THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT SPAIN'S MONTJUIC
Barcelona has tons of sightseeing locations, tapas-tempting venues and entertaining activities to offer to visitors. These are ORIGIN Magazine’s insightful tips on why you should visit the Montjuïc hill and where to go from there
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Kristijan Arsov
?? June 2019
The heart of Spain and among the most visited tourist destinations in Europe is Barcelona. The lively city is buzzing with vivid culture, a mixture of contemporary and traditional architecture, must-see monuments and authentic tapas restaurants. But alongside tasting sangria, visiting Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família and treating yourself to a Flamenco Night, here is why Montjuïc must make it to your bucket list too.
Montjuïc is a 184,8 m broad and shallow hill, which overlooks the southwest part of the city centre of Barcelona. The location is perfect for sealing your Spanish trip memories in outstanding photographs with the beauty of the city and its surrounding mountain hills as a background. The eastern side of Montjuïc offers visitors a bird’s-eye view of the waterfront harbour, Port Vell, home of the Aquarium Barcelona.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc by Carles Buïgas are located at the bottom of the grand staircase leading to the palace. Visitors can enjoy their entertaining water effects created by spraying 700 gallons of water per second through 3,620 jets.
The Palau Nacional:
On top of the hill raises the Palau Nacional, where tourists and locals alike can visit the National Art Museum of Catalonia’s collection of over 5,000 artworks.
Designed by Eugenio Cendoya and Enric Catà under the supervision of Pere Domènech i Roura, the ‘National Palace’ became the main site of the 1929 International Exhibition. The architecture was inspired by the Spanish Renaissance. The rectangular floor plan stretches over 32,000 m², hosting an elliptical dome in the centre.
Montjuïc lays alongside the Llobregat River and near the Mediterranean. The importance of the communication channel and its strategic location turned it into the birthplace of the city of Barcelona. The Castle of Montjuïc dates to the 17th century.
Since 1842 the fortress served as prison, predominantly for political prisoners. Among the most famous period of the castle’s history was the 1897 Els processos de Montjuïc executions of anarchist supporters and the workers’ rights repressions that followed. One of the most famous execution in Montjuïc was that of Catalan nationalist leader Lluís Companys in 1940. Both Nationalists and Republicans were executed in the fortress during the Spanish Civil War, while the site was under rule of their opponents.
More to be Seen:
Formula One fans may know of the Montjuïc circuit racetrack located at the slopes that face the city. The track hosted the Spanish Grand Prix four times until the 1975 race accident when Rolf Stommelen's car crashed into the stands resulting in the death of four people and the end of the Montjuïc circuit taking part in the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Olympic stadium, near the Montjuïc castle was completed in 1929. It was meant to host anti-fascist alternative Olympics that were intended to happen in opposition to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Spanish Civil War outbreak prevented the event from happening. The stadium was used by the football team Espanyol until 2008 when the new stadium in Cornellà/El Prat was finished.
More to be Done:
The Funicular de Montjuïc is part of the Barcelona Metro that can take visitors to the top of the hill. Thrill seekers take the gondola lift that connects Montjuïc with the Barcelona harbour waterfront, offering the rare opportunity to see part of such a worldwide famous megapolis from above.
The eastern slope of the Montjuïc hill is where you will find the Miramar terminal of the Port Vell Aerial Tramway. Enjoy the ride from the mountain hill down to the marina. Make sure to leave your fear of heights behind and to take your camera on board. This is your chance to experience a journey in a glass cable car, as it will move above Barcelona’s plazas, colourful parks, well-maintained gardens and past La Rambla’s famous 60m tall Columbus Monument.
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
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