Can Pistolas and other hits on Rambla de Canaletas

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Continuing with the series of articles on the history of the Ramblas, we are going to focus on the emblematic buildings and shops that have been located on the Rambla de Canaletas over the years.

Ciutat Vella Side (Gothic Quarter)

No. 2. Banca Marsans, founded in 1902, by José Marsans Rof and sons. He had started his professional life in 1892 as a stockbroker and stockbroker. From 1910, he expanded the business by installing a travel section, converting the two companies in 1919 into SA he was in 1908 one of the founders of the Barcelona Bankers Association and the Bankers Union.

In 1942, they were absorbed by the Banco Hispano Colonial, created by Antonio López y López, Marquis of Comillas.


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No. 2. Currently 134 de la Rambla, in 1911 we see the image of the Marsans Travel Agency and Bank, on the first floor the Assigurazioni Generali de Trieste.

Jesus Fraiz Ordonez /

No. 4. Teodoro Barasona Sales Room. Subsequently, the building was acquired by the Marsans family to join it to nº 2 to expand the business and convert it, in 1928, into two commercial establishments, already as the agency Viatges Marsans S, A. Later, both buildings were acquired by Banco Hispano Colonial to install its headquarters in Barcelona.


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Inauguration of the Teodoro Barasona Sales Room at Rambla Canaletas 4 on May 2, 1914.

Inauguration of the Teodoro Barasona Sales Room at Rambla Canaletas 4 on May 2, 1914.

Jesus Fraiz Ordonez /

No. 6. In 1914, the building was dedicated to the hospitality industry, housing two completely different premises. In one of them, the hotel of family tradition Hotel Toledano was installed and, in the other part of the building, the Pension Hostal R. Capitol. The occupation of the building was completed by the insurance company La Equitativa.

It was not until 1926 that the disappeared Capitol Cinema was built, popularly known by the public of the mid-twentieth century, as Can Pistolsnickname earned by hand, since in all its programs, movies were projected, in which shooting scenes took place.

With the arrival of the dictatorship, its name did not please the leaders and, for a time, it used the name of Capitolio. On the occasion of the loss of market, he launched the so-called “sessions sluts”, cinematographic functions for assistance works of the Show Union, which began at 1:30 in the morning, dedicated to night owls, waiters, musicians and artists of the show.


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Cine Capitol known as Can Pistolas, later became the Club Capitol theater.

Can Pistolas, on the Rambla de Canaletas.

Jesus Fraiz Ordonez /

At the end of the 20th century, it was reformed to obtain a greater market share. In 1989, it was converted into two halls: Club Capitol 1, with 523 seats, and Club Capitol 2, with 253.

In the same issue, on October 16, 1957, the Maxcali tailor shop was inaugurated as competition to the Modelo tailor shop, which after a flourishing period, was acquired in April 1981 by the Cortefiel company.

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No. 8. Hotel Continental, in principle, was located at number 10, but in 1931 it was acquired by the Malagarriga Vallet family, who changed its location and placed it in the Palacio de la Marquesa de Pallejà, right next to where it was.

In the basement of the building and promoted by a company formed by Basagaña and Soler, the Automatic Bar was installed in 1932, which was open until 1947.


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Automatic Bar, on the ground floor of the Hotel Continental from 1932 to 1947.

Automatic Bar, on the ground floor of the Hotel Continental from 1932 to 1947.

Jesus Fraiz Ordonez /

The Continental Hotel, during the civil war, gained great notoriety as it was for a time the residence of the journalist, writer and war correspondent Eric Arthur Blair, known in the media as George Orwell.

Orwell had arrived in Barcelona on December 26, 1936 with a letter of introduction from the Independent Labor Party.

In January and February 1937 he fought on the Sierra de Alcubierre front. Participating in the May Days of 1937, he returned to the front again on May 20, where he was shot in the neck. Later, he wrote the book Tribute to Catalonia.

In June 1938, after returning to England, he enlisted as a militiaman in the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM).


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thumbnail_1920 The Casa Teresa Maspons building and the Ignacio Sierra house, Continental Hotel and Ribas Restaurant.

1920: The Casa Teresa Maspons building and the Ignacio Sierra house, Continental Hotel and Ribas Restaurant.

Jesus Fraiz Ordonez /

No. 10. Casa Ignacio Sierra, built in 1876. In 1882, the Gran Café Continental Restaurant was installed there. In June 1892, after a comprehensive restructuring, the building became the Gran Hotel Restaurante Continental (the first hotel built in the Plaça de Catalunya area) and, on the ground floor, the Ribas restaurant was installed.


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Advertisement for the Ribas Restaurant.

Advertisement for the Ribas Restaurant.

Jesus Fraiz Ordonez /


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Jesus Fraiz Ordonez

One of the robbers points to the cashier of the Central Bank during the robbery

In 1925 it was acquired by Evarist Arnús Ferre to demolish the bank’s first building and build a new building and convert it into the bank’s headquarters.

It was acquired by the Central Bank, which suffered an assault on May 23, 1981, whose epilogue was broadcast on television, since the assailants had kidnapped workers and customers, who were being held hostage.

The vanguard the next day he published the news in this way:

A group of twenty terrorists seizes the Central Bank, in Plaça de Catalunya.

The lives of almost two hundred people, in exchange for the freedom of those accused of 23-F.


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One of the robbers points to the cashier of the Central Bank during the robbery

One of the robbers points to the cashier of the Central Bank during the robbery

NEWSPAPER LIBRARY/LA VANGUARDIA

Lieutenant Colonel Tejero and Colonel Sanmartín flatly rejected the action and called for the release of the hostages. The kidnapping lasted 37 hours.

Subsequently, the Central Bank building was reused by various fashion companies.

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Can Pistolas and other hits on Rambla de Canaletas