The Ciutadella Park
Although the beach is attractive for many, Barcelona takes pride in having some of the most beautiful parks in the country. The Ciutadella Park is the biggest green area in the city, the liveliest and one of the most beautiful. Across its grounds you’ll be able to see many people lying on the grass, practicing slackline or playing the bongos. Ciutadella Park is a place with many attractions that will take you a whole day to visit.
The Ciutadella Park was originally built in the XVIIIth century as a military fortress by Prosperus Van der Boom after Barcelona fell in hands of Philip V and his French troops. The construction destroyed part of the neighborhood of la Ribera, and all its inhabitants had to move the Barceloneta, thus becoming a symbol of oppression for the city and Catalonia.
After many efforts, the fortress was finally demolished in 1878, and only some of the internal buildings were left. In 1888 it was home to the Universal Exhibition, so it was re-built and transformed into a park by one of Antoni Gaudí’s tutors, Josep Fontserè i Mestre, who gave the Ciutadella a European park look with many modernist elements.
Once the Exhibition was over, the different spaces were used to create the Barcelona Zoo, an amusement park (it only lasted between 1911 and 1926), museums, and eventually, the Catalan Parliament.
What to see in la Ciutadella Park
Lake and Fountain
Designed by Josep Fontserè i Mestre, it is said that Gaudí also took part in the construction of this wonderful structure that is the fountain and waterfall which majestically welcome you in the park and gives way to a fantastic lake where you can enjoy a small boat trip.
Castell dels Tres Dragons
Designed by modernist architect Domènech i Montaner as a restaurant for the 1888 Universal Exhibition, it is now a part of the Zoology museum of Barcelona.
Originally an arsenal in the XVIIIth century for the Borbonic troops, it is now the home of the Catalan Parliament, giving the building a second and metaphoric meaning . It had also been the Royal Palace during a short period of time and even a Museum. Close by we can find one of the most important statues in the park: “El Desconsol” by Llimona. This sculpture of a desperate woman is a replica of one of the most famous modernist pieces which is now in the MNAC.
After the Universal Exhibition, some of the land of the park was re-used to host this zoo which now has more than 7.000 animals and now focuses on education of the dignity of animals’ life conditions and reintroduction of endangered species. It was also the home of famous albino gorilla “Snowflake” until his death in 2003. If you walk along the zoo you can also find another of the park’s symbols,”The woman with the umbrella“; a sculpture created in 1885 by Roig Soler.
This tropical greenhouse was also built for the Exhibition and is the perfect place for winter plants to grow. This amazing modernist building also hosts jazz concerts depending on the month you’re visiting.
How to get to the Ciutadella Park
Metro: L4 Ciutadella-Vila Olímpica or L1 Arc de Triomf
Bus: 39, 40, 41, 42, 51 and 141.
Tram: T4 Ciutadella-Vila Olímpica o Wellington
December, January and February:from 10 to 18h.
March and November: from 10 to 19h.
April and October: from 10 to 20h.
From May to September: from 10 to 21h.
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