Contemporary Years

Qr gòtic_calle llibretería
Época Contemporánea

From a commercial point of view, carrer Llibreteria carried on its activity smoothly during the modern period. Being so close to the centers of power, it was a privileged situation for all the traders, especially, book sellers. It is, for instance, the case of the Brusi family, that were based in this street and built a printing empire during the 19th century, directed the Diario de Barcelona, as well as other publications. This newspaper was edited, printed and distributed at carrer Llibreteria during the entire century, except the years of the Napoleonic era. A lot of booksellers expanded their businesses during this period. They created “reading rooms”, they were like private libraries but also discussion groups. However, from the architectural and town planning point of view, there were difficult times for the street because during this century, the planning regulations were evolving towards more liberal ideas, endangering a layout with more than 1.900 years of history behind. In 1802, during the King Carles IV’s visit in Barcelona, the city underwent some changes that also affected this street, Llibreteria. A lot of buildings were destroyed and some façades were altered. A few years later, between 1820 and 1820, the three year liberal period, the remains of the Roman gate were demolished, because at the time it was seen as an obstacle to circulate within the city. Above the gate, there was an arch that connected the prison with the building opposite it, and it was also knocked down. And in 1839, the prison was moved to another street, carrer de la Reina Amàlia. Later on, several streets were open, carrer Jaume I (1825-1850) and the first section of Via Laietana (1908-1909) affected a few entire blocks in Llibreteria. Nothing compared to a very aggressive project planned during the middle of the 19th century, that did not go ahead, and that it was supported by the architect Lluís Domenec I Muntaner. The intention was to demolish the houses and destroy all the streets behind the Cathedral’s apse, and to keep the Roman columns only in the middle of a newly created square. These columns are currently inside the “Centre excursionista de Catalunya” at carrer Paradís and can be visited.  If that had gone ahead, nowadays nothing would be left of carrer Llibreteria.