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Gràcia’s close ties to Catalan literature

Gràcia’s Close Ties To Catalan Literature

The streets and squares of the colourful neighbourhood of Gràcia are brimming with stories, and one of the most fascinating is that of the Plaça del Diamant.

Nowhere is the connection between Gràcia and Catalan Literature more visible than in Plaça del Diamant (Diamond Square), located in what used to be known as the jeweller’s quarter. The square was given its name by a local town councillor, Josep Rosell i Imbert, a precious stones merchant. When this part of the city was developed in 1850, he had the idea to call the streets and squares of this part of Gràcia after precious stones, hence we find street names like Carrer de la Perla (Pearl Street), Carrer de l’Or (Gold Street) and Carrer del Topazi (Topaz Street).

The square is not just famous locally but on an international level as well thanks to the novel, In Diamond Square, by Mercè Rodereda, and the subsequent film adaptation of the book by Francesc Betriu in 1980. It’s one of the city’s most charming squares, where you can sit while you listen to the birds and watch children play. In 1984, in homage to the novel, a statue called La Colometa, (Little Pigeon) by sculptor Xavier Medina-Campeny was erected, which portrays the novel’s main character with her pigeons.

In 1992, while carrying out works to build a car park in the square, workmen unearthed a bomb shelter that had been built twelve metres underground by the neighbours during the Spanish Civil War. As part of the recovery of historical memory movement, the Taller de Història de Gràcia (Gràcia History Workshop) organises guided visits to the bunker.

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