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  • Barcelona's Tres Xemeneies - Light Trail

Barcelona's Tres Xemeneies

The Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies are located between the neighbourhoods of Poble-Sec and Sants-Montjuïc. They are named after the three imposing structures that were part of the electric power station La Canadenca, the former headquarters of the Sociedad Española de Electricidad.

The three red-brick chimneys stand 72 metres high and are all that remains of the iconic building that is part of the city's industrial heritage as it was the first electric power station in Spain, the third in Europe and the seventh in the world.

The first chimney was built in 1881 and due to increased demand two others were built, one in 1908 and another 1912. Their location near the port meant they could easily receive the water and coal they needed to generate light and energy. La Canadenca was a pioneering company that introduced countless technological innovations and was constantly evolving.

The company is remembered for the great strike organised by its workers in 1919, a few years after the engineer Frederick Stark Pearson bought the company. The strike lasted forty-four days and brought the entire region to a standstill. As a result of the strike, the unions achieved an eight-hour working day and Spain was the first country to put it into law. This means that the strike at La Canadenca represented a great victory for the Catalan workers' movement.

The old factory was demolished in 1987, but its three chimneys were preserved. They currently back onto the headquarters of the electricity company FECSA, its latest owner. The chimneys are an excellent example of the industrial architecture of their day and, for this reason, we have included them on our Light Trail.

There are no guided tours of the chimneys but you can see them from the outside in the Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies. The park still contains pieces of machinery from the old electric power station, which have been transformed into sculptures.

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