The neighbourhood now known as Marina de Port straddles the current Passeig de Zona Franca and is bordered by La Bordeta, La Marina del Prat Vermell, Montjuic and l'Hospitalet de Llobregat.
It used to be part of an agricultural area known as Marina de Sants that was created by the opening of the Canal de la Niña in 1819.
By the middle of the 19th century, the first textile factories began to move in taking advantage of the water supply and the area became
dominated by the famed Prats de Indianes - the fields where the fabric was laid out to dry.
At the start of the 20th century, the orchards, farmlands and masias as well as the old fishing neighbourhood were urbanised as the Port of Barcelona spread inland.
One of the last vestiges of Marina de Port's rural past is the existence of la Masia de Can Mestres - the only remaining traditional Catalan farmhouse inside Barcelona city limits.
fact, Marina de Port is historically much more important than it would
appear and it is suspected that it was here that the Romans set up their
first colony before moving it to Mont Tàber, today's Plaça de Sant
There are also records of an important castle here - El Castell de Port - dating from 1020 and documents indicate the existence of a primitive port as far back as 984.
Today La Marina de Port's
main thoroughfare is Passeig de la Zona Franca and the neighbourhood
comprises a series of historic sub-neighbourhoods - Port, Can Tunis,
Cases Barates, Can Clos, Polvorí, Foment, Sant Cristòfol (la Seat),
Estrelles Altes, la Vinya, Plus Ultra, Santiveri and la Colònia Bausili.
These barris mostly began life as clusters of farmhouses, which grew into sprawling neighbourhoods with the arrival of thousands of Spanish immigrants who came to work in the factories of the Zona Franca.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Can Tunis was infamous as the centre for
heroin addicts and many years ago, I had to take the bus through there
on my way to teach English at a company in Zona Franca.
As the bus approached, you could see squatting figures shooting up in the nearby fields and at the bus stop around thirty or forty disease-ridden junkies got on to go back to Barcelona city centre.
I have to say it is possibly the most harrowing and depressing experience, I've ever had and I only managed to last at the job for a little over a month.
There are no Metro Stations in Marina de Port but the Europa Fira stop on the southern section of the Orange L9 Line is within walking distance.
Europa Fira is also a Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat station on the Anoia-Llobregat line as are Ildefons Cerdà and Magòria - La Campana, which are also both within easy reach.
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