The Eye

Barcelona, march 2015

Photo: el punt avui

Saving Barcelona's unique shops

Every capital city in the world suffers from the same syndrome: the copycat franchised shops that take over high streets. McDonalds, Zara, Starbucks, H&M, they are the same wherever you go and you cannot tell if you are in London, Barcelona, New York or Shanghai. That is why it is so important to save those unique, traditional shops that are struggling to survive among the global brands and fast food chains. One example is the shop pictured here: Cereria Subirà is a candle-maker established in 1761.

The Barcelona City Council is pushing through new by-laws to protect this shop, along with 227 other treasures that are part of the city's heritage, and a major attraction for tourists looking for something different. The idea is to protect to the façades and the decoration, and fixtures, as well as such things as the old cash registers. Some argue that the move comes too late, as many of these gems have already been forced to close. However, it is never too late to protect a city's heritage, not only for the obvious cultural reasons, but to also keep intact the momentum up on Barcelona's largest and most important sector: tourism.

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