Montjuic: The mountain in the south of Barcelona
Attractions | 15.05.2020
Montjuic (Montjuïc) is a mountain in Barcelona more than 170 meters high, which houses a fortress, a cemetery, museums, gardens and tourist attractions. It is located on the shore, near the port, in the southern part of the city. There are two versions of the name of the mountain: the "Jewish mountain" from the Catalan Mont juïc and the "mountain of Jupiter" from the Latin Mons Jovicus. The height of the hill, according to various sources, ranges from 172 m to 190 m.
About the mountain
The history of Barcelona is inextricably linked with the mountain: even in antiquity, Iberians settled there, as evidenced by the finds stored in the Museum of the history of the city. At the top there was a watchtower to protect the city, and in 1640 a fortress was erected for the same purpose. In the 20thcentury, the mountain was gradually being arranged well, during this period parks were laid and tourist sites were built. In 1926, Montjuic became the venue for the World Exhibition, and in 1992, for the Olympic Games. There are several legends and secrets related to the mountain: it is believed that numerous tunnels are located at the base, and there is a special energy field in the vicinity. The mountain has always attracted hermits, and in the Middle Ages numerous chapels were erected there.

Montjuic Hill has long served as a stone quarry, from which stone the main buildings of Barcelona, for example, the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, were built. The stone was mined up to the 80s of the 20thcentury, which greatly changed the appearance of the mountain and led to the formation of beaches and sands to the east of the mountain.
It's better to schedule a whole day for Montjuic. At the foot of the mountain is Placa Espanya with the Magic Fountain (Font Màgica de Montjuïc), where a light music show is held in the evenings, and the National Palace with the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC), a ticket costs €12, official website. This museum houses a large collection of Romanesque art from the 11th-13thcenturies, as well as works by El Greco and Velazquez. The platform in front of the MNAC offers a magnificent view of Barcelona and another mountain – Tibidabo, on summer evenings it is pleasant to sit on the stairs and listen to street musicians. Pay attention to the four ionic columns, they were restored in 2010 and symbolize the four stripes of the Catalan flag.

A little higher than Plaza de España, the Spanish village (Poble Espanyol) is opened, where the most picturesque city nooks are recreated: buildings, squares and streets from different regions of Spain. There are workshops of craftsmen, cafes and events are held. Ticket costs from €6.3, the official website.
Another museum in Montjuic is the Foundation of Joan Miró, a famous Catalan artist, admission to the museum costs €13, website. On Montjuic you will also find the Ethnological Museum (Museo Etnológico de Barcelona) and the Archaeological Museum (Museo de Arqueología de Cataluña en Barcelona).

A number of buildings remind of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992: The Olympic Stadium (Estadio Olímpico Lluís Companys), the Palau Sant Jordi Sports Palace, the Samaranch Olympic Sports Museum and the Piscines Bernat Picornell Pools. The entire complex is called the Olympic Ring (Anella Olímpica de Montjuïc). Another recognizable attraction is Torre de Comunicacions de Montjuïc telecommunication tower, designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava. It was built specifically for the broadcast of the Games. The futuristic-style building also serves as a sundial.
The jewel of the mountain is gardens and parks: a botanical garden (Jardí Botànic de Barcelona), the admission costs €3.50, and a cactus garden of Llobera (Jardins Mossèn Costa i Llobera) with 350 species of these spiny plants.

On the side facing the sea, there is tiered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world – Cementiri de Montjuïc. The best painters and sculptors worked on the creation of tombs and crypts. Among those buried there are artist Joan Miro, city planner Ildefons Cerda, Barcelona vampire Enriqueta Martí, IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. The cemetery is available for independent excursions, but it is more interesting to visit it with a guide.

The hill is crowned by the fortress of Montjuic (Castell de Montjuïc). The sad episodes of Catalan history are connected with it: it served as a place of fierce fighting, a prison and a place of execution during the Franco regime. Now the ditches are turned into green lawns, film screenings in the fresh air are held there in the summer, and amazing views of the city open from the observation deck. Ticket price is €5, website.
There are several modes of transport to Montjuic:

  • Bus 150 runs from Plaza de España around Montjuic to the fortress. The escalation takes about 20 minutes.
  • Funicular de Montjuic departs from Paral-Lel metro and travels to Montjuic Park.
  • Cable car (Telefèric de Montjuïc) goes from Avinguda Miramar to the castle with an intermediate stop Plaça de la Sardana.
  • Another cable car runs from Barceloneta above the port to the Miramar Montjuic- Transbordador Aeri del Port station, one-way ticket costs €11, round-trip ticket – €16.5, official website.
Do you know?
  • On Montjuic, a Formula 1 racing track has been laid. The first competitions were held in 1933, the last – in 1975, when the accident occurred: the car hit the marbles and people died. After this, race is not held on Montjuic. The track is difficult due to counterclockwise movement and a combination of turns.
  • During the construction of the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family by the architect Antonio Gaudi, it was planned that it should be 1 meter lower than the highest mountain of Barcelona at that time – Montjuic. The height of a human creation should not exceed the height of the creations of God. The height of the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is 170 meters.
  • In 1927, the Olympic Stadium was built in Barcelona, and in 1936 the city claimed the right to host the Summer Olympic Games. But, by decision of the IOC, Berlin became the capital of the Games. The capital of Catalonia waited for its Olympics until 1992.
  • In the gardens of the Jardins de Laribal, the Font del Gat fountain is located: water flows from a cat's head. The children's song Baixant de la font del gat and the legend that the fountain attracted sorcerers and witches from all over Barcelona is associated with it. In addition, another fountain in the shape of the devil's head is located a short distance away.
What to see nearby?
If you don't have enough impressions from Montjuic, take a cable car with small red cabins over the port to the Barceloneta area. One-way ticket costs €11, round-trip ticket – €16.5, the official website.

If you are hungry, go down to Carrer de Blai, in the El Poble Sec area, the way from the fortress will take about 2 km. There are many bars with pinchos snacks. One of the most popular bars is La Tasqueta de Blai.
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