"Hospitalet derives from hospital/hospitality"
1 - Hospitalet is a millenary Spanish town united to Barcelona. It was founded in the mouth of the river Llobregat, which sources lay in the Pyrenees Mountains.
Our King Alfonso XIII, during his visit to Hospitalet in 1925, conferred it the status of city.
It is a very green town with heaps of gardens in every district. The beach is nearby, just at about ten minutes time by underground Metro. The population is around 300.000 persons, which makes it the twelfth largest town in Spain.
As in many other Spanish towns, we have a central and wide boulevard called Rambla (word from Arabic origin meaning the bed formed by a river or by heavy rains), which is the preferred to stroll around, drink a coffee or eat ice creams in any of the many cafeterias, buy clothes in the fashion shops, or going to the movies.
Today is an important economical centre thanks to its factories, related with the industry of iron, textiles and chemicals products, what a few decades ago attracted many Spaniards from other regions to move there with the aim to improve their living conditions. Hospitalet was a few decades ago a little Spain with many folkloric demonstrations from all the regions: flamenco dancing from Andalucia, Aragonese jotas the 12th of October, Extremadura religious processions during the Easter week, Canary Islands carnivals, “pasodoble” music in the streets, bullfighting corridas, etc. But today, due to the foreign immigration, there are plenty of nationalities from the five continents that have transformed the town in a little Universe where, apart from the Spanish that, of course, everybody speaks, you can hear almost all the languages of the world, Swahili, Farsi, Fang, Quechua, Lithuanian, etc.
In our Public Library TECLA SALA there are regular expositions of famous painters, theatre performances, writers meetings and lectures, and many other cultural manifestations.
Our museum contains several Roman artefacts, as for instance one of the symbols of Hospitalet, that is, a statue representing the head of Medusa, one of the gorgonas, the monstrous daughters of Forcis and Ceto, killed by Perseo before rescuing Princess Andromeda (Have you admired the delicious Piero di Cosimo painting in Florence’ Uffizi Palace Galleries capturing this moment?).
2 - When the Romans built in the Iberian Peninsula the Via Augusta, or a road bringing together all the Spanish cities with Rome, they founded a town every approximately 40 kilometres along the way, and one of them was Barcino (today’s Barcelona), with its neighbourhood Hospitalet. At that time we had three Roman provinces in Hispania, name of Phoenician origin meaning “Country of Rabbits”, (although some historians differ alleging that Hispania means Mountainous Country because, after Switzerland, Spain is the second country in Europe having proportionally more mountains). In the South there was the Roman province of BETICA, in the West was LUSITANIA (today’s Portugal, which formed part of Spain until 1640) and in the North and East lied TARRACONENSE, with its capital in Tarraco, today’s Tarragona.
3 - Behind the modern façade of the Church of Santa Eulalia there is a small chapel founded in the XII century in Romanic style (I was baptized in it). It sheltered pilgrims going to Santiago as from the XIV century.
Saint Eulalia was a martyr born in Spain at the end of the III century, who was tortured and later crucified in the year 305, during Diocletian times, for her denial to renounce to her Christian faith.
4 - Since Hospitalet is inhabited by nationals from such exotic countries as Ecuador, Uruguay, Ukraine, Romania, Gambia, Morocco, Philippines, Pakistan, etc., as well as from all the 17 regions of Spain (Andalucia, Galicia, Aragon, Catalonia, Castilla, etc.) in our restaurants you may find from Algerian couscous to Peruvian ceviche, from Chinese chop tsuey to Russian pelmenie, from Andalucian gazpacho to Basque bacalao al pil pil.
"TIBIDABO MOUNTAIN AND SACRED HEART TEMPLE"
While in Hospitalet, I strongly advise you to spend a marvellous day in Tibidabo Mountain, where there is an Attraction Park for children and adults alike dating from 1899, and a beautiful expiatory temple which construction started in 1902 and was finished in 1961, in neo gothic style. It is called Sagrado Corazon (Sacred Heart), and in its top there is a huge bronze statue of Jesus Christ, similar to those of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, or in Lisbon, Portugal, or in Lyon, France, etc.
In order to get there the best and most original way is by the only tramway left in the high part of Barcelona, and then by a funicular train.
Once on the top, suddenly you will find yourself at over 500 metres altitude and will enjoy of a splendid view of Hospitalet, Barcelona, and the Mediterranean Sea.
A restaurant in the main esplanade is devoted to the travellers and adventurers, which is very exotic, delicious, with food and sauces from the five continents, and not expensive at all.
Nearby there is a telecommunications antenna/tower with a cafeteria, designed by the British architect Norman Foster.
"STOP IN THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO"
Hospitalet constitutes a call at the pilgrimage El Camino de Santiago.
Although the most popular point to start the so called “Camino Frances” in Spain is Roncesvalles (Navarra), or Somport (Aragon), you can initiate it from any Spanish point, as for instance Hospitalet, from where it will take you about 35/40 days at a rate of 30/35 kilometres per day. The main stops along the paths through the snowing mountains of the Pyrenees, the large plateau of Castilla and the green valleys of Galicia, are: the fantastic Monastery of Montserrat in a rocky mountain, lovely Zaragoza (capital of Aragon), beautiful Cathedral of Burgos and outstanding stained glass windows in Leon, a Gaudi Palace in Astorga, a magnificent Romanic church in San Martin de Fromista, a Templar castle in Ponferrada, striking active monasteries along Castilla, etc. And finally you will arrive to fascinating Santiago de Compostela, the place where is found the sepulchre of Saint James, the disciple of Jesus Christ, the holiest place in Spain and the third in the Christian World. At Santiago you will receive the Compostela, or a document stating that you made the pilgrimage on foot, what will enable you to have breakfast, lunch and dinner for free (during three days!) in the five stars Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos, in the Plaza del Obradoiro, just in front of the Cathedral.