Taken from Mirador Park, high on the hill, this is what our ship looked like at the port……………early in the morning……
One of the best things we booked for Barcelona was a private tour and guide. See the map on my Featured Photo with all the circles drawn on it? Those were all the places of interest that Christian, with Barcelona Day Tours, took us after picking us up from the cruise port in Barcelona. We had booked the excursion before we left home and Barcelona Day Tours was so efficient in meeting our needs. They considered the kind of places we were interested in, how we wanted to get around (private car) and provided a guide that would be knowledgeable about the sites. We got all this and more with Christian! We could never have seen so many places in the city and learned so much by ourselves! It allowed us to know what we wanted to explore further on the rest of our vacation in Barcelona. At the end of our eight hour private tour, Christian dropped us off at the Hotel Colon, another gem in the city. We liked that we got to see many different neighborhoods in Barcelona. We went first to a park, high on the hill, Parc de Montjuïc, to get an overview of the city! So let’s start there today!
In 1888, Barcelona held the Barcelona Universal Exposition or World’s Fair. Then another World Fair was held there in 1929. There were many pavilions and other buildings built on this hill for all the goings-on at the time! On May 20, 1929 the Olympic Stadium was opened for the Barcelona Universal Exposition. The second-largest stadium in the world, at that time, it was designed for the 1936 Olympic Games. However, the Spanish War commenced, and the stadium was never used. And Barcelona was left with a hill of large, opulent buildings and restaurants.
Finally, everything worked out, many years later, as Barcelona won the bid for the Summer Olympic Games of 1992. From 1985, the entire stadium underwent remodeling, except for the facade, which was conserved. All buildings, facilities, and necessary services were re-done and completed to host the Olympic Games. These beautiful buildings, sitting on the hill, are still very much in use today. They are now museums, restaurants, sporting centers for different events, and an equestrian center! The olympic pool is part of a large aquatic center and still very much appreciated. Even the parking lot is in constant use. Since parking is at a premium in Barcelona, citizens park their cars on the hill and walk up to them for use on the weekends!
Entering Mirador Park, the children make their own Olympic Ring! If I were Barcelona I’d be dancing too! Well done!
This is the view from the park! The city is huge with a population of of 1.6 million within the city limits and the urban area extends to numerous neighboring municipalities within the Province of Barcelona and is home to around 4.7 million people! It’s busy and vibrant!
and another…….. Can you just imagine the Olympic teams marching down this avenue? I can!
Also, on the hill is the famed Montjuïc Castle, constructed first as a defensive fort in 1694. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) Franco made the castle infamous during the conflict. People were imprisoned, tortured or shot there. In 1960, Franco gave the castle to the people of Barcelona to be used as a military installation. But, in 1969 the area was made into a park with Aleppo pines and various palm trees and gardens on the steep slope. The Castle is now Municipal Offices.
The Mirador de l’Alcalde (Mayor’s Viewing Point) is divided into landings that take advantage of the steep slope that overlooks the city from one side and the sea in another. The levels are connected by flights of stairs and gently sloping parterres, separated by a paving, designed by Joan Josep Tharrat, that is part of Barcelona’s artistic heritage. The paving is made out of materials as varied and original as pebbles, paving stones, bricks, tiles laid edgewise, bottle bottoms, pieces of concrete, steel metal from obsolete machines and manhole covers! I was fascinated with the pavement!
And here are some of the museums and more on the hill.
One last look at the Morning Glories in the park before we make our way down hill……….
Barcelona is so fortunate to have valued all their hard work for the 1992 Olympics that started in the 1920’s! They have maintained their beautiful architecture and made “the hill” a useful and beautiful area used by everyone in the city and around the world! What else was going on in the city then? I can’t wait to learn more about Barcelona! See you next time! There’s plenty of posts on that map!