By the mid-nineteenth century Barcelona begins timidly to open to the sea and the beaches are no longer just a place for the exchange of goods. Sports like swimming and sea bathing would be a way to enjoy sports and leisure in the city. At the time the use of bathing suits was not yet customary so men and women bathed in separate areas.

 

In 1872 when the custom of sea bathing had become a mass phenomenon the Orientale Baths were inaugurated in the Barceloneta. It was a seaside resort of about 2,000 square meters of neo-Arabic style with pools and a wide range of amenities. For the first time a space is also reserved for women.

 

The picture shows a boat in the Eastern Baths, which was probably guarding the area of free swimming at the beach and the huts where people changed. Behind, for the more daring, there was a wooden structure set up as a springboard.
image96