The ciutadella

Another point where we can find many artistic demonstrations in the park, La Cuitadella. The demolition of the old fortress, built in the old Ribera district after the War of Succession, made it possible to convert this space into a beautiful area of museums, gardens, and a zoological park for the Universal Exhibition in 1888. The work of the architect Josep Vilaseca, this park has three principal avenues called respectively, “de Los alamos” ( poplars ), “de Los Olmos” ( elms ), and “de Los Tilos” ( limes ). A large lake gives the beauty and distinction water always confers on gardens. The most spectacular monument is the Cascada Monumental, not far from the lake. In Neoclassical style, it is the work of Josep Fontsere and Antonio Gaudi. The statues are by Venancio Vallmitjans and the Quadriga de la Aurora right at the top in bronze is by Rosend Nobis. On the other side of the lake is the Plaza de Armas. Surrounded by an attractive garden and a pond, in the center of this square, is the nude statue “Desconsol by Josep Llimona.

Opposite we find the Parlament de Catalunya, in a building constructed in 1748 and the old Arsenal de la Ciudadela, now converted into the Museu d’Art Modern, where we can admire paintings by Fortuny, Rusinol, Casas, Nonell, Zuloaga and Solana and sculptures by Llimona, Clara, Gargallo, Viladomat, Clarasso, Huguet, Rebull, Miro, Tapies and Salvador Dali. Among the many works of art distributed throughout the gardens, it is worth mentioning the mounted statue of General Prim, the monument to the Voluntarism Catalans de la Guerra 1914-1918, by Josep Clara and the Dama del Paraguas sculpted in 1888 by Roig y Soler, which has since become an amusing and romantic symbol of the city of Barcelona.

At the entrance to the Zoo, we can see a monument dedicated to Walt Disney, by Nuria Tortas. A homage to the cartoonist whose popular animals became celebrated personalities in his films. Before leaving the park we can visit the Museu Martorell, dedicated to petrography, and the Museu d’Historia Natural, the work of Domenech I Montaner.

Leaving the park by the Passeig Lluis Companys, we can see the monument to Ruis I Taulet, Mayor of Barcelona and promoter of the 1888 Exhibition. On the right, we find the Palau de Justicia, finished in 1901 to the plans of Sagnier, Domenech, and Estape. Inside there is a hall of “pasos perdidos” with paintings by Josep Maria Sert.

At the end of Passeig Lluis Company, is the Arc de Triomf, which was the main entrance to the 1888 Exhibition. It was designed and built by Josep Vilaseca and has a high frieze sculpted by Llimona.

The Parc de la Ciutadella

has been one of the main landmarks among the green spaces of Barcelona since the last quarter of the 19th century. This is because of its area, covering, 17.43 hectares ( 43 acres ), and its contents. It was originally designed in 1872 by the master-builder Josep Fontsere as one of Barcelona’s first public parks. It has been altered over the years, including for the Universal Exhibition of 1888.
Of special interest are the landscaped gardens, including the waterfall, the lake, and the bandstand, as well as the Placa d’Armes, the former parade ground. Created by the French landscape engineer Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier, and the tree-lined avenues. The park is rich in plants of different species, some of which are over a hundred years old.

The park was declared an artistic and historic monument in 1951. and is considered an open-air museum because of the number and quality of its sculptures. Outstanding among these is Mamut ( Mammoth ) by Miquel Dalmau ( 1907 ), Desconsol ( Grief ) by Josep Llimona ( 1903 ), a replica of the original ( 1984 ); the Prim Monument by Frederic Mares ( 1940 ), also a replica of the original ( 1882 ) by Lluis Puiggener; the Bust of Manuel Milai Fontanals by Manuel Fuxa ( 1908 ) or the only bust of a woman in the Parc de la Ciutadella, that of the painter Pepita Teixidor, which is also the work of Manuel Fuxa ( 1917 ).

The Parc de Monterols

formerly known as El Turo d’en Gil, owes its origin to the romantic garden owned by the family of the same name. The garden survived periods of speculation to preserve its mysterious charm intact, perhaps because of its difficult relief. Designed by the architect Luis Riudor I Carol and covering an area of 1.94 hectares (4.8 acres) and opened as a public park in 1947. the site conserved its rustic character and the route of its winding, shady paths which cross the park and climb up to the top of the hill, at a height of 121 meters ( 400 feet ).

On the other hand, to adapt it to meet modern needs, paths have been widened to install benches and children’s playgrounds over the years. The addition of squares, avenues, and stairs has made it more suitable for public use, as the original layout was aimed at private use. This rustic wooded park has dense, varied vegetation, consisting largely of native species and others of rural origin. The range of tree species is evident, featuring carobs, cypresses, and flowering cherry trees, among others. The most outstanding tree, however, is an imposing cork oak which is listed as a tree of local interest. Also of interest is the dens undergrowth, with an abundance of laurustinus, Japanese pittosporum, and Italian buckthorn. There is also a space for aromatic plants.

The park features several interesting buildings:

  • The Zoology Museum.
    This building by Domenech I Montaner, known as El Castell dels Tres Dragons ( the castle of the three dragons ), is one of those which survive the universal exhibition of 1888.
  • The Greenhouse.
    Planned by Josep Amargos for the Universal Exhibition, this iron and glass structure has been restored on several occasions.
  • The Geology Museum.
    The work of Antoni Rovira Trias was the first municipal building constructed to house a museum ( 1879-1882 ).
  • The Shade House.
    This was designed by Josep Fontsere and built by Josep Amargos ( 1883 ). It is an unusual building, which makes use of brick, wood, and iron. The wooden lath structure provides shade for the subtropical plants.
  • The Parlament.
    Originally built as an arsenal for the former citadel by Prosper Verboom in the 18th century, it housed the museum of fine art, was the seat of the Catalar parliament during the Seconc Republic ( 1932 ), and once again performs this function today.
  • The Waterfall.
    Designed to Josep Fontsere for the Universal Exhibition of 1888, with some help from Antoni Gaudi. The sculptural work is by different, Catalan artists of the late 19tt century.

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