Contributor: David Bernard
I’m trying to remember the last time I went to Spain and didn’t explore this castle. For the first time since visiting this city, I actually did not take the time to go up and see this attraction while I was in Spain for two nights last month. Unfortunately I just didn’t have enough time to make the trek, however I definitely regretted it. I’ve seen this castle now four times, and somehow it becomes cooler to me every time I see it.
The structure is set up in several parts. First, there’s somewhat of a climb to the top of the mountain, which takes you along a rather scenic walk around lots of open park space. The area isn’t really residential, so it gives off a rather calm and soothing nature-like vibe. The streets are lines with many open flower beds, gardens, and small ponds of water, making it a very relaxing space.
After taking the somewhat tiring walk up, you’re rewarded with some rather spectacular views of the whole castle. The whole fortress is at the very top of the mountain, and thus has stunning panoramic views over Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea.
As far as the story of the castle goes, it is home to lots of Catalan heritage and history. Although the city is now peaceful, not long ago was there conflict between mainland Spain and the Catalans. As far back as 1640, the castle was constructed and used for military necessity. During the Catalan Revolt, the principality of Catalonia fought back against Spain’s uprising in an effort to remain independent. At the time, the Spanish military had regained many cities, however they retreated at the Battle of Montjuïc after being unsuccessful.
The fortress continued to play a part in several other wars throughout the course of history, with one of the most notable being in the early 1900’s. As a part of the Spanish Civil War between 1936-1939, the castle was used to torture political prisoners, one of whom being the president of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Lluís Companys. He was executed by firing squad in 1940.
Since then, the castle has opened as a military museum (1963-2010) and in 2007 was given by the government to the citizens of Barcelona, where it became a public municipal facility. It can be accessed by public transportation by taking special diagonal subway car at the Paral-lel station, and then either by walking up the mountain or paying to use the gondola lift.
For more information: http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/page/1142/castell-de-montjuic.html
Have you visited the Castell de Montjuïc before? Comment and share your experiences below!