Citadel Park, Barcelona

Parc de la CiutadellaParc de la Ciutadella
The Parc de la Ciutadella is a large green space covering some 30 hectares/75 acres on the northeastern edge of the old town. It was laid out on the site of the razed citadel, which Philip V had built to suppress the rebellious population and to safeguard the harbor district. Here can be found pathways, flower-covered terraces, waterfalls and monuments. One of the park's most pleasant attractions is the "Umbracle", a structure of brick and wood with the interior filled with tropical plants. As well as museums and the zoo, some local government offices (including the Parlament de Catalunya) are situated here.
On the southwestern edge, along the Passeig Picasso, and the Museu de Geologica, the Museu de Zoologica and the Palm House.
In 1988, the centenary of the 1888 World Exhibition, a statue of A. Clavé was erected in the basin of a fountain behind the Zoological Museum.

Barcelona Zoo

The Zoo was founded in 1892, and covers some 14 hectares/35 acres of the eastern part of the Parc de la Ciutadella. An astonishing amount of skill and imagination has gone into creating such a varied and wide-ranging layout in the smallest of spaces.
Among the apes special mention should be made of ''Floquet de Neu'' (''Snowflake''), a giant white gorilla, the only one in captivity. Very well laid out are the reptile house and, in particular, the aquarama (dolphinarium), which also houses a giant killer whale, orcinus orca. The circular pool is surrounded by the two-story aquarium, with salt water on the upper level and fresh water below; the dolphinarium can be viewed through reinforced glass.
The bird house with a separate section for nocturnal birds is also well designed.
There are a number of refreshment stalls and picnic tables, some near the centrally located model of Montserrat. The skeleton of a large whale is on open display. It is easy to find the way around, as there are colored symbols on all the pathways indicating the various sections.
Original in concept is the well-known statue of the ''Senyoreta del Paraigua'' (''Lady with the Umbrella'').
Address: Parc de la Ciutadella, E-08002 Barcelona, Spain

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art has since 1945 been housed in the extreme left wing of the Palau de la Ciutadella where the Parliament of Catalonia (regional parliament) is also situated. The Municipal Palace was built in the 18th C. as an arsenal, the museum wing being added about the turn of the century.
The term "Museum of Modern Art" is somewhat misleading, for the exhibits - predominantly works by Catalan artists - go back in time via Historicism the Romantic period. Correspondingly, in the older sections, most of which are arranged in chronological order, the themes are conventional (portraits, genre scenes, landscapes, a few large historical paintings). Of interest is the Art Nouveau section (furniture, pictures, sculpture), and also Expressionist and early modern works and sculptures from the first third of the 20th C.
The visitor then goes up a staircase to the upper floor and here can be seen a graphic collection with a large number of extremely wicked caricatures. The Contemporary Art section, occupying a relatively small area, also displays works by the Catalan artists Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. In future the stock of this section is to be moved to the Casa de la Caritat.
In all the museum provides a representative but fairly restrictive survey of Spanish art (especially Catalan) since about 1830 but is of interest more from the standpoint of art history and less in a general sense.
Address: Parc de la Ciutadella, E-08003 Barcelona, Spain

Museum of Natural History

Museum of Natural Science - Zoological Museum

The Museu de Zoologia stands at the western end of the Parc de la Ciutadella. This somewhat unique building in a pseudo-Moorish mixture of styles was erected by Lluís Domènech i Montaner as a gastronomic concern for the 1888 World Exhibition, and is popularly known as the "castell dels tres dragons" ("Three Dragons Castle").
Temporary exhibitions are held on the ground floor, where there is also a comprehensive insect collection and skeletons of a whale and a mammoth. Other glass cabinets contain mussels and snails as well as stuffed birds. A staircase with an attractive stairwell leads to the upper floor, which houses the major part of the permanent exhibitions. These include a collection of birds' eggs, stuffed mammals (with corresponding skeletons by the side), and preserved molluscs, fish, reptiles and amphibians. At the end of the large main hall, behind a glass door, can be seen a conchological study-collection (mussel and snail shells).
All the collections are used for research and teaching purposes. Although its layout is extremely antiquated the museum is spotlessly clean and orderly and possesses considerable nostalgic charm. It is currently being extended.

Museum of Natural Science - Geological Museum

The museums in the Parc de la Ciutadella include the Museu de Geologia. It is linked with the Institute of Natural Sciences. Opened in 1882, it is housed in a low Neo-Classical building which was built for the 1888 World Exhibition, and is the first museum building in Barcelona which was intended to be used as such from the outset.
The entrance is in the gabled central
section of the side facing the park. In the rooms to the left of the entrance hall can be seen minerals, mainly precious and semi-precious stones (including copies in rock-crystal of the largest known diamonds) as well as exhibits showing the technical applications of precious and non-ferrous metals. Basically, the minerals are arranged according to their chemical structure. At the end of the hall, distinguishable by the light shining through the agate panes, is a darkened room with minerals bathed in long and short-wave ultra-violet light, producing interesting luminous effects. The room to the right of the hallway contains mainly fossils.

Triumphal Arch

The Arc de Triomf forms the main architectural feature of the spacious Passeig de Lluís Companys, which runs from the Parc de la Ciutadella in a northwesterly direction. It was erected as the prestigious main gateway for the World Exhibition of 1888 by Josep Vilaseca. The brickwork incorporates elements of Moorish style; the reliefs depict allegories of trade, industry, agriculture and art. It has recently been restored at a cost of 120 million pesetas.


Right at the rear Citadel Park you will come to the ostentatious Cascade, supplied by a canal and containing a number of allegorical figures and gargoyles in the form of animals. In front of it stands the Music Pavilion and a giant bronze statue of a cat on which children love to play, as well as a large one of a mammoth pointing to the nearby Zoo.

Mercat del Born

A short distance to the southwest of the Parc de la Ciutadella and on the far side of the Passeig de Picasso stands the Mercat del Born, once the largest market hall in the city. It was built on a steel skeleton in 1873-76 from designs by the architects Antoni Rovira, Josep Fontserè and Josep Comet. Today the hall is used as a cultural center with regular functions and temporary exhibitions.

Museum of Natural Science

The Geology and Zoology Museums merged to form the current Museum of Natural Science. Exhibits are abundant in cave-dwelling beetles and vertebrates from the Iberian Peninsula. Other highlights include rocks, fossils, and minerals from the Vidal and Cervelló Collections.
Address: Parc de la Ciutadell, E-08003 Barcelona, Spain


On the southwestern edge of the Parc de la Ciutadella, along the Passeig Picasso, stand the Hivernacle, a large glazed iron building dating from the turn of the century (recently restored and used for exhibitions and cultural events).

Palm House

Next to the Geological Museum stands the Palm House with its exotic flora.

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