29. Crisis of monasticism and urban change
In the early 19th century, religious orders held a large part of the country’s real estate and Barcelona, crammed with monasteries and convents, was no exception. After several frustrated attempts, the disentailment decrees promulgated from 1836 onwards prised the properties out of the hands of the Church and by exclaustration and encouraging the popular assault on the monasteries ensured that the friars could not be reinstated.
The space freed up by the destruction of large monasteries such as Santa Caterina made it possible to lay on covered markets and other modern services for a city already in the throes of industrialisation and stifled by the old city walls which were still intact.