In reality, the transformation of Barcelona, motivated by the Olympic Games, began with the demolition of the Estadi de Montjuic, 17th October 1986, to build the Olympic Stadium in the same place, conserving the old facade.
The new stadium retained the old Marathon Gate and the bronze horses, by the sculptor Pau Gargallo, above the stand. After remodeling, this became a perfect installation for the athletes from all over the world who visited Barcelona to compete in the XXV Olympiad.
Following a long period of delicate and efficient work on this stadium, a mixture of antique and modern, the 45.000 spectators who filled the seats, could see, on 25th July 1992, the two-hour-long Inaugural Ceremony, seen at the same time by millions of television spectators all over the world. The athletes and different artists such as the opera singers: Montserrat Caballe, Placido Domingo, Alfredo Kraus, Josep Carreras, and Jaume Aragall participated in this ceremony. The honor of lighting the Olympic flame was given to the para Olympic athlete, archer Angel Rebollo, who sent an arrow straight to the center of the bowl of an enormous torch fixed to the walls of the Marathon Gate. This flame presided over Barcelo-na’92 for sixteen days.
Doubtlessly this was one of the installations and events which symbolized the magic month of August 1992, but other sports installations also grew on Montjuic.
Just in front of the stadium is one of the most beautiful sports giants ever built, the Palau Sant Jordi, who many consider being an architectonic jewel of Barcelona ’92. It is the work of the Japanese engineer Arata Isozaki, who, using modern technology and materials, created a space for 17.000 spectators.
The majestic dome is held up without columns or pillars and was lifted at one time using a complex robotic system. The gymnastic competitions were held here. At the moment, due to its perfectly equipped halls and space, it is used for a variety of sports and commercial activities.
A little to the South of these two installations known as Anella Olimpica, we find a classic style building by the architect Ricard Bofill, famous worldwide for having designed, among other things, Les Halles of Paris. Designed to be Universitat de L’ Esport, its monumental structure contrasts with the ultramodern design of the Palau Sant Jordi.
Besides this building, we find the swimming pools, Bernat Picornell, and a baseball diamond which, together with the two other installations described above, complete the buildings which surround the modern Placa d’Europa which connects them all. It is a modern avenue lit by two rows of street lamps in the form of columns and ending in a waterfall that Springs from the Stadium.
In this same Placa de Europa, we find a unique communications tower. Built for the Games to establish an important communications network for these events. Its functional aspect did not impede the telecommunications engineer Calatrava from producing such a unique design that it has meant that the Torre de Calatrava will remain and not be demolished after the Games as was the original idea.
Other installations on Montjuic which were improved for the Games were Piscina del Poble Sec and the old Palau d’Esports. A substantial revision of the whole mountain was also made, with the reconstruction of the gardens, look-out points, parking, and service areas as well as the funicular that connects the underground to the Miramar area. An escalator from Placa del Univers, next to the Font Magica and up to the Olympic Stadium solved the problem of mass access to the mountain which as was anticipated, has finally achieved the function the people of Barcelona wished for.
The Museu Ethnologic and Colonial, the Museu Arqueologic, the Mercat de Les Flors, the Teater Grec, and above all the modern building of Miramar which houses the Fundacio Miro are also worthy of mention. The Fundacio Miro is an enormous, complex building, for exhibitions, where a synthesis of the work throughout the life of the Barcelona artist is displayed. His particular style has left its mark on various points of the city.
The building was constructed by Josep Luis Sert and was officially opened in 1976, as the Fundacio Joan Miro I Center d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani. In the upper part of Montjuic park, in front of the Mirador del Alcalde, beautiful gardens with a view of the Barcelona Port, we find a monument to the Sardana, work of the sculptor Jose Canas. It represents a dance scene typical in Catalonia and, in some way captures the idiosyncrasy of the Catalan people. It is a homage to this dance of which is said, “it is the most beautiful of all the dances which are made and unmade”, a moto representative of this dance of a group with joined hands.
In front of the monument to the Sardana is the Parc d”Atraccions de Montjuic, with several installations for the amusement of young and old. There is also an auditorium with a capacity for more than 3,000 spectators. Above this attraction park is the Tele cabin which connects Miramar to the Montjuic castle, which in turn connects with the aerial cable car, which crosses Barcelona port, from Barceloneta to Miramar.