spain and O'Donnell's Spanish government in Madrid allowed him to start the construction of the avenue in 1859. The city council of Barcelona had previously requested the approval of Antoni Rovira i Trias's alternative project instead, which had been rejected.

After the completion of its central section, from current Plaça de Francesc Macià towards Glòries, it soon became one of Barcelona's most popular avenues and an ideal place for the Catalan aristocrats and bourgeoisie to exhibit their carriages, and Francesc Cambó, leader of Lliga Regionalista proposed the construction of a new palace for the then monarch Alfonso XIII in 1919 (the royal palace in Ciutat Vella had been destroyed in the fire of 1875).

Names

The different regimes that held power in Catalonia and Spain during the 20th century sought to change the city's street names, and Avinguda Diagonal was no exception to that: it has been known under the following name:
* Gran Via Diagonal – original name which Ildefons Cerdà and Víctor Balaguer intended to call the avenue.
* Avinguda d'Argüelles – 1891. Named after Agustín Argüelles.
* Avinguda de la Nacionalitat Catalana – 1922. Mancomunitat de Catalunya.
* Avenida de Alfonso XIII –1924. During Primo de Rivera's dictatorship, named after the king Alfonso XIII.
* Avinguda del Catorze d'Abril – 1931. Second Spanish Republic
* Gran Vía Diagonal – 1939, provisional name imposed the day after the Fascist capture of Barcelona as an attempt to eliminate references to the Republic.
* Avenida del Generalísimo Francisco Franco – 1939. During the Authoritarian Regime of Francisco Franco.
* Avinguda Diagonal – Its current name, adopted following the restoration of democracy in 1979.

It should be noted, though, that in popular usage the name "Diagonal" has always prevailed.

Buildings and places of interest

Architecture

* Casa del Baró de Quadras (Museu de la Música) – designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1904-1906)
* Casa Comalat – designed by Salvador Valeri i Pupurull (1906 – 1911)
* Església del Carme – designed by Josep Domènech i Estapà, Bizantine style (1909)
* Casa Serra – also designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, became a school.
* Casa de Terrades, also known as Casa de les Punxes – Eixample's widest building, designed by Puig i Cadafalch (1903-1905)
* Palau Pérez Samanillo
* Casa Sayrach – (1918)
* Palau Reial de Pedralbes (1921), built for Alfonso XIII of Spain and its gardens. (1924).
* Torre Agbar - designed by Jean Nouvel, next to Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes (2005).

hopping centres

* L'Illa.
* El Corte Inglés Avinguda Diagonal
* El Corte Inglés Francesc Macià
* Diagonal Mar
* Glòries
* Pedralbes Centre

Cinemas

* CINESA Diagonal Mar
* Boliche
* CINESA Diagonal
* Glòries Multicines

Education

Avinguda Diagonal is also home to several schools of both Universitat de Barcelona and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, in the area that is commonly known as "Zona Universitària".

The following UB faculties and schools are located on the avenue:
* Biology (Av. Diagonal, 645)
* Business school (Av. Diagonal, 696)
* Economics (Av. Diagonal, 690)
* Law (Av. Diagonal, 684)
* Physics (Av. Diagonal, 647)

Transport

Metro

The avenue is served by a number of metro stations:
* Zona Universitària (L3)
* Palau Reial (L3)
* Maria Cristina (L3)
* Diagonal (L3, L5) - In and around Passeig de Gràcia.
* Provença (L6, L7) - In Carrer Provença, linked with Diagonal station.
* Verdaguer (L4, L5) - In Plaça Verdaguer
* Glòries (L1) - in Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes.
* Selva de Mar (L4).
* El Maresme Fòrum (L4).

Tram

Trambaix
* Zona Universitària (T1, T2, T3)
* Palau Reial (T1, T2, T3)
* Maria Cristina (T1, T2, T3)
* Numància (T1, T2, T3)
* L'Illa (T1, T2, T3)
* Francesc Macià (T1, T2, T3)Trambesòs
* Glòries (T4, T5)
* Ca L'Aranyó (T4)
* Pere IV (T4)
* Fluvià (T4)
* Selva de Mar (T4)
* El Maresme (T4)
* Fòrum (T4)

ee also

* Diagonal metro station
* Eixample, List of streets in Eixample
* Modernisme, Noucentisme, Art Nouveau.
* Ildefons Cerdà and his "Pla Cerdà", influenced by utopian socialism
* History of Barcelona
* History of Catalonia
* History of Spain
* 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures

ources

* ALBAREDA, Joaquim, GUÀRDIA, Manel i altres.Enciclopèdia de Barcelona, Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana, Barcelona, 2006.

External links

* [http://www.bcn.es/publicacions/catala/bmm/bmm56/bmm56_32.htm Article on Avinguda Diagonal by journalist Lluís Permanyer]
* [http://www.gaudiallgaudi.com/EA202.htm Casa de les Punxes]
* [http://www.bcn.es/turisme/catala/turisme/llocs/05.htm Avinguda Diagonal at the tourism site of the city council] .


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