El Mercat del Ninot

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El Mercat del Ninot

Located in the Nova Esquerra de l’Eixample neighbourhood, on a site that once belonged to Les Corts, the Ninot market first opened in 1893, when the old township of Les Corts had not yet been absorbed by Barcelona. Designed by Antoni de Falguera, its Noucentista structure passed through various stages, creating a commercial community fabric that today forms part of the neighbourhood’s history.

A market over one hundred years old

In the nineteenth century, when Les Corts was still an independent township, separate from Barcelona, a travelling market used to be held in the streets that connected the city with what was then the neighbouring town. An outdoor market was opened in 1893 to regulate this activity and was originally called Mercat del Porvenir [“Prospect Market”], because it was located in a prosperous area. In fact, it wasn’t long before it adopted the name Mercat del Ninot [“Cabin Boy Market”], which it took from a nearby tavern that was well-known at the time for selling cheap wine. On its door, there was a ship’s figurehead of a cabin boy, which can now be found in Barcelona Maritime Museum.

The Mercat del Ninot was refurbished in 1933 according to plans drawn up by Antoni de Falguera, who transformed the site into a great space covered by a large metallic structure. The market is popular with local residents, who have been able to stock up with the quality products on offer there for over one hundred years.

Combining past and present

The Mercat del Ninot is currently closed for its latest refurbishment, which began in 2008 and will be completed in spring 2015. Josep Lluís Mateo, of the MAP Arquitectes architectural studio, is leading the work, which involves restoring the building, modernising the facilities, including the installation of energy efficiency systems, and renovating the facade to give it a more contemporary appearance whilst maintaining its traditional values. Meanwhile, the stalls have been transferred to a temporary marquee in the neighbouring Doctor Duran i Reynals gardens, where the same products as always are on sale as usual.

Very soon, the Mercat del Ninot will once again open its doors every morning and regain its rightful place as one of the main markets in the Eixample district.

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