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Contemporary Barcelona

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From the 20th to the 21st century

While the city’s industry and population were growing, social and political events, notably the Spanish Civil War and the long period of dictatorship that followed, set the tone for a time of upheaval. At the end of the 20th century, with the arrival of democracy, Barcelona rose again like a Phoenix, determined to become a great 21st century metropolis.

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  • International Exposition of 1929

    The International Exposition of 1929 meant the transformation of Montjuïc, the fair site, where the Palau Nacional became the main focus with the Magic Fountain at the forefront.

  • Pavelló Mies Van der Rohe

    The German national pavilion at the International Exposition held in Barcelona in 1929, designed by Mies Van der Rohe, is today an architectural icon of the Modern Movement.

  • Pavelló de la República

    This replica of the Spanish Republic's pavilion at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1937 houses the Centre for International History Studies and a library that specialises in the Second Republic.

  • Refugi 307

    Refugi 307 in Poble-sec is one of 1,300 air-raid shelters the people of Barcelona had to build during the Civil War. Today it is a Museu d’Història de Barcelona heritage site and the museum organises guided tours.

  • Air-raid shelter in Plaça del Diamant

    One of the biggest air-raid shelters built in Barcelona during the Civil War was the Plaça del Diamant shelter in Vila de Gràcia. The Taller d’Història de Gràcia organises guided tours.

  • Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games

    The city was transformed to host the Summer Olympics. The Olympic Ring on Montjuïc was the epicentre of Barcelona 92, which was watched enthusiastically throughout the city's metropolitan area.

  • 2004 Forum of Cultures

    In 2004, Barcelona held the first Universal Forum of Cultures, an international event that explored cultural diversity and was held at a new site, the Fòrum.

  • Districte 22@

    Barcelona's knowledge district is the most important urban development of recent years, and one of the most ambitious of its kind in Europe.