June 25, 2014 at 11:47 am #181874
The Balañá family, owners of Barcelona’s Monumental bull ring, are negotiating its sale with the Emir of Qatar, who is considering a total investment of 2.2 billion euros to convert it into the third biggest mosque in the world, according to several articles in the Spanish press today (20 Minutos, El Mundo, and La Vanguardia).
If the plans go ahead and Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al Zani buys La Monumental and converts it into a mosque, it would be the largest Muslim place of worship in the world outside of Saudi Arabia’s Mecca and Medina mosques.
It would have a capacity of 40,000 people and a minaret of 300 metres, so no chance this would get the go-ahead in Switzerland.
Apparently the deal is agreed, and all they need now is the thumbs-up from Barcelona City Hall.
Alberto Fernández Díaz, head of Barcelona’s PP (People’s Party) says his party will oppose any plan to convert the Monumental bullring into a mosque. He says a project like this doesn’t belong in a city like Barcelona, given that it has “promoters who defend principles clearly in conflict with our standards of social harmony”. He describes Muslim values as “in conflict with ours.”
He also questioned the financial transparency of the deal.
Needless to say, if this goes ahead it will drive up property prices in the area around La Monumental, in the Fort Pienc and Sagrada Familia districts of the Right Eixample, where you can currently buy property for an average of around 3,000 €/m2 🙂
June 25, 2014 at 6:21 pm #181882
I think this is a bad idea.
The positive impact – for me – would be a lot of new ethnic restaurants and shops, revitalization of the neighborhood, and new life for La Monumental. I feel that Muslim immigrants saved the Raval from further despair and I frequently go shopping there and this would be closer to home for me.
But the negatives outweigh the positive: The corruption and human rights abuses in Qatar are well documented. They may lose the 2022 World Cup and they put a poet in jail for life because he criticized the government. With Qatar’s sponsorship of Barca, I think further examination of this project is warranted. Just what is Qatar’s interest in Barcelona? Is this really the government that Spain/Barcelona wants to be linked to? Are there really 40,000 Muslims in Barcelona? If no, why is such a large structure needed? Are there plans for massive immigration into Barcelona? Does sponsorship of Barca and now plans for this mosque in Barcelona fit into the rumored plans by extreme Muslim groups wanting to ‘reclaim Spain’ ? (Yes, I know – that’s a stretch but I’m guessing that some are thinking this.).
If this project does move forward, there needs to be strict rules regarding maintaining the architectural integrity of this historic structure. I don’t support adding the minaret unless it 100% fits with the existing architecture.
Lastly, while I find it quite soothing, I don’t think that Spaniards will accept the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer that is noisily broadcasted via loudspeakers from the minaret 5 times each day, starting at daybreak. Minimally, there needs to be discussion, planning and rules regarding this. Being awakened quite early in the morning or from an afternoon siesta every day may result in some very short tempers.
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by GarySFBCN.
June 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm #181884
I do not think it should be allowed to become any sort of religious building. You would think that considering it follows certain architectural designs unique (i believe) to Catalonia, it should be preserved. Or at least the facade.
Hell you could dome it and turning it into a shopping center! or as a venue for concerts, etc…
June 25, 2014 at 7:29 pm #181885
Ha, they already turned the Arenas Bullring at the other end of Gran Via into a shopping mall designed by Richard Rogers 🙄
June 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm #181894
has it been a successful conversion?
June 26, 2014 at 7:49 pm #181897
I think so. Don’t know how the business is going, but I do know that tourism-driven shopping is booming in Barcelona (but depressed where the tourists don’t go).
June 26, 2014 at 4:41 pm #181895
Probably another of those “pie in the sky” reports that frequently come out of Spain….remember Eurovegas, Paramount studios, Island off Marbella. Etc etc.
June 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm #181896
Are we talking another of Spain’s Great White Elephants here katy? Lol
June 26, 2014 at 10:45 pm #181904
Regarding the success of the conversion of the Arenas Bullring: I’ve been there a few times. They did a good job with the transformation and the observation deck is a great addition. But I did not see anyone buying anything other than foods to consume on the premises.
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by GarySFBCN.
June 29, 2014 at 10:50 pm #181954
Sounds good to me. The area needs a bit of investment. Currently only the Chinese and Pakistani business community seem to be thriving. Seems like there is potential for this quiet residential neighbourhood to be the Catalan cross roads for a variety of world cultures!
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