The Parc de la Ciutadella, although relatively small in size (only 12 hectares), is still a major symbol of Barcelonian life, due to both its historical origins and the important structures it contains.
The Parc de la Ciutadella, although relatively small in size (only 12 hectares), is still a major symbol of Barcelonian life, due to both its historical origins and the important structures it contains. Before the park was built, the space was the site of the Barcelona Citadel, a military fortress built by King Phillip V. The Citadel was a symbol of the oppression of the central Spanish government and the wealthy Bourbons to the Catalan people, serving as both a military stronghold and a prison while it was in existence. As a result, the Catalan people were happy to see it demolished in the mid-19th century and replaced by a park, a place for the community's benefit. Architect Josep Fontserè was conscripted by the city to design the park following the 1888 Universal Exposition in Barcelona, and many of the structures still standing in the park are his creations, including the ornate fountain and artificial pond at the centre of the park.
Significant features of the park include a large zoo, whose claim to fame was the albino gorilla, Snowflake, as well as the Catalan Parliament building, several museums and the lovely Hivernacle and Umbracle greenhouses, constructed out of steel and glass in classic Modern style. Another prominent building in the park is the Castell dels Tres Dragons (Castle of Three Dragons), a striking Modernist structure characteristic of early 20th century Spanish architecture. The castle houses the Zoological museum, which, partnered with the nearby Geological Museum, make up the Barcelona Museum of Natural Science. You might also want to visit the Museum of Modern Art, which can be found inside the Parliament building.
Parc de la Ciutadella
Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003 Barcelona