In the Sants-Montjuïc district of Barcelona there is the Montjuïc mountain, a 177-meter-high peak that goes into the Mediterranean Sea. But Montjuïc is not just a mountain, its slopes, its rocks hide a lot of interesting places that are worth discovering. The list is extensive, but we have selected some of the most emblematic places on the mountain of Montjuïc.
Montjuïc history: a military fortress at the top
At the top of the Montjuïc mountain we find Montjuïc Castle, a military fortress that became a military museum after the civil war and which is currently a municipal facility that depends on the Barcelona City Council. The first stones of this fortification date back to the 17th century, during the war against Felip IV, and then the fortress was a fort with two square squares and bastions. Later, it played an important role during the War of Succession against the troops of Felip V, who took control of the fortress. Catalans recovered the castle of Montjuïc, but in 1714 they had to transfer it definitively due to the defeat in front of the Bourbon troops.
In the early nineteenth century, it was occupied by Napoleonic troops, and to choke a spontaneous revolt in Barcelona, from the castle of Montjuïc bombed the city for 12 hours in a row. Throughout this century the fortress became a prison for victims of political and social repression, and thus continued in the 20th century, during the Spanish Civil War. One of the most famous prisoners was the president of the Generalitat de Catalunya Lluís Companys, who was tried and shot in the castle of Montjuïc in 1940. The fortress was held as a military prison until 1960, and from there, already in the decline of the building, it was transferred to the city as a Military Museum. In 2007, the Military Museum was dismantled and, after a series of rehabilitations, the castle of Montjuïc was opened again to the public to visit it and get to know its history. A visit that, without a doubt, you cannot miss if you are in Barcelona.
Art on the Montjuïc mountain
On the hillside of Montjuïc there is an imposing classic-style palace inspired by the Spanish Renaissance architecture, which is now the seat of the MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia), one of the most important museums in Barcelona. The palace was built between 1926 and 1929 for the International Exposition of Barcelona and in 1934 it became the Museum of Art of Catalonia. In this first phase, the museum exhibited collections of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque art. But in 1990, seeing the need to have a national museum in Catalonia, the collection of modern art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was added, a large collection of drawings and prints and a numismatics. Officially, on November 14 of that year, what today is the MNAC was inaugurated. Now the museum hosts a great diversity of artists, collections and temporary exhibitions, as well as doing educational, cultural activities and the recovery and preservation of artistic works.
Palau Sant Jordi, the music of the Montjuïc mountain
The mountain of Montjuïc also takes place for the sport, and for that reason during the Olympic Games of Barcelona 1992 was builded the Anella Olímpica. One of the most emblematic buildings of this space is Palau Sant Jordi, designed by the Japanese architect Arata Izosaki. Considered a jewel of architecture and modern engineering, the Palau Sant Jordi is a multipurpose space that can adapt to all kinds of events, whether sports or cultural. Regarding sporting events, it has been done from athletics championships, to different Final Four of basket, tennis and swimming championships, and also motor events such as indoor trial and motocross.
But if something is known Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona is for the concerts that are done thanks to its impeccable acoustics and the great capacity of the public. In 2002, Bruce Sprinsteeng made a concert that was recorded on DVD as an official concert of the tour of that year. But for its stage, there have been all kinds of styles and artists, for example pop divas such as Madonna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga or Rihanna, rock kings like Queen, U2, Coldplay or Lenny Kravitz, as well as metal gods like Iron Maiden, Metallica, AC / DC or Deep Purple. Local and national artists have also filled Sant Jordi, such as Alejandro Sanz, Miguel Bosé, Amaral or Estopa. And if there is a concert that marked an important moment in the history of the Palau Sant Jordi it was on June 14, 1991. The concert brought together four groups of Catalan rock, Sau, Sopa de Cabra, Els Pets and Sangtraït in a very special night for Catalans, later remembered as "the great night of the Sant Jordi". Palau Sant Jordi is, therefore, a space for all audiences and for all possible shows.
Montjuïc also have a place for dead
On the southern slope of the Montjuïc mountain, the largest cemetery in Barcelona extends. It was inaugurated in 1883 as a result of the great urban and demographic growth that the city lived in the mid-nineteenth century. The architect was Leandre Albareda, and included many elements of Modernism, the artistic and cultural movement in force at the time, which is why it is a good place to learn more about this style. The cemetery of Montjuïc, besides being a monumental necropolis that looks to the sea, is also an almost obligatory place for any art lover. There are numerous sculptures, iron and stone works, pantheons and architectural groups that are worth discovering beyond the dead ones buried. A place of peace and tranquility for a walk.
If you are in Barcelona and want to discover the most emblematic places of the Montjuïc mountain, take a look on our e-baike tour that will guide you to this magic mountain!