El Coll

Barcelona's Steepest Neighbourhood

The neighbourhood of El Coll is located 300 metres above sea level on the north-west edge of the District of Gràcia.

It runs around the foot of a hill of the same name along either side of a seasonal stream called La Farigola, which was a tributary of the larger Vallcarca river.

The origin of the neighbourhood is the 11th century church - l'Església del Coll, which was close to the Lourdes chapel.

Throughout medieval times the area was used by the Barcelona nobility as hunting grounds.

Later bandits used the caves of Cimanya on the Carmel side of El Coll as a hideout and these became iron mines at the time of the industrial revolution.

At the beginning of the 20th century fine houses began to be built here but during the 1960s, the neighbourhood became the site of uncontrolled building to house immigrants.

The Avinguda de la Mare de Déu del Coll is the main thoroughfare but the neighbourhood is quite difficult to get about as it is built on such steep inclines.

The locals decided to put a stop to the urbanisation when plans were put forward to build on the only remaining space in the neighbourhood - La Pedrera de la Creueta - in 1976 and began to lobby for a park.

The Parc de la Creueta del Coll opened in 1986 and its main features are a man-made lake that doubles as a swimming pooland a hanging sculpture by Eduardo Chillida.

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