The Ciutadella Park is located in the district of Ciutat Vella in Barcelona. For decades following its creation in the mid-19th century, this park was the city’s only green space. It was laid out on the old grounds of the Citadel fortress, hence its name, in the image and likeness of the Luxembourg Garden in Paris. It was designed by Josep Fontserè i Mestre and inaugurated in 1881. A few years later, in 1888, it hosted the Barcelona Universal Exhibition. The 280,000 m2 grounds include the city zoo, the Palau del Parlament de Catalunya, a small lake, museums, and a large fountain designed by Josep Fontserè.
It is located in the Ribera district, in the triangle between the station of France, the Arc de Triomphe and the Olympic Village. It is delimited by four main routes: the Paseo de Pujades, the Paseo de Picasso, the Paseo de Circumvallación and Carrer de Wellington. It has ten entrances and has an area of 17.42 hectares (31 with the Barcelona Zoo). It is the largest urban park in Barcelona after Montjuïc.
In the park is the old Arsenal of the Citadel, current headquarters of the Parliament of Catalonia, as well as facilities of the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona as the Martorell Museum (historical headquarters of the Museum of Natural Sciences since 1882 but made of Museum of Geology from 1924 to 2010) and the Castle of the Three Dragons (Museum of Zoology of the Museum of Natural Sciences from 1920 to 2010). The Umbracle and the Greenhouse, dedicated to the conservation of botanical species, are also part of the Museum of Natural Sciences. The Parc de la Ciutadella also houses the Barcelona Zoo and several buildings that include a church and a school (IES Verdaguer). In its land is an extensive collection ofpublic art that makes it an open-air sculpture museum.
In 1714, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Barcelona was laid siege for 13 months by the army of Philip V of Spain. The city fell, Philip V built the citadel of Barcelona, at that time the largest fortress in Europe. In 1841 the city’s authorities decided to destroy the fortress, which was hated by Barcelona’s citizens. By 1869, General Prim decided to turn over what was left of the fortress to the city and some buildings were demolished under Catalan orders.
The chapel (now the Military Parish Church of Barcelona), the Governor’s palace (now Verdaguer Secondary School), and the arsenal (now home to the Catalan Parliament) remain, with the rest of the site being turned into the contemporary park by the architect Josep Fontsére in 1872. Nineteen years later, in 1888, Barcelona held the Exposición Universal de Barcelona extravaganza, inspired by Mayor Rius i Taulet, and the park was redesigned with the addition of sculptures and other complementary works of art. This marked the conclusion of the old provincial and unprogressive Barcelona and the establishment of a modern cosmopolitan city. From that point until 1892, half of the park’s layout was enhanced again in order to obtain sufficient space for the zoo.
The plot on which the Ciutadella park is located is in the Ribera district, in the eastern part of the alluvial plain of the Besòs river. In medieval times it was located outside the city walls. It was a neighborhood of fishermen and sailors, whose main buildings were the church of Santa Maria del Mar and the convents of Sant Agustí and Santa Clara. In 1700, the childless death of King Charles II provoked a succession conflict that gave rise to the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), in which the main European powers intervened: France in defense of the pretender Philip of Bourbon —future Philip V – and the Holy Roman Empire, Britain, the Netherlands and Portugal in favor of Charles of Austria —future Emperor Charles VI.
Catalonia initially opted for Felipe, who swore the Catalan constitutions before the Parliament in 1701. However, some excesses committed by Viceroy Francisco Antonio de Velasco, along with other factors, caused a turn in the sympathies of some Catalan leaders, who in 1705 sided with Charles. Philip V tried to retake the Catalan capital in 1706, with an army that besieged Barcelona by land and sea, but was forced to withdraw. Nevertheless, the success of the French offensive in the battles of Almansa (1707), Brihuega and Villaviciosa (1710) and the withdrawal of the Austrian pretender after his enthronement as emperor in 1711 (Treaty of Utrecht, 1713), left Catalonia alone. Barcelona suffered a prolonged siege (14 months), until the city was taken on September 11, 1714.
To keep the city under firm control Philip V ordered the construction of a fortress, the Citadel, as an integral part of a military complex to dominate the city in which, next to the Citadel itself, the castle of Montjuïc, an old bastion located at the top of the mountain of the same name. The construction of the Citadel was commissioned by the Flemish military engineer Joris Prosper Van Verboom and was carried out between 1716 and 1751. It was a pentagonal walled bastion, with a protective moat and an esplanade of 120 m separation between the walls and the surrounding buildings.
For its construction it was necessary to demolish part of the neighborhood of La Ribera: 1200 houses were demolished, the Rec Comtal was diverted and several buildings of artistic interest were demolished, such as the convents of Sant Agustí, Santa Clara and Mare of God of Mercy, the church of Santa Marta and the hospice of Montserrat. A total of about 4,500 people were evicted, who received no compensation and were left to their own devices. Some were relocated three decades later to the new Barceloneta district, on land gained at sea.
The fortress was formed by five bastions (of the King, the Queen, the Prince, Don Felipe and Don Ferran), joined by rectilinear walls with revellins, and had two other small fortifications in the vicinity, the fort Pius and the one of Don Carles. Inside, the tower of Sant Joan served as a prison and was accompanied by several buildings for the barracks, including the arsenal, the chapel and the governor’s palace. It should be noted that the tower of St. John had been the bell tower of the church of St. Clare, which was used for its new function after some reforms.
Over time, the Citadel became a symbol of repression and many political prisoners were executed in it, especially during the Napoleonic occupation and during the absolutist government of Ferdinand VII. Between 1828 and 1830 Captain General Charles d’Espagnac began a brutal repression against the Liberals, with hundreds of executions and thousands of imprisonments, usually without trial or evidence. In 1836, news reached the city of the excesses committed by the Carlists led the crowd to storm the Citadel Prison and kill about a hundred Carlist prisoners of war. In 1841 the Supervisory Board formed in the city after the accession to power of General Espartero began the demolition of the fortress, but the failure of the anti-Spartan coup of O’Donnell in Pamplona stopped the initiative and the City Council he was forced to rebuild the demolished parts, works that lasted until 1850.
However, at the beginning of the 19th century, various urban improvements were made around the Citadel, such as the opening of the Passeig de l’Esplanada (1797), a wide avenue furrowed with poplars and elms and decorated with ornamental fountains, which during once it was the main green space of the city, disappeared during the urbanization works of the park of the Citadel; or the installation in 1816 of the General’s Garden, the city’s first public garden, an initiative of Captain General Francisco Javier Castaños, with an area of 0.4 ha, which disappeared in 1877 also during the development of the park..
In 1854 the medieval walls of the city were demolished, although this circumstance did not affect the fortress. The demolition of the walls led to the Eixample of Barcelona, which was channeled with a project by Ildefons Cerdà prepared in 1859: the Cerdà Plan instituted an orthogonal layout between Montjuïc and Besòs, with a system of rectilinear streets that delimited a series of octagonal-plan islands. In the outline of Cerda Citadel was occupied by blocks of flats, except for the northern part, where stood a park and a service center; on the other hand, this sector would have been divided by the Meridiana avenue. However, this part of the Cerdà Plan did not materialize.
Finally, with the outbreak of the Revolution of 1868, the way was opened for the demolition of the Citadel: on December 12, 1869, the government of General Prim approved the decree that ceded the fortress to the city, with the condition that the land be earmarked for a public garden and the City Council bear the cost of the demolition. It began with the demolition of the tower of Sant Joan, the military prison located in the Plaza de Armas de la Ciutadella. Of the original fortress, only the chapel (now the Military Parish), the governor’s palace (currently a secondary school, the IES Verdaguer) and the arsenal, the current seat of the Parliament of Catalonia, remained.. The demolition works were carried out by the municipal architect Antoni Rovira i Trias.
Given the prospect of the demolition of the Citadel created after the revolution of 1868, some preliminary projects of architects and master builders already emerged who offered their proposals to the City Council: this was the case of Miquel Garriga and Roca (October 15, 1868, November 17, 1868 and September 29, 1871), Josep Fontserè i Mestre (October 19, 1868) and Ermengol Támaro (February 27, 1869). They all shared the idea of a large leisure area combined with the construction of an exhibition hall, in line with the one built in 1860 in the Camp de Mart – an esplanade in front of the Citadel – for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II.
Fontserè designed large gardens for the leisure of the citizens, inspired by European gardens such as those of William Rent in England, André Le Nôtre in France or the leisure villages of Rome and Florence. Along with the green area he designed a central square with an exhibition hall, a ring road, a monumental fountain and various ornamental elements, two lakes and a forest area, as well as several auxiliary buildings and infrastructures, such as a market (the Born), a slaughterhouse, a water tank (current Pompeu Fabra University Library), an iron bridge over the railway lines and several service huts.
The Fontserè project took into account its articulation with the Eixample de Cerdà: the main roads of the park were framed with the Cerdanya plot, with a preferential orientation towards the new part of the city through the Passeig de Sant Joan; the connection with the old part of the city was made through an orthogonal transition articulated by means of the market; the tracks of the park were differentiated between those destined to carriages in the outside and the footpaths in the inside. Even the planned palace in the central square, named after Fontserè de la Indústria i les Belles Arts, had an octagonal layout similar to the Eixample islands, within which the
This project was carried out only partially: the most important unbuilt element was the great palace in the central square, while of the two lakes only one was installed. It should also be borne in mind that Fontserè did not plan to maintain any buildings in the Citadel, as was finally the case. As for the landscape project, Fontserè combined the rationality of the parterres of classicist affiliation with the exuberance and leafiness of the romantic gardens, in an exercise of eclecticism typical of the historicist architecture of the mid-nineteenth century. On March 22, 1872, the direction of the works was awarded to Fontserè, at the head of a commission made up of the architects Elies Rogent, Joan Torras i Guardiola and Antoni Rovira i Trias. The first works were carried out in 1873, although the works lasted until 1886. This year Fontserè was replaced by Elies Rogent for the works for the Universal Exhibition.
The slowness of the works was mainly motivated by the fact that the commission did not address the project as a whole, but gradually approved partial works, which eventually led to the mutilation of the original project of Fontserè. They were also influenced by the budgetary difficulties generally motivated by the political alternation at the head of the City Council, as well as the lawsuits with the heirs of the former landowners dispossessed by Philip V for the construction of the fortress. Fontserè had the collaboration of a young Antoni Gaudí, who took part in the project of the Monumental Waterfall, one of the neuralgic points of the park, where he carried out the hydraulic project and designed an artificial grotto under the Waterfall. He also probably worked on the entrance gate and on the balustrade of the monument to Aribau.
The gardening work was the responsibility of Ramon Oliva, director of the public gardens of Barcelona since 1874 and also responsible for various gardening projects in other Spanish cities, such as the Campo Grande in Valladolid and the Campo del Moro in Madrid. Oliva, trained in Belgium, applied to gardening the innovations of the Industrial Revolution, especially in the use of machinery, but also in management with business criteria. The first works were carried out in the Born area, where the old Paseo de la Esplanade was converted into a new residential area, the profits of which were used to cover the works in the park; the Born market was also built here. In 1874 the restoration of the monarchy weakened the position of Fontserè, who was a republican, and from the following year all his interventions had to be previously approved by Rovira and Trias. This meant, for example, that the Fontserè project for the Botanical Museum — finally the Martorell Museum — was rejected and replaced by another by Rovira.
The arrival of the mayor of Rius i Taulet in 1881 relaunched the project and during the following years many works were completed, such as the Gran Cascada in 1882, the Umbracle in 1883 —built according to a design by Fontserè— or the Swiss Cowboys —a cafe-restaurant located next to the station of France— in 1884. However, in 1884 it was agreed to keep several buildings of the old fortress and convert them into museums and palaces. exhibitions, which definitively eliminated the Fontesian project of a large central palace. In 1888 the bridge of the maritime section was built, which connected the park with the sea above the railway tracks, the work of the engineer Gaietà Buïgas,Civil War.
On the other hand, in the 1880s a new conception of a park more symbolic and linked to Catalanism emerged, far from the political asepsis that Fontserè had given it, a fact that materialized in monuments such as those dedicated to Prim or Aribau, or in the project of a gallery of illustrious Catalans that would take shape at the turn of the century with the placement of several busts of prominent Catalans in various activities.
A science park
The Ciutadella Park was conceived as a science and culture dissemination park, within the framework of the scientific advances achieved in the 19th century. Many of the architectural works carried out met this objective, such as the Umbracle and the Greenhouse, which, next to a botanical garden that was not finally established, were exponents of conservation and dissemination of botanical species; or the Martorell Museum, which next to the zoo is dedicated to the natural sciences. Due to the location of these museums, Fontserè was inspired by the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, whose natural history museums are located on the sides. In addition to the samples exhibited inside the museums, several exponents of scientific content were placed along the park: outside the Martorell Museum, a series of stones and rocks of various origins were placed, as well as a dolmen and a menhir from Campmany (Alt Empordà); although the latter two are no longer here, the collection of rocks is still visible in front of the museum.
Opposite the Umbracle was also a meteorological park, planned by the sailor, historian and meteorologist Josep Ricart i Giralt in 1884, which included a meteorological column and a marble table with distances between Barcelona and the main cities of the world. The first included a sundial, a thermometer, a barometer, and a hygrometer, at the same time as the marble column, prismatically, marks the four cardinal points; the devices have been lost and today only the column remains. As for the distance table, it is designed in Beaux-Arts style, and has a point in the center that indicates Barcelona and the rest of the cities placed radially.
On the other hand, it was planned to make a series of replicas of prehistoric animals, of which only the Mammoth was made, the work of Miquel Dalmau of 1907, located next to the lake. There must also have been a geological park, of which the only element made was a replica of the mountain of Montserrat, which is still preserved inside the Zoo, dedicated to Iberian fauna. The set was completed with the waterfall, which included an aquarium and a grotto with stalactites, now closed to the public.
The 1888 World’s Fair
The idea of organizing a Universal Exhibition in Barcelona was taken by the Galician businessman Eugenio Serrano de Casanova, but given the impossibility of Serrano to carry out the event alone, the project was taken over by the City Council chaired by Francesc Rius i Taulet. The pageant was originally scheduled for 1887, but the delay in organizing the event led to its postponement to the following year, a date that was even somewhat adjusted to conclude it successfully. but as a new exhibition in Paris was planned for 1889, it could not be delayed any longer.
On April 30, 1886 Fontserè was dismissed as director of the works of the park, as he had been reluctant to host the exhibition on the premises, which would have been affected by the works of the event; in his place director Elies Rogent was appointed. The new architect had to overcome numerous difficulties, including the final abandonment of the army of military installations, as until September 4, 1888 the last building, the ‘arsenal. Rogent extended the urban fabric of the park through the Saló de Sant Joan, Passeig de la Duana and towards the sea through the maritime section of the event. Along with the new constructions, he integrated the buildings of the old fortress and carried out various infrastructure works in the park, especially in terms of gardening, lighting and water supply.
The Universal Exposition took place between April 8 and December 9, 1888. In addition to the official section, a total of 22 countries from all over the world attended and received about 2,240,000 visitors. The incentive of the fair events led to the improvement of infrastructure throughout the city, which took a huge leap towards modernization and development. However, it was the test bed of a new artistic style, modernism, which until the beginning of the twentieth century was what prevailed in the new constructions of the city.
For the Exhibition, the Arc de Triomf was built, designed by Josep Vilaseca in neo- Mudejar style. Among the pavilions of the enclosure, most demolished after the contest, stood out the Palace of Fine Arts, the work of August Font i Carreras, as well as the Palace of Industry, by Jaume Gustà i Bondia. Also noteworthy is the pavilion of the Transatlantic Company, by Antoni Gaudí, and the International Hotel, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The monument to Columbus was built outside the site, the work of the engineer Gaietà Buïgas, with a sculpture by the discoverer by Rafael Atché.
On the other hand, the entire seafront of the city was urbanized, between the Ciutadella park and the Rambla, through the construction of Passeig de Colom and a new pier, the Moll de la Fusta. Also, urbanization began in Plaça de Catalunya, a process that would culminate in 1929 thanks to another exhibition, the International Electrical Industries; the Riera d’en Malla was covered, giving rise to the Rambla de Catalunya; the Avinguda del Paral•lel began and the Passeig de Sant Joan towards Gràcia and the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes to the west were extended. Electric lighting was also provided in the first streets of Barcelona: La Rambla, Passeig de Colom, Plaça de Sant Jaume and the interior of the Exhibition grounds.
Several of the buildings built for the Exhibition have been preserved: the restaurant (known as Castell dels Tres Dragons and belonging to the Museum of Natural Sciences since 1920), the work of Lluís Domènech i Montaner; the Greenhouse, the work of Josep Amargós; the Martorell Museum (historical headquarters of the Museum of Natural Sciences), by Antoni Rovira i Trias; and the Umbracle, by Josep Fontserè.
After the Exhibition the initial euphoria with which the design of the park had been undertaken faded and many of the projects initially thought for the enclosure remained in the inkwell, like a pantheon of illustrious Catalans, a library of Catalan authors, a botanical garden or the conversion of the old arsenal into a royal palace.
The following interventions in the park followed the general lines of the Fontserè project, although with modifications. The goal remained a park dedicated to Catalan leisure, culture and symbolism. The first works were aimed at dismantling the pavilions built provisionally for the Exhibition — some of which remained until well into the twentieth century, such as the Palace of Fine Arts or the central nave of the Palace of Industry., as well as the restoration and consolidation of which were to remain permanently. The main difficulties were to harmonize within the park the area of the old courtyard and the semicircular space left by the Palace of Industry.
The Zoo was inaugurated in 1892, with animals from the private collection of Lluís Martí i Codolar. Two years later, in 1894, in the course of the redevelopment works of the park, two squares with fountains were located, located on either side of the central nave of the Palace of Industry. The first, the source of the Eagle, was demolished in 1963 in the course of some works to expand the Zoo; the second, The Lady in the Umbrella, by Joan Roig i Solé from 1884, is currently inside the Zoo.
In 1904, a velodrome was set up in the park’s main square, consisting of a wooden track for bicycles and wooden stands for spectators. Opened on September 27, at the end of that same year it was dismantled.
During the first years of the twentieth century the park was the subject of numerous studies to establish definitive guidelines on its function and location in the urban fabric, especially before the approval in 1903 of the new urban project for Barcelona., the Jaussely Plan. The old arsenal was restored by Pere Falqués between 1904 and 1915, and this last year it was inaugurated as a Museum of Modern Art. On the other hand, from 1905 the idea arose to hold another international exhibition – which did not take place until 1929 -, so the stage of the Citadel was mixed again, later relegated by the mountain of Montjuïc.
The Floral Games were held at the Palau de Belles Arts since 1908 and the idea arose to place a bust dedicated to an illustrious Catalan character as the culmination each year, taking up the old project of a illustrious Catalans, although in this case outdoors. This custom was followed until 1913, when the following year it was interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. In these years the busts of Manuel Milà i Fontanals (1908), Emili Vilanova (1908), Marià Aguiló i Fuster (1909), Víctor Balaguer (1910), Lleó Fontova (1910), Teodor Llorente (1912) were placed. and Joan Maragall(1913). Most are located in the so-called “romantic garden” in the western part of the park.
In 1911, the Saturno Park amusement park was installed in the fortress’s old courtyard. At the time, it was the favorite place of leisure for Barcelona residents, who enjoyed attractions such as the Los Urales roller coasters, the Water Chutt slide, the Witching Waves electric car track and the Skating Ring skating rink. The site closed in 1921 and was replaced by a garden designed by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, which features an oval pond with the famous sculpture Desconsol, by Josep Llimona.
The casino was built in 1916 between the lake and the waterfall, the architect Josep Planted style French Renaissance. It had two floors, the lower one for a café-restaurant and the upper one where the casino was located. It was demolished in 1964.
The architect and landscape architect Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí, director of Parks and Gardens in Barcelona, carried out some interventions in the park in 1927: he ordered the demolition of the Palace of Industry, restored gardens and buildings, expanded the Zoo, drew a new design for the so-called Military Promenade — from the statue of Prim to Wellington Street — expanded the gardens designed by Forestier and adapted the Circumvallation Promenade to car traffic.
In 1932 the arsenal of the old fortress was converted into the seat of the new Parliament of Catalonia, after the restoration of the Generalitat at the beginning of the Second Republic. The Macià Plan, an ambitious urban project drawn up by Josep Lluís Sert and Le Corbusier that did not materialize, provided for all the buildings in the park to be used for regional institutions.
After the Civil War, some buildings and infrastructures damaged by the bombing were demolished, such as the Palace of Fine Arts or the bridge of the maritime section. The arsenal was again dedicated to the Museum of Modern Art, which was inaugurated in 1945. The church, which in 1934 had been used as a pantheon by the President of the Generalitat Francesc Macià, was converted into a military chapel. The governor’s palace became a women’s high school.
The new Francoist council neglected the park for many years and even approved an expansion of the adjacent fruit and vegetable market which led to the removal of several rows of trees from the Paseo del General Martinez Anido (currently Picasso). This action provoked a reaction from Barcelona public opinion in favor of the park, which led to it being declared a historic-artistic garden on December 21, 1951, following an opinion from the San Fernando Academy in Madrid.
The period at the head of the mayoralty of Josep Maria de Porcioles (1957-1957) meant a new impetus for the park, which was restored and where new projects were drawn up. In 1956, the expansion and modernization of the Zoo was approved, with new, more naturalistic criteria and new facilities that were more attractive to the public. The boundary of the new Zoo, which occupied more than a third of the park’s surface, rendered unusable several sections of the Paseo de Circumvallación, which were destined in 1961 for green areas. Between 1958 and 1965 several projects arose for children: a miniature city, a kindergarten with a library and a traffic park. Between 1961 and 1964 the gardens of the lake were remodeled, fact that entailed the demolition of the casino located in this zone.
After the restoration of democracy the arsenal returned to its parliamentary work and the art collection was transferred to the National Art Museum of Catalonia. At this stage the park has undergone few modifications and its general lines have been maintained. Most of the interventions have been carried out in its surroundings: opening of the lower section of Avinguda Meridiana, partial burying of the railway tracks that leave the station of France, transfer of the market of fruits and vegetables, new metro stations, coastal belt layout and beach sanitation,1992 Olympic Games.
In 1982, the Paseo del Born was opened, which connected the market with the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, with a project by Roser Amadó and Lluís Domènech i Girbau. The refurbishment involved the remodeling of Passeig de Picasso, which had as its most outstanding element the installation of the monument Tribute to Picasso, the work of Antoni Tàpies.
On the occasion of the centenary of the park in 1988 several rehabilitation works were carried out: the Umbracle was restored, the lighting, the irrigation canal and the street furniture were updated, and numerous plant species were labeled.
Among the last interventions carried out are those produced between 2009 and 2010, which generated quite a controversy: the traffic playground was removed, whose land was agglutinated in the Zoo, with the loss of one of the two gardens of expansion of the plaza d’armes designed by Rubió i Tudurí in 1927; and a sports center was built next to the entrance to the park on Avinguda de Picasso, which meant the loss of 2000 m2 of gardens.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, several projects have been formulated to reform and expand the park, one of the main premises of which would be to connect it to the beach, saving the train tracks of the station of France: a first project, developed by Enric Batlle and Joan Roig, was proposed in 2003 under the mayoralty of Joan Clos; in 2012, under the mayoralty of Xavier Trias, another was sketched by Enric Ruiz-Geli; finally, in 2018 another project was announced during the mayoralty of Ada Colau, which in addition to extending the park to the sea would include the rehabilitation of the Greenhouse, the Umbracle and the Castle of the Three Dragons.
The Ciutadella Park is rectangular in shape on three sides and semicircular in its eastern part, marked by the Paseo de Circumvallació. Each one of the three rectangular sides had an inner stroll parallel to the outer routes surround that it, of which two are conserved: the one of the Linden trees, parallel to the stroll of Picasso, where along them the surviving buildings of the 1888 Exhibition; and that of the Àlbers, parallel to Passeig de Pujades, which is currently called Passeig de Joaquim Renart, a painter, decorator and collector, founder of Foment de les Arts Decoratives; the third, that of the WHO, was parallel to Wellington Street, but disappeared in the expansion of the Zoo.
The gardens located in front of the Martorell Museum are named after Fontserè i Mestre, by the author of the park project. A sector of these gardens is also called the Cambalache garden, from an exhibition held at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in 2001, on the terrace of which a mixture of orchard and garden with various objects, a work of natural art by the Sevillian sculptor Federico Guzmán.
The park stands out for its large landscaped area, with large trees and areas for walking, as well as the lake and waterfall. The lake is one of the nerve centers of the park, with several islets and a large profusion of exotic plants and aquatic animals; you can sail on it with rowing boats. Next to the waterfall is the Romantic Garden, with a variety of plant species, within which is the roundabout with the monument to Aribau, on an elevated ground bounded by a stone balustrade with flowers. In the old plaza d’armes there is an oval pond with the famous sculpture Desconsol, by Josep Llimona. Near this square and in front of the entrance to the Zoo is the monument to Prim. The park is lined with several more sculptures, which together form a real open-air museum.
The area also has various facilities, such as a children’s play area, a dog area, bar, toilets, a toy library, a picnic area, ping-pong tables and a composting station.
The park is a regular venue for numerous social and cultural events, and is usually one of the epicenters of the Mercè festivities. It is also often the scene of demonstrations and political and vindictive events, due to the presence of the Parliament of Catalonia, especially on September 11, Diada de Catalunya.
Flora and fauna
The Ciutadella Park has more than a hundred species, many of them planted in the 19th century, making it one of the oldest parks in the city. Linden (Tilia X europaea, Tilia tomentosa and Tilia X euchlora), magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), poplar (Populus alba and Populus alba “Pyramidalis”) and banana (Platanus X hispanica) are abundant.
Found along with other species such as hackberry (Celtis australis), the paulownia (Paulownia tormentosa), the sacred tree (Ginkgo biloba), the acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia), the Constantinople acacia (Albizia julibrissin), the cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa and Cupressus sempervirens), the Australian pine (Casuarina cunnighamiana), the Louisiana orange (Maclura pomifera), the beautiful shade (Phytolacca dioica), the Indian chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), thebald cypress (Taxodium distichum), canary palm (Phoenix canariensis), date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), blue palm (Brahea armata), cassava (Yucca elephatipes), laurel (Laurus nobilis), tamarix (Tamarix gallica)), the oleander (Nerium oleander), the pitospore (Pittosporum tobira) and the eponym of Japan (Euonymus japonicus).
Several of the park’s trees are included in Barcelona’s Catalog of Trees of Local Interest: a Constantinople acacia (Albizia julibrissin), a Louisiana orange tree (Maclura pomifera), an Australian pine (Casuarina cunninghamiana) and a Quercus polymorpha. as well as bald cypresses (Taxodium distichum) from the lake. Opposite the Martorell Museum is a pinaster (Pinus pinaster) that was donated in 1999 by Montserrat Pla, widow of Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí.
The fauna of the park is made up mainly of birds, of which there are more than a hundred different species listed, including the herring gulls, whose colony is currently the most important in Catalonia. Among other species, can be found in the park: Raspinell common, mallard ducks, greylag goose, mitred parakeet, Nanday Parakeet, House Martin, buzzards, great tits, black redstart, parakeets, parrots Kramer, crow,Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Starling, European Starling, moorhen, egret, cattle egret, sparrowhawk yellow legged, gull, sparrow, crow, peregrine falcons, blue tit, Sacred Ibis, goldfinch, white wagtail, Wagtail torrent, blackbird, common mosquito, pigeon, tudó,mute duck, chattering duck, robin, Turkish dove, crested gray heron, crossbowman, etc.
The park has ten entrances, of which two monumental gates stand out, one located on Passeig de Pujades and another on Passeig de Picasso. They were designed by Josep Fontserè, although they were usually awarded to Antoni Gaudí, Fontserè’s assistant at the time.
The doors were built between 1876 and 1880, and have iron bars with lanterns of elaborate design: at the base are reliefs of lions, on which is placed the shaft of the chandelier with the coat of arms of Barcelona and a set of seven or eight balloons of illumination, on which a mast topped by a helmet with crown and a bat rises. Today they are in pretty bad shape.
Another highlight of the doors are the sculptures, two in each of them, located on pedestals flanking the entrance. They are of allegorical significance: in the Paseo de Pujades are Commerce and Industry, the work of Agapit Vallmitjana; in the Paseo de Picasso are the Navy and Agriculture, made by Venanci Vallmitjana. They were placed in 1884.
The Monumental Waterfall was built between 1875 and 1888 with a general design by Josep Fontserè, while the hydraulic project was by Antoni Gaudí. The architectural ensemble has a central structure in the shape of a triumphal arch with two pavilions on its sides and two side wings with steps, which house a pond divided into two levels. The monument stands out for its sculptural profusion, in which several of the best sculptors of the time took part: the wrought iron sculptural group La Quadriga de l’Aurora, by Rossend Nobas, as well as The Birth of Venus, by Venanci Vallmitjana; the pediment is the work ofFrancesc Pagès i Serratosa. Other sculptures are: Amphitrite, by Josep Gamot; Neptune and Leda, by Manuel Fuxà; and Dànae, by Joan Flotats. Also, Rafael Atché made the four grays that expel water from the mouth, at the bottom of the monument.
The music roundabout is located in front of the Monumental Waterfall. The main element is a kiosk where the municipal band was formerly located, the work of Antoni Maria Gallissà built in 1884. Made of stone, iron and wood, it has a circular base with a convex bench of trencadís divided into seven separate sections. by pilasters crowned with spheres, while one-eighth of the base has stairs; on this base is the platform for the band, surrounded by a wrought iron railing, and from here rise eight pillarswhich support an octagonal roof with a structure of beams and posters, topped by an octagonal cupola. In 2013 this space was named the Transsexual Sònia roundabout, in honor of Sònia Rescalvo, a transsexual murdered on this site by a group of neo – Nazis in 1991.
The old parade ground of the Citadel was remodeled in 1921 with a project by the French landscaper Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier. Arrived in Barcelona in 1915 for the landscaping of the Montjuïc mountain for the celebration of the International Exhibition, their presence was used to design this area of the park, which had not yet been converted from its previous military use. Forestier’s project dates from 1916, although it was not carried out until 1921, the date on which the Saturno Park amusement park, located in the square, disappeared.
Forestier’s project was framed in a classicist style consistent with the architectural framework that surrounds it, the buildings of the old fortress from the 18th century. Within the rectangular layout of the square, he placed in the center an oval pond surrounded by a series of flowerbeds that together project the same oval shape. Forestier chose small trees and shrubs for the vegetation, more suited to the geometry of the layout and visual contemplation of the environment. To preside over the complex in the center of the pond, he chose the sculpture Desconsuelo, by Josep Llimona, a modernist workwhich would become one of the park’s emblems —the one that is currently in the park is a copy, since the original was transferred to the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
In 1927 the director of Parks and gardens, Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí, a disciple of Forestier, expanded the route designed by the French landscaper at both ends, towards the lake and the Paseo Militar. On each of these sides he also placed works of art: the Goddess by Josep Dunyach and the Monument to the Catalan Volunteers in the War of 1914, by Josep Clarà, both in the Noucentista style. The eastern side was later joined to the Zoo and Dunyach’s sculpture was transferred to the Paseo de los Alamos.
The main square currently has the name of the square of Joan Fiveller, councilor of the Barcelona City Council at the end of the 15th century, famous for the so-called “confrontation of the vectigal” with King Fernando I, which made it a symbol of municipal freedoms before real power.
Plaza de Armas
The old Plaza de Armas de la Ciutadella was remodeled in 1921 with a project by the French landscape painter Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier. Arrived in Barcelona in 1915 for the landscaping of the mountain of Montjuïc for the celebration of the International Exhibition, his presence was used for the design of this area of the park, which had not yet been converted since its inception. previous military use. Forestier’s project dates from 1916, although it was not executed until 1921, when the Saturno Park, located in the square, disappeared.
Forestier’s project was framed in a classicist style in accordance with the architectural framework that surrounds it, the buildings of the old fortress of the eighteenth century. Within the rectangular layout of the square he placed in the center an oval pond surrounded by a series of parterres that project together the same oval shape. Forestier chose small trees and shrubs for vegetation, more suitable for the geometry of the route and the visual contemplation of the environment. To preside over the ensemble in the center of the lake, he chose the sculpture Desconsol, by Josep Llimona, a modernist workwhich would become one of the emblems of the park —the one currently in the park is a copy, as the original was transferred to the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
In 1927 the director of Parks and Gardens, Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí, a disciple of Forestier, extended the route designed by the French landscape painter at both ends, towards the lake and towards the Passeig Militar. On each of these sides he also placed works of art: the Goddess by Josep Dunyach and the Monument to Catalan Volunteers in the War of 1914, by Josep Clarà, both in the Noucentista style. The eastern side was later agglutinated at the Zoo and the sculpture of Dunyach was moved to the Paseo de los Alberos.
The Plaza de Armas is now called Plaça de Joan Fiveller, a councilor of Barcelona City Council at the end of the 15th century, famous for the so-called ” vectigal confrontation ” with King Ferdinand I, who turned it into symbol of municipal liberties before the royal power.
The Barcelona Zoo opened its doors on September 24, 1892. The first animals came from the private collection of Lluís Martí i Codolar, which he had on a farm in Horta. Its first director was the veterinarian Francesc Darder i Llimona.
In 1956 the enclosure was extended, which reached 13 ha, at the same time as a modernization of the same began, with a more scientific conception and aimed at the preservation of the species; among other things, numerous cages were replaced by open spaces that recreated the natural habitats of the animals. In 1966 came Snowflake, an albino gorilla that became the emblem of the Zoo. In 1972 the dolphin space was opened, as well as an aviary and a terrarium. In 1985 it ceased to depend on the Municipal Parks and Gardens Service and was incorporated as a municipal private company.
At present its main guidelines are conservation, research and cultural dissemination. It also collaborates with various international programs for the maintenance and reproduction of endangered species, as well as programs for the reintroduction of species into the wild. It is home to about 400 species worldwide and has about 7,500 specimens.
Palace of the Parliament of Catalonia
It was built as an arsenal of the ancient fortress of the Citadel. It has 5532 m2, with two floors and an attic, and was built with Montjuïc stone and red tiles. Of French classicist style, it presents / displays a cruciform plant and two floors with vaulted galleries, and four patios between the arms of the cross. The façade stands out for a set of arches that form a porch on the ground floor. It was restored by Pere Falqués for the Universal Exposition, when it was the residence of the royal family.: on the original layout he opened some balconies on the first floor and turned the central courtyard into a staircase of honor; later, between 1904 and 1915, he added two side bodies to the main building. Inside, Falqués developed a modernist- style decoration, inspired by the Paris Opera. Between 1932 and 1939 it hosted the Parliament of Catalonia, for which purpose it was again used in 1977.
The church of the old Citadel continues fulfilling its function nowadays, dedicated to military parish. The author, Alexandre de Rez, was inspired by the church of the Visitation of Paris, the work of François Mansart. It has a single nave with a semicircular apse, a transept with an oval dome over the transept and a semicircular front, with a door flanked by pilasters that support a pediment and a rose window at the top. In the 19th century, side chapels with domes were added.
Palace of the Governor
The old palace of the Governor, today a secondary school (IES Verdaguer), was also the work of Verboom and was erected simultaneously in the church. Of French classicist style, it has a rectangular floor plan, with a large backyard surrounded by several outbuildings.
It is of Pompeian neoclassical style and has a central body with an entrance portico with a pediment on columns and two symmetrical side wings. The façade features two statues by naturalists Jaume Salvador and Félix de Azara, the work of Eduard B. Alentorn. The museum presents several collections of mineralogy, paleontology and petrology from around the world.
It was built with the aim of housing plant species that need shade, especially tropical. It is built with cast iron columns and a wooden framework, with a central section of five trilobal-shaped naves and two fronts at the ends, made of exposed brick.
It is a greenhouse with a metal and glass structure, with two symmetrical rooms joined by a central corridor, higher and with the sides open. It is currently used as a temporary exhibition hall.
Castle of the Three Dragons
The castle of the Three Dragons, was built as a restaurant of the Exhibition, a function that was never fulfilled, as it was not completed in time, and was finally the Museum of Zoology between 1920 and 2010. Modernist in style, it was built with exposed brick and rolled iron. It has a central body in the shape of a three-story parallelepiped, with two facades and four towers at the corners. The top of the building stands out, where there is a ceramic frieze topped with battlements, with shields made by Alexandre de Riquer, Dionís Baixeras and Joan Llimona. It has been the Museum of Zoology for most of its history but has also had various functions, as an industrial arts workshop or as a Municipal School of Music.