Parc de la Ciutadella

The Parc de la Ciutadella (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈpaɾɡ də lə siwtəˈðeʎə]; "Citadel Park") is a park on the northeastern edge of Ciutat Vella, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. For decades following its creation in the mid-19th century, this park was the city's only green space. The 70-acre (280,000 m2) grounds include the city zoo (once home to the albino gorilla Snowflake, who died in 2004), the Palau del Parlament de Catalunya, a small lake, museums, and a large fountain designed by Josep Fontserè (with possible contributions by the young Antoni Gaudí).

Parc de la Ciutadella
Ciutadella Park fountain
The park's fountain
TypeHistorical garden
Coordinates41°23′17″N 2°11′15″E / 41.38806°N 2.18750°ECoordinates: 41°23′17″N 2°11′15″E / 41.38806°N 2.18750°E
StatusOpen all year
WebsiteParcs i jardins de Barcelona



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Map of the military compound of Ciutadella

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, and in order to maintain control over it, and to prevent the Catalans from rebelling as they had in the previous century, Philip V built the citadel of Barcelona, at that time the largest fortress in Europe.

A substantial part of the district it was constructed in (La Ribera) was destroyed to obtain the necessary space, leaving its inhabitants homeless. The fortress was characterized by having five corners, which gave the citadel defensive power, and by a rather wide surrounding margin, serving as location for the army's cannons. It included enough buildings to house 8,000 people.

Hundreds of Catalans were forced to work on the construction for three years, while the rest of the city provided financial backing for this and for warfare-related expenses as well, with a new tax named el cadestre. Three decades later a quarter was rebuilt around the fortress named Barceloneta, which is located inside the neighborhood Ciutat Vella.

In 1841 the city's authorities decided to destroy the fortress, which was hated by Barcelona's citizens. Yet two years later, in 1843, under the regime of Maria Cristina, the citadel was restored. In 1848, after Maria Cristina's abdication and as the citadel lost its use, General Espartero razed most of the buildings within the fortress as well as its walls by bombarding it from the nearby mountain fortress Montjuic, which helped him gain political popularity. By 1869, as the political climate liberalised enough to permit it, General Prim decided to turn over what was left of the fortress to the city and some buildings were demolished under Catalan orders, for it was viewed as by the citizens as a much-hated symbol of central Spanish government.

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 park's bandstand, Glorieta de la Transsexual Sònia, is dedicated to a transsexual, Sonia Rescalvo Zafra, who was murdered there on 6 October 1991 by right-wing extremists.[1]


Font de la Cascada 02
Quadriga de l'Aurora on the top of the Font de la cascada
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The lake in the Parc de la Ciutadella

The Cascada (waterfall or cascade in Spanish) is located at the northern corner of the park opposite to the lake. It was first inaugurated in 1881 without sculptures or any meticulous details, and was thereby criticized by the press, after which this triumphal arch was thoroughly amended by the addition of a fountain and some minor attributes, which required six years of construction from 1882 to 1888, and was thenceforth put on display at the Universal Exhibition, and hitherto not been redesigned. It was erected by Josep Fontsére and to a small extent by Antoni Gaudí, who at that time was still an unknown student of architecture. Fontsére aimed to loosely make it bear resemblance to the Trevi Fountain of Rome. Two enormous pincers of gigantic crabs serve as stairs to access a small podium located in the centre of the monument. In front of it a sculpture (designed by Venanci Vallmitjana) of Venus standing on an open clam was placed. The whole cascade is divided in two levels. From the podium on a path leads to the Feminine Sculpture and to the northeastern corner of the park, and upon following the route down the stairs the fountain's pond is rounded and the southern tip of the artifact is reached.


The zoo's main entrance

The zoo of Barcelona is located in the park of the ciutadella due to the availability of a few buildings which were left empty after the Universal Exposition of 1888. It was inaugurated in 1892, during the day of the Mercé, the patron saint of the city. The first animals were donated by Lluís Martí i Codolar to the municipality of Barcelona, which gratefully approved of their accommodation in the zoo.
Nowadays, with one of the most substantial collections of animals in Europe, the zoo affirms that their aim is to conserve, investigate, and educate.
From 1966 to 2003 the zoo was home to the famous albino gorilla Snowflake, who attracted many international tourists and locals.
Apart from the usual visits, different types of guided tours or other activities are offered, like for example 20 types of diversionary workshops, excursions and fieldtrips for schoolchildren, or personnel training and educational courses in zoology for adults. More than 50,000 children visit the zoo on an annual basis, which is the reason for the zoo's emphasis on education.

Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona

Castell dels Tres Dragons 01
The facade of the Castle of the Three Dragons
Castell dels Tres Dragons 02
Ceramics on the facade of the Castle of the Three Dragons

The Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona comprises a museum of zoology and a museum of geology, both sited in the park, but also other science facilities elsewhere in Barcelona. The Museu Martorell (the Geology Museum) was administrated by the city of Barcelona from 1882 to 2010. The Museum of Zoology was administrated by the city from 1920 to 2010. Both museums are closed for the moment as the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona is planning new functions for them.

The Castle of the Three Dragons was constructed for the Exposición Universal de Barcelona (1888) by the architect Lluís Doménech i Montaner to serve as an exhibition. Most of the building is constructed of red brick. Later, in 1920, it reopened as the museum of zoology. In the time when the museum was opened to the public, the most popular displays were the skeleton of a whale and exhibits dedicated for children. It also kept valuable collections from the animal kingdom; urban birds; and an apiary. The institute's stated aims were to enhance knowledge and conservation of the natural diversity of Catalonia and its surroundings, to promote public education on the natural world, to transmit ethical values of respect for nature, and to stimulate informed debate on the issues and environmental problems that concern society.

The geology museum had permanent exhibitions on the subject of mineralogy, petrology and paleontology; the volcanic region of Olot; minerals' secret colors. Its collections are a legacy of the scientist Francisco Martorell i Peña (1822–1878), who donated his whole collection of artifacts of cultural and archeological importance, his scientific library, and an amount of 125,000 pesetas to the city for the purpose of creating a new museum. The building, built during the same year and named the Corporación Municipal, was designed by Antoni Rivas i Trias.

Als Voluntaris Catalans by Josep Clàra
Als Voluntaris Catalans

Als Voluntaris Catalans

The history of sculpture, a bronze nude of a young man with arms raised, dates back to 1918 when it was agreed to erect a monument to the Catalan volunteers killed on the battlefield under the Allied flags. The work was commissioned to Josep Clarà and its execution can be followed in the minutes of the municipal plenaries of the time. In 1923 the sculptor had already finished the monument, but the arrival to power of Primo de Rivera paralyzed the project. The dictatorship made impossible to celebrate any public act of Catalan self-determination, so the inauguration had to be postponed for thirteen years. Initially, it was considered to place the work in the Lesseps square between the street of the Bishop Morgadas and the one of Septimanía but finally it was located in the park of the Ciutadella where it has remained until today.

The sculpture was subject of violations during the Franco regime. On the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress, in 1952, the monument was hidden by a huge screen. In December 1952 the statue's arms were cut off, so it was covered again with a box until its restoration. In 1954 the brass arms were restored and the young man's genitals got hidden with a vine leaf. The personal notes of the file of Clarà allow to follow in detail the displeasure of the sculptor about the treatment of his work.

On the 75th anniversary of its inauguration, the shameful vine leaf has been removed, thus recovering the original nude that allows us to enjoy the work of Clarà as it was sculpted, in a new location on the shallow bank of the lake.


The Barcelona Metro and Trambesòs station Ciutadella-Vila Olímpica, on L4, is named after the park and the nearby area Vila Olímpica. The entrance to the park, however, is closer to the metro and Rodalies Barcelona (commuter train network) station Arc de Triomf. The city's central bus station Estació del Nord is also close.


[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

  1. ^ Plaque on the bandstand
  2. ^ Schwartz, Mihaela (19 May 2014). "Parc de la Ciutadella – Barcelona's Green Lung". The Free Travel Guide. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona". Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  4. ^ Carlos Sánchez; Júlia Vazquez (1951-02-21). "El Parque de La Ciutadella. Itinerario urbano". Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  5. ^ "Parc de la Ciutadella - Parc de la Ciutadella information and pictures". Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  6. ^ "Parque de la Ciudadela - Historia del parque de la ciudadela en Barcelona y su origen sangriento". Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  7. ^ "Parque de la Citadella, Barcelona". Retrieved 2016-11-25.

External links

1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition

The 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition (in Catalan: Exposició Universal de Barcelona and Exposición Universal de Barcelona in Spanish) was Spain's first International World's Fair and ran from May 20 to December 9, 1888. It was also the first of the two held in Barcelona (the second one being in 1929).

Avinguda Meridiana

Avinguda Meridiana (Catalan pronunciation: [əβiŋˈɡuðə məɾiðiˈanə]) is a major avenue in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, spanning parts of the Sant Andreu, Nou Barris and Sant Martí northern districts of the city. Originally planned by Ildefons Cerdà in 1859 to be one of the two most important thoroughfares in Barcelona, its actual role hasn't been exactly so but still has become a much transited route linking Parc de la Ciutadella with northern parts of Barcelona, crossing Plaça de les Glòries in its way, where it meets other two major avenues: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes and Avinguda Diagonal. It absorbs the traffic coming from the AP-7 motorway, which makes it a densely transited area. The avenue goes through the following neighbourhoods of Barcelona: El Clot, Navas, La Sagrera, Sant Andreu de Palomar, El Congrés i els Indians, Vilapicina, Porta, La Prosperitat, La Trinitat Nova, Trinitat Vella and Vallbona, largely working-class areas of the city.Architecturally, the area is blunt and lacking in aesthetic pretension, but includes a few significant apartment blocks such as the Meridiana tower blocks by Oriol Bohigas, Josep Maria Martorell and David Mackay. Avinguda Meridiana symbolizes instrumental urbanism, being little more than an urban motorway, and very different from Barcelona's main avenues and boulevards.On 19 June 1987, the Basque separatist group ETA planted a bomb in the basement of a Hipercor hypermarket in this avenue that killed 21 people. 41 were injured.

Barcelona Zoo

Barcelona Zoo (Parc Zoològic de Barcelona in Catalan, Parque Zoológico de Barcelona in Spanish) is a zoo in the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The zoo used to be internationally known as the home of Snowflake, the only known albino gorilla, who died in 2003.

Barceloneta (Barcelona Metro)

Barceloneta (Catalan pronunciation: [bəɾsəluˈnɛtə]) is a station belonging to line L4 of Barcelona Metro. It is located in La Barceloneta neighbourhood, close to the beach and Parc de la Ciutadella. This is the station nearest to Barcelona França railway station, one of the city's major railway stations and one of the R2 commuter line stops.

The station is the least deep underground metro station in the whole system.

Basilica of Saint Joseph Oriol

The Basilica of Saint Joseph Oriol is a basilica in Barcelona, Catalonia.

Carrer de Pujades, Barcelona

Carrer de Pujades and Passeig de Pujades, before 1900 rendered Pujadas, are respectively a street and a promenade in the Poblenou and Sant Martí de Provençals areas of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain). It's named after the poet and historian Jeroni Pujades, who penned a Universal Chronicle of the Principality of Catalonia in the 16th century. In Ildefons Cerdà's urban plan the street was to be named U street. It starts by Passeig de Picasso and Passeig de Lluís Companys, and runs to the north-east of Poblenou, at Carrer de la Selva de Mar, near Avinguda Diagonal. It borders one of Barcelona's biggest parks, Parc de la Ciutadella and crosses the city's new development district, 22@. Some 19th-century and early-20th-century industrial architecture is still to be found in the area, along with late-20th-century developments, despite their being replaced by newer structures and office buildings.

Ciutadella – Vila Olímpica (Barcelona Metro)

Ciutadella | Vila Olímpica (Catalan pronunciation: [siwtəˈðeʎə ˈβilə uˈlimpikə]) is the name of a station in the Barcelona Metro network, as well of a nearby Trambesòs station in the Sant Martí district of Barcelona. It's named after one of Barcelona's major parks, Parc de la Ciutadella, and Vila Olímpica, a neighbourhood in the immediate vicinities. It's served by L4 (yellow line), and tram route T4, of which it is a terminus. It was built in 1977 under Parc de Carles I. It was closed between 1991 and 1992 because of infrastructure improvement with the occasion of the 1992 Olympic Games, and again as of mid-2007 due to improvement of L4.

Within two blocks stands the Ciutadella campus of Pompeu Fabra University and the station is often crowded with university students. In summer it's also common to spot tourists heading to the Barceloneta beach. The nearest metro stations are Barceloneta and Bogatell.

Before 1982 it was known as Ribera (named after the neighbourhood), and from then to 1992, simply as Ciutadella.

El Parc i la Llacuna del Poblenou

El Parc i Llacuna del Poblenou is a neighborhood in the Sant Martí district of Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain). The cores from this area were established around several parks (Parc de l'Estació del Nord, Parc de la Ciutadella), and the road that connected with el Clot, el Poblenou and la Llacuna. Previously, the nearest park was known as Fort Pius (some entities of the region retain this reference), which extended also to some islands that are in the neighborhood of la Vila Olímpica del Poblenou.

El Poblenou

El Poblenou (Catalan pronunciation: [əl ˌpɔbːləˈnɔw]; Catalan for "new village") is an extensive neighborhood of Barcelona (Sant Martí district) that borders the Mediterranean sea to the south, Sant Adrià del Besòs to the east, Parc de la Ciutadella in Ciutat Vella to the west, and Horta-Guinardó and Sant Andreu to the north. It is technically part of the Eixample, its layout having been drafted by Ildefons Cerdà, although the historic center of the neighborhood (which was once a town entirely separated from Barcelona) predates the grid.

Josefa Texidor Torres

Josefa Texidor i Torres (also known as Pepita Texidor and Teixidor; 17 November 1865 - 8 February 1914) was a Spanish painter. Born in Barcelona in 1865, she was trained by her father, José Texidor Busquets, her brother, Modest Texidor Torres and later she studied under Francesc Miralles. Her brother wanted her to dedicate herself to the painting of portraits, but Pepita preferred, from the beginning, the use of watercolours and the painting of cultivated flowers. Pepita was trained in music, singing and painting and often travelled. She remained single and dedicated herself to family and charity work. She participated in many exhibitions in Barcelona and at the Exposition Universelle (Paris, 1900), where she was awarded a silver medal for her flower sprays in Springtime and Autumn. She was nominated an honorary member of the "Union des femmes peintres et sculpteurs". She died at the age of 39 in Barcelona in 1914, after a year of severe illness. On 21 May 1914 meetings began to commission a bust for the Parc de la Ciutadella. A tombola was held to raise funds through the sale of paintings by her father and brother, along with works from painters of the time, like Lluïsa Vidal, Isabel Baquero, Rafaela Sánchez Aroca, Visitació Ubach, Ramon Casas, Claudi Lorenzale, Santiago Rusiñol, Modest Urgell, Apel·les Mestres, etc.; and works also of dead artists, like Fortuny, Martí Alsina, Vayreda, etc. Apel·les Mestres dedicated a poem to her that he shared with all those who attended the inaugural act. The bust was designed by Manuel Fuxá and was inaugurated on 14 October 1917. (translated source )

In March 1909, La Vanguardia, reviewed a musical composition by Pepita Texidor - "Lola", a graceful habanera for the piano. She was praised for her 'refined talent' with both colours and sounds. The piece was edited by Musical Emporium and the cover was designed by Alexandre de Riquer with a female figure in dance pose. (translated source )

La Ribera

La Ribera (Catalan pronunciation: [lə riˈβeɾə], 'The Shore') is one of the areas of the quarter of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera of Ciutat Vella ("the old city") of Barcelona.

Llorenç Matamala i Piñol

Llorenç Matamala i Piñol (1856–1925) was a Spanish Catalan sculptor.

Matamala was born at Vila de Gràcia, a quarter of Barcelona. He collaborated with sculptor Joan Flotats, with whom he worked in the sculpture decoration of the Parc de la Ciutadella. A friend and collaborator of architect Antoni Gaudí, Matamala collaborated with him in the decoration of the Sagrada Família and the Casa de los Botines.

His son Joan Matamala i Flotats was also a sculptor. He died at Barcelona in 1925.

Palau del Parlament de Catalunya

The Palau del Parlament de Catalunya (Catalan for "Palace of the Parliament of Catalonia"; Spanish: Palacio del Parlamento de Cataluña) is the meeting place of the Parliament of Catalonia, located in Barcelona. It was built between 1717 and 1727 as the arsenal of the Ciutadella, to designs of Jorge Próspero de Verboom.

After the Ciutadella was demolished in the mid-19th century, the building was used for various purposes, including a barracks, a royal palace and an art museum. The palace was the meeting place of the Parliament of Catalonia from 1932 to 1939, when it was dissolved during the Spanish Civil War. With the re-establishment of Parliament in 1980, the palace was renovated and it once again became the seat of Parliament.

Passeig de Lluís Companys, Barcelona

Passeig de Lluís Companys (Catalan pronunciation: [pəˈsɛdʒ də ʎuˈis kumˈpaɲs]) is a promenade in the Ciutat Vella and Eixample districts of Barcelona, Spain, and can be seen as an extension of Passeig de Sant Joan. It was named after President Lluís Companys, who was executed in 1940. It starts in Arc de Triomf and ends in Parc de la Ciutadella, on Carrer de Pujades.

Passeig de Sant Joan, Barcelona

Passeig de Sant Joan (Catalan pronunciation: [pəˈsɛdʒ də ˈsaɲ ʒuˈan]) is a major avenue in the Eixample and Gràcia districts of Barcelona. It was named after an older street carrying this name, also known as Passeig Nou, built in 1795 around the glacis of the Ciutadella fortress.

It starts at the Arc de Triomf, where it meets Avinguda de Vilanova, Carrer de Trafalgar and Passeig de Lluís Companys (its continuation towards the Parc de la Ciutadella), and continues westwards through the Eixample district until it reaches Travessera de Gràcia in the lower part of Gràcia.

Public art in Barcelona

Public art in Barcelona is a designated group of monuments and outdoor sculptures in the city. In conjunction with architecture and a network of museums, parks, and gardens, the works put an artistic stamp on the Catalan capital. Public art in the city developed in the 19th century, although the first municipal commission was the 1673 monument to Saint Eulàlia in Pedró Square.

Artworks are typically located in the interior of niches and on the façades of public buildings. They are concentrated because of the city's enclosure by medieval defensive walls. The walls were demolished in the 19th Century, sparking a boom in public works such as Ildefons Cerdà's Eixample project.

The city annexed several municipalities in the early 20th century, increasing the space available for public art. Some were commissioned for events such as the 1888 and 1929 Expositions, the 1992 Summer Olympics and the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures.


A quadriga (Latin quadri-, four, and iugum, yoke) is a car or chariot drawn by four horses abreast (the Roman Empire's equivalent of Ancient Greek tethrippon). It was raced in the Ancient Olympic Games and other contests. It is represented in profile as the chariot of gods and heroes on Greek vases and in bas-relief. The quadriga was adopted in ancient Roman chariot racing. Quadrigas were emblems of triumph; Victory or Fame often are depicted as the triumphant woman driving it. In classical mythology, the quadriga is the chariot of the gods; Apollo was depicted driving his quadriga across the heavens, delivering daylight and dispersing the night.

The word quadriga may refer to the chariot alone, the four horses without it, or the combination.

Sant Sebastià

Sant Sebastià beach is located in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. At 1,100 meters, it is the longest in Barcelona. This is a sandy beach in the Barceloneta neighborhood of Ciutat Vella district.


Somorrostro Beach is one of the beaches in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is located between Hospital del Mar and Marina Street, in the far east area of the Barceloneta neighborhood, in the Ciutat Vella district. It is 522 m (length) and 89 m (width). The Somorrostro name was forgotten and the beach became one of the most popular in the city. It was not until 2010 that Somorrostro beach got its original name back.

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