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Discover the grand Castle of Montjuïc in Barcelona

The History of Montjuïc Castle

The Montjuïc Castle, or Castell de Montjuïc in Catalan, is living history of the city of Barcelona. This old military fortress located on the top of the Montjuïc mountain has been the protagonist of several episodes in the history of the Catalan capital. It is one of the most bittersweet monuments of the city since it has played a fundamental role both in the development of the city and in the repression of its inhabitants, according to each historical period.

The magnificent Castle in Montjuïc
Image Source: The magnificent Castle in Montjuïc

Today we are going to tell you a little more about this interesting and magnificent castle from Barcelona and why you should not miss it during your next visit to the city.

The origin of Montjuïc Castle

The privileged location of the Montjuïc mountain there’s been a military watchtower since the city’s origins. The first fortress was built in 1640, during the revolt against Felipe IV. It was a structure of 4 towers that allowed the sighting of the enemy approaching both by land and by sea.

Montjuic Castle History
Image Source: Drawing of the Castle, Barcelona

The fortress was demolished and rebuilt in the form of a castle in 1751 by the military engineer Juan Martín Cermeño. The castle has undergone various reforms and extensions depending on the army or ruler who had it in possession. The last reforms were made between 1779 and 1799 and left the castle as we know it today.

The castle has had various uses throughout its history. Since the origin of the city, this position has served as a military enclave for the different armies that have attacked or defended the city. Its elevated position allowed the invading armies to bombard the city from above, either to try to dominate the city or quell different revolts. In other historical periods, it has been used as a center for detention, trial and execution.

The Castle of Montjuïc during the 20th Century

The Montjuïc Castle played an important role in the Spanish Civil War. The castle was the place where detainees were imprisoned in the Barcelona Tragic Week. After the uprising, the city of Barcelona was an important enclave of the republican government. During this time, the castle was converted by the Frente Popular into a prison and place of execution for all types of prisoners. After the victory of the national side, roles changed and the castle became a prison and place of execution for prisoners of the Republican side.

Throughout the time, many important figures in the history of Spain have been executed within its walls. Manuel Goded, along with the commander of Infantry José López-Amor Jiménez and the captains Enrique López Belda and Luis López, responsible for the military uprising in Barcelona, were shot at the Montjuic Castle. One of the best known was the president of the Generalitat, Lluís Companys.

In 1960, the Ministry of Defense partially ceded the Castle to the city of Barcelona. Since 2007 there is a collaboration agreement between the City Council, the Generalitat, the Ministry of Defense and the Amics del Castell de MontjuÏc Association, which are responsible for managing the castle. It is foreseen that in the future it will serve as the site of a Peace Center, a museum that explains its history by advocating not to repeat the mistakes of the past. At present, the Castle offers guided tours, permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as workshops and other cultural activities.

The Montjuïc Castle today

Montjuic Castle Barcelona Today
Image Source: Panoramic View of the Castle, Barcelona

How to get to the Castle?

You can access the castle by car, by public or private bus, on foot or by bike. If you go in your own vehicle you should know that there is a large parking lot next to the Castle which you can access through Carrer Dels Tarongers. The parking price ranges from € 1.90 to € 3 per hour and is also open to private buses. If you decide to use public transport, bus 150 goes from Plaza de España to the top of the Castle in about 20 minutes.

However, the most attractive and tourist option to reach the castle is the cable-funicular combination. For this, we must take the Montjuïc Funicular, located at Paral.lel metro stop, on line L3 (green). The funicular will take us to the Montjuïc Park Station, where we can get into the cable car, which will take us to the top while enjoying spectacular views. If you decide to walk to the top of the station, keep in mind that there are slopes with a high drop in certain sections of the route. But on the other hand, if yo are walking you can enjoy Joan Brossa Gardens or Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Gardens.

When to visit the Castle?

The Castle of Montjuïc has two different schedules depending on the season. From November 1 to February 28 it opens until 6 PM, while from March to October it opens until 8 PM. January 1 and December 25 will remain closed. February 18, May 18 and September 24 are open days, so access is free for everyone.

How much it cost?

Accessing to this historic fortress costs 5 euros, while the reduced entrance is only 3 euros and can benefit from it people between 16-29 years, over 65, unemployed, people with a library card, beneficiaries of the Tarjeta Rosa, large families, single-parent families and groups of more than 10 people.

The first Sundays of each month are free throughout the day, while the rest of Sundays of the year, you can enter for free after 3:00 p.m. It must be remembered that the entrance includes visiting the Montjuïc Castle with temporary and permanent exhibitions.

A truly complete historical visit

The Castle of Montjuïc is a tourist visit that is worth it. Not only you can see its exhibitions or its architecture and review its history, but also you can visit its courtyard, the terrace or the ravelin. The walls, the moat or the canyons are other elements of the castle that you can admire and touch in person. You can also enjoy time contemplating the fantastic views from the top and you will understand even better the importance of the of the castle’s location. A 360º panoramic view of the city of Barcelona. It’s magical.

In the Moat of Santa Eulalia, one of the castle’s moats, the Municipal Archery Field has been implemented, a municipal sports equipment with restricted use for this sports lovers.

Archery Field Montjuic Castle
Image Source: Archery Field in the Castle, Barcelona

During the summer months, screenings are organized in the same castle’s moat. The event is known as “Cinema a la fresca”, open-air cinema. Therefore, if you are in the city these days and want to know the castle, enjoy a live concert and a good movie, come to Montjuïc!

Featured image: Entrace and moat of the Castle, Barcelona