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Parc de la Ciutadella


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A relaxing oasis with fearful memories

Published by Emanuele Benetti — 5 years ago

When in 1714 the Spanish king, Felipe V, had part of the La Ribera district burnt to the ground, in order to build a menacing fortress, few people would have probably thought that the same area would have become the green lung of Barcelona 3 centuries later. Indeed, when the Spanish troops crushed the opposition of the Catalan ones, invading Barcelona and imposing an end to the independence of Catalonia, the mighty castle of La Ciutadella was built. It was intended to be a symbol of the power and control of the Castilian sovereigns over the city.

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Nowadays, the name is the only thing remaining of that hated symbol of oppression and torture. Instead of the castle, which was brought down in 1869, a wonderful park now lays to cheer up the everyday life of the Barcelonians. Besides, in this area, a series of other landmarks which were designed and realized in preparation for the World Exposition is also found. In 1888, indeed, Barcelona hosted the largest international exposition in the world, as further proof of the extraordinary spirit of optimism and dynamism which characterized the city in those years.

The park offers a wide variety of opportunities: from a simple stroll for the gravelly paths to a quiet picnic on the grass, not to mention a visit to the city zoo (which however will cost you 17 euro for the adults and 10 euro for the children). For those who may be interested in an idle walking tour, half an hour will be enough, as the park is not particularly large.

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Setting off from the Passeig de Picasso (which you will reach with a 5-minutes walk from the church of Santa Maria del Mar), the first remarkable work on your way is indeed the tribute to the great painter. Located right out of the park and designed by Antoni Tapies, it consists in a weird sculpture, a real piece of contemporary art.

Once into the park, you will find the paths leading to the zoo and the botanic garden. Making your way towards the heart of the park, instead, you will soon find pleasant and well-trimmed hedges, flanking the paths leading to the National Parliament of Catalonia. One of the symbols of the Catalan pride, the building is open for visitors only on the 11th of September, the Catalan regional feast (Diada Nacional de Catalunya) which commemorates that fatal day in 1714 when the Catalans had to surrender their independence.

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After appreciating a series of colorful flowerbeds, it is possible to move on towards the Cascada, the great artificial fall which is probably the core of the park. Even young Antoni Gaudi took eagerly part in its creation in the early 1880s. This is the place chosen by many Barcelonians to spend their time on Sunday; it is quite common, indeed, to see children running free or chasing giant soap bubbles, families comfortably lying on the grass or even renting a small boat to have a tour for the adjacent pond.

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Back towards Passeig de Picasso, you will see at distance, on your right, the odd silhouette of the Arc de Triomf. Located north-west of the park, on the Passeig de Lluis Companys, it was built at the end of the 19th century, though it is not clear which victory was to be celebrated. Finally, your tour for the park will end right in front of the Castell dels Tres Dragons. The building, projected by the famous architect Domenech i Montaner, is totally made of bricks and, despite its apparently medieval style, it was built only in the 1880s. At any rate, the Barcelonins probably welcomed it quite gladly, as its aspect and its function (it was used as a cafeteria during the World Exposition) were far less threatening than the ones of the castle it had replaced.

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Parc de la Ciutadela: Un oasi di relax con un passato inquietante

Published by Emanuele Benetti — 5 years ago

Quando nel 1714 il re di Spagna, Felipe V, fece radere al suolo parte del quartiere de La Ribera per costruirvi una minacciosa fortezza, pochi avrebbero probabilmente pensato che la stessa area sarebbe diventata il polmone verde di Barcellona 3 secoli più tardi. Fu proprio quando le truppe spagnole vinsero la resistenza di quelle catalane, invadendo Barcellona e ponendo fine all'autonomia (seppur relativa) della Catalogna, fu costruito il possente castello de La Ciutadela. Doveva essere un simbolo del potere e del controllo dei sovrani di Castiglia sulla città.

Di fatto, la fortezza doveva essere davvero impressionante. Isabel Allende, nel suo romanzo "Zorro. Comincia la leggenda", la descrive con le seguenti parole:

Al giorno d'oggi, il nome è l'unica cosa rimasta di quell'odiato simbolo di oppressione e tortura. Al posto del castello, che fu abbattuto nel 1869, si trova ora uno splendido parco che allieta la vita quotidiana dei Barcelonins. Inoltre, in quest'area si trova anche una serie d'altri monumenti, progettati e realizzati in preparazione dell'Esposizione Universale. Nel 1888, infatti Barcellona ospitò la maggiore esposizione commerciale del mondo, ad ulteriore testimonianza dello straordinario spirito di ottimismo e dinamismo che caratterizzava la città in quegli anni.

Il parco offre un'ampia varietà di opportunità: da una semplice passeggiata per i sentieri ghiaiosi ad un tranquillo picnic sull'erba, per non dire di una visita allo zoo cittadino (che però vi costerà 17 euro per gli adulti e 10 euro per i bambini). Se invece siete interessati ad una tranquilla passeggiata, una mezzora vi sarà sufficiente, dato che il parco non è particolarmente grande. Partendo dal Passeig de Picasso (che raggiungerete con una passeggiata di 5 minuti dalla Chiesa di Santa Maria del Mar), la prima opera di rilievo sul vostro cammino è proprio il tributo al grande pittore. Situato giusto fuori dal parco e disegnato da Antoni Tapies, consiste in una strana scultura, una vera e propria opera d'arte contemporanea.

Una volta entrati nel parco, troverete i sentieri che conducono allo zoo ed al giardino botanico. Facendovi strada verso il cuore del parco, invece, vedrete ben presto una serie di siepi piacevoli e ben curate fiancheggianti i sentieri che portano al Parlamento nazionale di Catalogna. L'edificio, uno dei simboli dell'orgoglio catalano, è aperto ai visitatori solo il giorno 11 settembre, festa nazionale catalana (Diada Nacional de Catalunya), che commemora quel giorno fatale del 1714 in cui i Catalani dovettero rinunciare alla propria indipendenza.

Dopo aver apprezzato una serie di aiuole variopinte, si può procedere verso la Cascada, la grande cascata artificiale che è probabilmente il punto focale del parco. Perfino il giovane Gaudì partecipò con entusiasmo alla sua creazione all'inizio degli anni '80 dell'Ottocento. Questo è il posto scelto da molti Barcelonins per trascorrere il proprio tempo la domenica; è assai comune, infatti, vedere bambini correre liberamente o inseguire gigantesche bolle di sapone, famiglie comodamente adagiate sull'erba o addirittura al timone di una piccola imbarcazione affittata per fare un giretto sul vicino stagno.

Tornando verso il Passeig de Picasso, vedrete in lontananza, sulla vostra destra, la curiosa silhouette dell'Arc de Triomf. Situato a nord-ovest del parco, sul Passeig de Lluis Company, fu costruito alla fine del XIX secolo, pur non essendo ben chiaro quale fosse la vittoria da celebrare. Infine, il vostro itinerario per il parco terminerà davanti al Castell dels Tres Dragons. L'edificio, progettato dal famoso architetto Domenech i Montaner, è composto totalmente da mattoni, e a dispetto del suo aspetto vagamente medievale fu realizzato soltanto negli anni '80 dell'Ottocento. Ad ogni modo, i Barcelonins lo accolsero probabilmente con sollievo, dato che il suo aspetto e la sua funzione (funse da caffetteria durante l'Esposizione Universale) erano assai meno minacciose rispetto a quelli della fortezza che aveva rimpiazzato.


Best park of Barcelona?

Published by Barbara Heitner — 4 years ago

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There is a beautiful charming park right in the center of Barcelona. The Parc de la Ciutadella has everything that is needed for some nice hours of relaxation. Both tourists and locals (oh and I guess students also! ) love to make some walks here, rent a boat on the lake, take their dogs for a walk, go running to keep fit, read a book underneath a palm tree or visit one of its touristic sights.

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Here you can find for example the Barcelona Zoo, the building of the Catalan Parliament, the "Castell dels Tres Dragon" and "La Cascada", the astonishing fountain and monument.

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As an extention of the park, you will find a very nice avenue with palms and nice decorated lamps in both sides which ends with famous Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona. It is really nice when so many touristic attractions are gathered in a small area so you can spend a long time to visit them and do not have to walk too much. And be honest, this means a lot for a tourist of his/her 3rd-4th day of walking and walking; especially in warm cities like Barcelona! :)

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Various university buildings (which means toilet for free; )) of Barcelona are situated close to this park. I don't want to imagine how it can be during a school day... but I could imagine myslef there after a tiring lectures day enjoying this incredible park! :)

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If you are lucky enough with the weather (which is not so rare in Barcelona, although we had an enorumus rainfall during our stay in July, which means just nothing is sure! ), then you can spend either a perfect hour strolling in the park or a full day enjoying its attractions and the big green area. Personally I loved this park even more than the famous Güell park, and you don't have to pay an entrance fee either, what an advantage!; )

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A green patch in Barcelona

Published by Martha S — 3 years ago

From time to time, I just love to disconnect from busy life in a city, and take a walk in one of those big patches of green, that you can find in every city. Of course, I am talking about parks. And my first park that I have visited in Barcelona, is called Parc de la Ciutadella. I also went there today in the morning, because I only start my work in the afternoon. Lucky me. And after visiting this park twice I can say that it is much bigger, and also much greener than I have expected.

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And what is even better, you do not have to pay anything to enter the park. Honestly, I somehow expected that there will be an entrance fee to pay, since you have to pay for just every single attraction here in Barcelona. But I am glad that I was wrong, because if I had to pay, I would definitely not go inside.

Where do you have to go if you would like to see the park?

The area of Barcelona, where Parc de la Ciutadella is situated, is called Ciutat Vella, which could be translated as 'the old city', and besides the park itself, this area also offers some other points of interest, for example a massive Arc de Triomf, which is situated only a few minutes of walking away from the park.

When I went to the park, I used the following way to get there: I took the metro to the station, called Arc de Triomf, which is situated on the red line (L1). From what I know, this station is the closest one to the park, and this way, you also get to see the famous Arc de Triomf and some interesting street artists on the promenade that leads to the park.

So, when you exit the metro station (try to get out at the exit – Sortida – that points you towards Arc De Triomf), you have to cross the road and walk right to the massive arch. Trust me, you will immediately see it, as soon as you exit the metro station.

In case you are not sure whether you are going the right way or not, let me tell you that there are plenty of signs that will point you towards the arch and the park. This is another thing that I love so much about Barcelona – everything is very well marked, so you cannot get lost even if you want to!

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Behind the arch, you will see a promenade, and this is exactly where you have to go. At the end of the promenade, you will see a big map of the city, painted on the ground. At this point, you have to cross the road again and when you do it, you will already be in Parc de la Ciutadella. Now, the real fun can start!

A stroll through Parc de la Ciutadella

Just before you enter the park, there is a gate, and a map of the park just before it.

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This is great in case you are looking for a specific point inside the park, because you can quickly find it on the map and figure out where do you have to go. It is definitely much better than just walking in circles inside the park, hoping you will just bump into the point of interest that you are looking for. Also, only when I looked at the map, I figured out how massive this park actually is. It could probably take you more than an hour to walk through every single part of it.

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The first thing you will see when you step through the gate, are people, selling helium balloons in the middle of the path through the park, and, of course, a big crowd of kids around them.

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Then, if you look on your right, you will see two bigger buildings. Those are two museums – one of them is a zoologic museum, and one of them is a geologic museum. From what I heard, they are quite interesting, so I am considering the option of checking them out one day.

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What surprised me the most, is how many families with kids I saw in the park. I mean, it is Tuesday, parents should work and kids should be at school. And they were not all tourists, because I heard them talking in Spanish. Well, maybe they decided to extend the long weekend even more – yesterday, it was a national holiday here in Spain, and therefore a day off for everyone.

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There are several paths inside the park that you can choose from, and since I was a bit in a hurry today, since I still have to get ready for work, I decided to only walk straight. After a while, I have reached an entrance to the Barcelona ZOO. I thought that it is situated on the other side of the park, and it was so tempting. If I had more time, I would definitely go in there right away. And the entrance fee for this ZOO is not very expensive, at least not for Barcelona, since it 'only' costs sixteen Euros for adults.

Just before the entrance to the ZOO, there is a statue of a man on a horse, but do not ask me who this is, because I have no idea. Actually, this statue was the main reason for me to discover the location of the ZOO, since I saw a gate just behind the statue, and I was wondering, where it leads.

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You will also pass by several fountains on your way through the park, and they are beautiful for taking pictures.

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Some thoughts for the end

First of all, there was one thing that really surprised me, when I was walking through Parc de la Ciutadella - there were a lot of benches, everything is pretty quiet, and yet, nobody was reading books there. I think I somehow got used to see people reading books outside. But seems like that this park is not a popular place to do so. Who knows, maybe I will be the first one to read a book there.

I have been to quite a lot of big cities, and therefore, I have also visited many parks that those cities have. And at this point I have to say, that Parc de la Ciutadella is one of the better parks that I have been to. It is big enough that it does not feel too crowded, and despite the fairly high number of visitors, it is still very well maintained. So, if you are in Barcelona and you have run out of ideas what to do there, I am sure that you will love this park, just like I did.

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Gothic green

Published by Ethel Rudnitzki — one year ago

In the middle of Barrio Gótico in Barcelona there is a huge park called Parc de la Ciutadella. It is a green oasis surrouded by historic and gothic buildings.

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It's a great place to rest after visiting the many churches and museums around. You can admire nature, see kids playing, have an ice cream or even take a boat ride in the lake inside the park.

The most famous place there is a fountain with tropical threes and classic scuptures in the middle of the parc. But inside it is also Barcelona's zoo.

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Just outside the parc you can also find Arc du Triomphe, an important catalan monument.

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