To the martyrs of independence - A los mártires de la independencia

To the martyrs of independence
Monument to the Heroes of 1809.jpg
Author Pere Benavent de Barberà (ensemble), Josep Llimona (statue), Vicente Navarro (relief)
Creation 19291941
Location Plaza Garriga in Bachs, Barcelona ,Spanish flag Spain
Coordinates 41°23′01″N 2°10′33″E / 41.38359, 2.1758Coordenadas: 41°23′01″N 2°10′33″E / 41.38359, 2.1758

To the martyrs of independence , [ 1 ] also known as To the heroes of 1809 , is a monument located in the Plaza de Garriga i Bachs in Barcelona. Designed by the architect Pere Benavent de Barberà , it was made between 1929 and 1941 with works by the sculptors Josep Llimona and Vicente Navarro .


The monumental complex is dedicated to the memory of the people of Barcelona who in 1809 , within the framework of the Spanish War of Independence , led the insurgency against Napoleonic troops in the city, in the failed Ascension Plot , being later arrested and executed. .

The 3 of June of 1809 , after the so - called "process of the Citadel", a military man , Lieutenant Jose Navarro, two civilians, Juan Massana and Salvador Aulet, and two priests, Juan Gallifa and Joaquin Pou, were executed by the French in the esplanade of the Citadel. During their executions three other insurgents, Ramón Mas, Julián Portet and Pedro Lastortras, rang somatén with the large bell of the Cathedral, being also arrested and sentenced to death on June 27 , 1809 .


In 1815 , when Napoleonic soldiers left Barcelona after the French War , the idea arose of raising a monument to the eight Barcelonans executed by the occupying troops in 1809 . This first monumental project did not prosper, and the tribute was limited to transferring his mortal remains to the Cathedral , to be buried in the sacristy. A new monumental project arose in 1884 , when the city council commissioned Venancio Vallmitjana to make a sculpture of Father Juan Gallifa, the main inspirer of the conspiracy, to be placed in the new Parque de la Ciudadela. However, the sculpture representing the execution of the friar did not like the municipal authorities and was never installed.

In 1909 , coinciding with the centenary of the executions, a new "commission to pay tribute to the martyrs" was formed, made up of the industrialist Andreu Garriga i Bachs and José María Milá Camps , among others . The architect Augusto Font was commissioned to build a pantheon in a cathedral chapel, where the remains of the eight executed were transferred in 1911 . With the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera , Garriga i Bachs acceded to the position of deputy mayor and Milà i Camps to the position of president of the Provincial Council , giving a definitive boost to the creation of a public monument to the memory of the eight victims. In parallel, in 1927 the city council dedicated a city street to each of the eight executed.

For the monument, a site was chosen next to the Cathedral, where they were buried, in a newly created square. Garriga i Bachs bought a farm located on Calle del Obispo, in front of the door of the cloister of the Cathedral, and gave it to the consistory to be demolished. The design of the new square and the monument was entrusted to the architect Pere Benavent de Barberà and the works were financed by the Provincial Council. Josep Llimona was commissioned to create a bronze sculpture group to represent those executed and to preside over the monumental complex. However, in November 1929Taking advantage of a visit from the queen, the square was inaugurated even without the statue, which was not finished. The pedestal would remain empty for more than a decade, since with the arrival of the Second Republic the new authorities ruled out the placement of the sculptural group and the work was kept in the workshop of Llimona, who died in 1934 .

After the Civil War , the national- Catholic spirit of the new Franco regime rescued the original idea of ​​the monument to the martyrs. The 3 of June of 1941 , coinciding with the 133rd anniversary of the executions, the monumental complex was reopened, with the addition of the sculpture of Llimona and reliefs of angels alabaster Vicente Navarro , added to the original project.


The monumental complex, attached to the side façade of the church of San Severo , is made up of different elements of different chronology, the central element of which is a niche . The design of the complex, the work of Pere Benavent de Barberà , dates from 1929 .

In the center, on a granite pedestal, there is a bronze sculpture set, the work of Josep Llimona. It represents the citizens Juan Massana and Salvador Aulet, the Theatine fathers Juan Gallifa and Joaquín Pou and the second lieutenant José Navarro, all of them executed by the Napoleonic troops on June 3 , 1809 . The sculpture represents the moments prior to the execution, and each character is dressed according to his condition: military, ecclesiastical or civil. The sculpture dates from 1929 but was not placed until 1941 .

The plaque on the pedestal remembers, in addition to these five insurgents, the three citizens later executed, on June 27 , for ringing somatén with the bell of the Cathedral during the execution of the former.

Monument to the Heroes of 1809 - plate.jpg

When the monument was reopened in 1941 , with the placement of Llimona's work on the pedestal, the set was completed with an alabaster relief of two angels wrapped in a cloud, the work of Vicente Navarro.

Flanking the niche, two pairs of tiles on each bench reproduce in ceramic four of the six engravings that Buenaventura Planella made in 1815 . Each drawing represents a moment of the so-called "Citadel Trial": the last confession of the condemned, the transfer to the gallows, the execution and the arrest of the rebels in the Cathedral.


  • Fabre, Jaume; Huertas, Josep Maria; Bohigas, P (1984). Monuments of Barcelona . Barcelona: Barcelona City Council / L'Avenç.
  • García-Martín, Manuel (1986). Barcelona Public Statuary (vol. III) . Barcelona: Catalan of Gas.
  • Michonneau, Stéphane (2001). Barcelona: memory and identity. Monuments, commemorations and myths . Vic: Eumo.
  • Subirachs, Judit (1986). The commemorative sculpture in Barcelona until 1936 . Barcelona: Llar del Llibre / Llibres de la Frontera.


  1. M. Lluïsa Borràs. "To the Martyrs of Independence . " Public Art.

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