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.