El Raval is a barrio in Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona. The neighborhood is also known as Barri Xino, meaning “Chinatown.” El Raval is one of the two historical neighborhoods that border the Rambla (the other being the Barri Gòtic). El Raval is also becoming one of the hippest up-and-coming neighborhoods of Barcelona where many artists live and work. It is home to many bars, restaurants, and night spots.
Long one of the most rough-and-tumble parts of Barcelona, El Raval is becoming so hip in a grungy, inner-city way that they’ve even invented a verb for rambling around El Raval – ravalejar. El Raval has had a chequered history. Its bottom half is better known as the Barri Xinès, a seedy red-light zone that even today, after decades of efforts to clean the area up, retains a touch of its dodgy feel.
« If ‘Las Ramblas’ is the tracks, Raval is the wrong side of them. It’s everything decribed by the Spanish word « chungo » and the English word « dodgy ».
« It is non-stop, alive and lowdown dirty realnin way that a thousand ‘urban regeneration’ projects could never reproduce.