Barcelona's most formal park is also the one most steeped in history. The area was formerly a loathed citadel, built by Phillip V after he won the War of the Spanish Succession (Barcelona was on the losing side). He ordered that the "traitorous" residential suburb be leveled. Between 1715 and 1718, over 60 streets and residences were torn down to make way for the structure, without any compensation to the owners (although many were relocated to the neighborhood of Barceloneta). It never really functioned as a citadel, but was used as a political prison during subsequent uprisings and occupations. Once the decision to pull down the old city walls was made in 1858, the government decided that the citadel should go, too. Work on the park began in 1872, and in 1887 and 1888 the World's Fair was held on its grounds, with the nearby Arc de Triomf serving as the event's grandiose main entrance.
Today lakes, gardens, and promenades fill most of the park, which also holds a zoo . Gaudí contributed to the monumental, Italianate fountain in the park when he was a student; the lampposts are also his. Other highlights include the Hivernacle, an elegant, English-style hothouse with an adjacent cafe and the unusual Umbracle, a glasshouse that contains no glass but whose facades are of bare brick with wooden louvers. Both these structures are on the Passeig de Picasso flank of the park. On the opposite side bordering Calle Wellington is the old arsenal, which now accommodates the parliament of Catalonia.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2009
- Highly Recommended 2010
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- passeig de Picasso 1
- Entrances on the Passeig de Picasso and Passeig Pujades
- Barcelona 08005
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