The Josepets church

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The Josepets church

In days gone by, fields and dirt roads were all that there were in the area where Plaça de Lesseps is today. The barefoot Carmelite friars founded a convent there at the point where the Vallcarca and Cassoles streams met. That was back in 1626 and the old convent gave rise to the town of Gràcia. All that remains of the Carmelite complex today is the Baroque church, which stands at one end of the square.

A gem of Catalan Baroque architecture

In 1626, Carmelite friars settled in what was then an unpopulated area and they founded the convent of Santa Maria de Gràcia. Construction work on the monastery was completed in 1630 but work did not begin on the church until 1658, and it was consecrated in 1687. The temple was built by Brother José de la Concepción following the traditional canons of the Catalan Baroque, while the three-tiered façade topped with a triangular pediment is common in Carmelite churches of the period.

The beginnings of a neighbourhood

The Josepets church witnessed the growth of an entire village that ultimately took its name. By association with the Santa Maria de Gràcia convent, the village was also called Santa Maria de Gràcia (or Virgin of Gràcia or Our Lady of Gràcia), which was later shortened to just Gràcia. As a further reference to the Virgin, the district’s coat of arms features the Marian symbol of three white lilies on a blue background.

The church has always had close ties to the community, and apart from its religious activity, the parish is linked to several associations including the Esplai Josepets leisure centre

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