Barcelona: photogenic and centenary stores

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Barcelona: photogenic and centenary stores

In previous articles about Barcelona, I took you to the parks and to visit the markets. Today I want to take you back in time. Wouldn’t you like to know how people lived 100 years ago in Barcelona? We can imagine how the city looked like by then by visiting the numerous historical stores scattered through the city. These stores were established in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. A lot of them have a modernist style and they have been kept until today looking almost the same as in the old days (thanks to the efforts of their owners). They are quite photogenic stores because of their architecture, historical interest and also because of the products you can find in them.

How to find historical stores in Barcelona

There is an association called “Establishments emblematic (Emblematic establishments)” whose objective is to preserve these beautiful stores.  A lot of them disappeared because of the economic crisis, so it is important to take care of the ones that are left. To find these centenary stores, you can check the new guide of establishments in order to organize your photographic route. If you prefer to take a guided tour, you can look into the ones offered by ConeixerBCN. You can also find them by walking around the city and looking for the plaque that Barcelona City Hall gave them to recognize their contribution to the city and that is placed right in the entry to the store (on the floor).

This is the plaque that Barcelona City Hall places in the entry to emblematic stores to recognize their contribution to the city.

Some historical stores

Some of the historical stores are pharmacies and they are just gorgeous. Their modernist look will be a delight to art lovers, they are full of details from the 19th century such as beautiful pharmacy flasks or the cash registers.

This Pharmacy, which is located in Ferran street, is nowadays called Mallol Balmaña, in the past, it was called “La Estrella”, it was established in 1842. Notice the cash register near the door.


One thing that I love about this establishment is that they allow a more playful post processing. You can have a lot of fun trying more creative presets, like for example, some of the “Film look” in the Brick and Mortar workflow.

One of my favorite stores is the “Torrente Tecno Industrial” because of its originality, established in 1880. It sells lighting conductors (para llamps in Catalan).

Lighting conductors store established in 1880. It is located in Marquès de Barberà Street.

In the list of emblematic establishments you will also find “El Rey de la Magia”, or in English “The King of Magic”.  It is the oldest magic store in Spain and one of the oldest in the world! They made a lot of efforts in keeping the store like it was in 1881, the year that it was established.

“El rey de la magia” store, located in Pricesa Street.


You can find awesome things in “El Rey de la Magia”

There is also a store of knives which is opened for business since 1911 (Ganiveteria Josep Roca) and a numismatic establishment from 1920 (Numismatica Calico).

The knives store of Josep Roca was established in 1911. You will find it in Pi Square.


Numismatic Calico, established in 1920 and located in Angel Square.


Here you can see some of the products of Numismatic Calico

These were just some examples. Now it is up to you to walk around Barcelona and discover more centenary stores!

Some tips for photographing historical stores

Here are some tips that will be useful for photographing historical stores in Barcelona.

Check the opening hours: Most of them close for lunch time (approximately between 14 pm and 17 pm). Keep this in mind especially if you want to take photos inside (or to buy something in them too).

Ask the owners if you can take photos: I would always ask the owner if I can take photos of his/her store. They are aware that their establishments are beautiful and photogenic, but they are also small, so they will see you coming in. It is considered quite rude to take photos and just leave without even talking with them.

Try to avoid glass reflections: If you want to take photos of the window display you might find useful to know how to avoid the reflections produced by the glass. One thing you can do is to get the lens as close as you can to the glass. Using a polarizer filter can reduce the reflections a lot too. Ah! And don’t use flash because this will make things worse (more light going into the glass means, even more, light reflecting back at you, and you don’t want that).

When you take photos of shop displays you need to take care of the glass reflections. Here I didn’t get close enough to the glass and you can see my own reflection. Sometimes reflections can be interesting, but in this occasion, I was not aiming for them. A polarizer filter would have been also helpful to avoid reflections.


Some of the reflections you can get in shop displays can be pretty interesting too!

I hope you enjoy these particular stores in Barcelona. Feel free to contact me with any question about this matter or if you want more information.  Have a happy shooting!!!

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I am a biologist and a self-taught photographer based in Barcelona (Catalonia). Buddhist philosophy has a strong influence on me: I have a deep appreciation to life and I give a huge value to the little things that makes our days happier. I became a passionate about photography when I got my first camera and I understood that photography allows me to express my way of approaching life. I love learning so I am always willing to trying new things. These days I am shooting mostly nature and portraits.

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