A castle looks down from a hill above the Torre Baró neighbourhood and is one of the most striking images of the Collserola hills as you drive into Barcelona along Avinguda Meridiana.
You may be surprised to hear that this is not the Torre - house or tower - of the Baron but rather a hotel that was begun in the first decade of the 20th century and never finished.
The name of the neighbourhood actually comes from a house built by the Pinós family in the 16th century and destroyed during the siege of Barcelona in 1714,
As you can see from the map, the area is mainly countryside and the urbanised area is extremely small.
Over the years there have been numerous attempts to develop the area,
including a 19th century garden-city, but due to the difficulty of the
terrain all have been abandoned.
The small built up area today, which has a population of around 2,000, is a legacy of the 1950s, when Spanish immigrants arrived and built shacks on the hills.
Fifty years on, Torre Baró is one of the few parts of Barcelona that still has a rural shanty town feel to it and many of the buildings were originally built by their owners and have been improved over the years.
The neighbourhood is still lacking in basic facilities and the picture below shows children having to make a 4.5 km trip to school on foot so the immediate priority is mainly decent public transport.
However, speaking personally, I would prefer it if the area stayed pretty much as it is as the beautiful Collserola hills have been encroached upon too much.
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