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Barcelona Travel Guide


Overlooking the harbor is the hill of Montjuïc, a symbol of pride ever since the Romantics discovered its beauty in the 1800's and a slow project of urban development was launched, beginning with the 1929 World's Fair and culminating with the 1992 Olympic Games. Fairgrounds, first-rate museums, excellent sports facilities, beautiful gardens and parks, an authentic green lung for the city and final resting place for the dead, Montjuïc is indeed a magnificent spot.

There are several ways to visit Montjuïc, walking being one of the most pleasant. Starting from Gothic Quarterthe Plaça de Espanya(68), we pass between two large venetian towers into the fairgrounds which afford us an impressive view of Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina and the giant fountain and steps leading up to the Palau Nacional. The Magic Fountain(69), designed by Buïgas, is a spectacle of light, water, color and music on display from the end of June to the end of September on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

The huge Palau Nacional(70) is the home of the medieval treasures of the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (Catalonian Museum of Art). To the right of the steps, below the Palau, we can admire the 1985 reconstruction of the Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe(71) for Germany's exhibit at the 1929 World's Fair, a jewel of vanguard architecture.

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Taking the Av. del Marquès de Comillas, we arrive at the Poble Espanyol(72) (Spanish Village), a complex comprising full-scale replicas of architectural structures from different Spanish regions. In a relatively easy to visit a typical corner in Castile, Andalusia, Galicia or even Catalonia. Several craft workshops and the Museu d'Arts, Indústries i Tradicions Populars (Museum of Arts, Crafts and Popular Traditions) may also be seen. In the last few years, the complex has also become a very popular night spot.

A little beyond the Poble Espanyol, the Av. del Marquès de Comillas changes its name to Av. del Estadi, letting us glimpse the outline of the Olympic Ring. Here we can find the main facilities used for the 1992 Olympic Games, including the Olympic Stadium(73), a 1920's stadium remodeled for the occasion, the Palau d'Esports Sant Jordi(74) (St. Jordi Sports Stadium) designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, and the INEFC Pavilion(75) by Ricardo Bofill.

Rising on the esplanade of the stadium is a tower designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. The Olympic Ring can also be reached from the Palau Nacional by escalator. Above the Olympic Stadium is the Montjuïc Castle(76), which affords a wonderful view of Barcelona and the plains of Baix Llobregat. The castle now houses the Military Museum. From here we begin our descent. Taking the Carretera Mointjuïc, we come to the Miramar explanade(77) with its magnificent lookout platform over the port and sea. A few yards away, we encounter the gardens Jardins Mossèn Costa i Llobera(78). In the interior, we find the Amusement Park(79). If we continue our descent by the Av. de Miramar, to our left we see the Jardins Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer(80) and a little farther along to our right the Joan Miró Foundation(81); as interesting as a museum as for the building, it was designed in the 70's by Josep Lluís Sert.

Pasing the Foundation, along the Av. de Miramar, we find the entrance to the Palauet Albériz(82) (Albéniz Mansion), residence of celebrated guest, as well as the magnificent gardens. From the mansion we go directly to the winding tree-lined avenue of Santa Madrona, where we find the Ethnology Museum of Catalonia. In front of the Grec Theater(83) we see the Jardins Laribal(84), the first gardens built on Montjuïc and, in the opinion of some, the most beautiful on the hill. On the right-hand side of C. Lleida, we find the Mercat de les Flors Theater. From here we exit the park of Montjuïc, arriving at the Av. del Paral.lel.

Metro: Lines 1 and 3 (Espanya).
Montjuïc Funicular and Teleféric (cable car).

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