Why are there two abandoned hospitals just five minutes from Barcelona?
At the top of the Horta neighbourhood, in the middle of the Collserola mountain and just a stone’s throw from the Carmel bunkers, lies a hospital abandoned almost half a century ago: it is the old Barcelona leper colony, a disused center whose farmhouse has been occupied for two decades. Now, Can Masdeu is a social centre, residence and community garden, but it was formerly a center for lepers linked to the Hospital de Sant Paureference in the city and the metropolitan area.
The Can Masdeu farmhouse began to function as a hospital and take in leprosy patients at the beginning of the 20th century, specifically in 1903 after the Sant Pau health center achieved its adjudication. Two years later they came into operation and some of the patients from the main Barcelona center, located in the Raval, in the center of Barcelona, were transferred to that point.
This is stated in the blog of the History of the Hospital de Sant Pau, with old photos of the enclosure where you can see the farmhouse that functioned as a sanatorium and the adjacent land, a huge green area for cultivation. Then the addictive building was built, the health center in question that still retains its original structure today: It is the Sant Llàtzer Hospital, in disuse since it was probably built in 1955. Although it had to function as a center for leprosy, it began its activity with treatments for tuberculosis and then ended up closing its doors.
Today it remains on top of the mountain, just five minutes from several residential neighborhoods of the capital such as Horta or Guinardo. in fact, It is a few kilometers from the Vall d’Hebron.
Just at the other end of the mountain is a second abandoned center: it is the Can Rectoret Sanatorium. Located in VallvidreraIt was designed by the architect Joan Rubió i Bellver – a disciple and assistant of Gaudí – and built between 1903 and 1905. It is a modernist building from the old tuberculosis sanatorium, in the neighborhood of the same name in Collserola.
It is the only building that remains of the sanatorium complex for tuberculosis patients, demolished during the Civil War. Recently and in a citizen activity that is organized once a year -the architectural festival 48h Open House Barcelona- it opened its doors for a week so that the residents of the city could visit this unknown modernist sanatorium.