The Montjuic hill is one of the most important landmarks of Barcelona. The hill is over 200 meters high facing the southern part of the city and going all the way down to the beach. The area of Montjuic has a very rich history and it offers its visitors gardens, parks, a museum and many wonderful viewpoints of the city of Barcelona.
The Meaning of Montjuic
The exact meaning of the name Montjuic is not known until today. There are two possible explanations: one saying that the name Montjuic means ”the mountain of Jews” , because the Jews use to bury their dead here, the second explanation is stating that the name is derived from ”hill of Jupiter” because in the Roman era the hill was considered a place of worship.
The History of Montjuic
Although it is not clear if the origin of the name Montjuic is ”the mountain of Jews”, it is certain that there was an old Jewish cemetery on this hill that served as a burying place for Jews living inside the city. Unlike Christians, Jews do not bury their dead within the walls of the city; their laws forbid this, so they place their cemeteries outside the city. The Jewish cemetery does not exist today, but if you want to see the remains of the cemetery you can do so by visiting the Historical Museum in the Gothic Quarter.
In the early years of Barcelona, the Montjuic hill was just a higher area outside the city, without any buildings or houses build here. During the Roman times, the higher parts of the hill were used as a pastureland and the lower parts were used as agricultural fields. Montjuic was also considered a place of worship during this time, where people came to pray to the gods.
In the later years a lighthouse was built on top of the hill to guide the ships that arrived to Port Vell. In the 17th century Castle Montjuic was built on this very hill, and has become the seat of the army that defended the city against invaders from the north and highlighted the control of the central government from Madrid. Only in the 19th century when the city blossomed and the Catalan nation became stronger and wealthier, they asked the Castilian monarchy of Madrid the permission to annex the Montjuic area to the city of Barcelona.
The development of the hill as we know it today started in the 20th century, when in 1929 the city hosted Barcelona’s International Exposition. The leaders of the city decided to enhance Montjuic for the guests and built the Magic Fountains, Poble Espanyol (The Spanish Village), Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys (Olimpic Stadium) and the National Palace, which today serves as a museum of Catalan art. Also during this time the Venetian columns were built to serve as the gateway to the exposition.
In the middle of the 20th century, during the Civil War, the Castle of Montjuic served as a prison and the hill has become a place of execution for many revolutionaries. On this hill, Franco`s army killed the leader of the Catalan democrats, Lluis Companys. A monument for the thousands of casualties of this war can be seen in the Montjuic cemetery.
Another great moment of expansion was during the 1992 Olympic Games hosted by the city of Barcelona. For this important event the city significantly expanded the size of the Olympic Stadium making it the giant structure we see today.
Besides the impressive historical sites, the hill is currently offering many amazing viewpoints over the city and the port of Barcelona. Touristic attractions like the famous Fundació Joan Miró (Joan Miró Museum) can be visited. You can also explore the trails on the hill and enjoy an impressive view of the city and the sea without having to enter any museum. Take a peek at the open theater in the gardens and make sure not to miss the Magic Fountains situated at the bottom of the hill.
A popular choice when it comes to climbing the Montjuic hill is the cable car ride that runs from the port area. It is important to make sure that the cable car is open before, because during the winter and on days with strong wind the cable car is closed for safety reasons.
Main Landmarks in Montjuic
The conference hall of Barcelona
The conference hall of Barcelona is situated at the bottom of the hill and it hosts many large international exhibitions. For more information about the most interesting exhibitions visit exhibitions in Barcelona.
Plaça d’Espanya was and remains one of the key areas of Barcelona, being one of the two main squares of the city. The square holds great history, impressive statues and a fountain.
Read more about Plaça d’Espanya
|Plaça d’Espanya is one of the most famous and beautiful places of the city of Barcelona.
Font màgica de Montjuïc (The Magic Fountains)
Font màgica de Montjuïc were opened to the public on the 19th of May 1929 and provide a spectacular display of color, light and water.
Fundació Joan Miró (The Museum of Juan Miro)
One of the most unique museums in the world, dedicated to the famous Catalan artist.
Read more about Fundació Joan Miró
|Visiting Fundació Joan Miró is mainly recommended for those who are interested in art in general.
The Montjuïc Castle
Montjuïc Castle castle is situated on top of the Montjuïc hill and serves as a municipal structure of the city with a wonderful view over Barcelona.
Read more about Montjuïc Castle
Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys (The Olympic Stadium)
The stadium was built in 1925, as part of the extensive construction area of Montjuic toward the Barcelona International Exposition. The stadium is named after Lluis Companys, the president of Catalonia and leader of the Democrats during the Civil War, who was executed by Franco`s army on top of the Montjuic hill.
Read more about Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys
|The Stadium holds sports events and concerts, it has a capacity of 55,926 seats and it was used between 1998 and 2009 as the home
court of the Barcelona-Espanyol football team.
Palau Nacional (National Palace) and Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (National Art Museum of Catalonia)
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), is in the structure of the National Palace of Catalonia, which was built in the city in honor of the Barcelona International Exposition in 1929. The museum includes a collection of Roman and Gothic art, and Baroque and Renaissance paintings. The museum is considered one of the finest museums in Barcelona and in Europe in general.
Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya (The Archaeology Museum of Catalonia)
Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya is a nice little museum depicting human evolution from the early Stone Age to the Roman Empire, with most of the findings from the Catalonia area.
- Address: Passeig de Sana Madrona 39-41
- How to get there: The internal bus of Montjuic Park, line 55
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:30-19:00. On Monday the museum is closed.
- Prices: Regular tickets cost 5 euros, tickets for students are 3 euros and tickets for seniors and children cost 2.5 euros.
- Website: http://www.mac.cat
Museu Etnològic (The Museum of Ethnology)
A small anthropology museum that displays objects and aspects of the contemporary Catalan society.
Jardí Botànic de Barcelona (The Botanical Gardens of Barcelona)
The beautiful Botanical Gardens of the city of Barcelona are also located in the area of Montjuic. The Gardens were established in 1989 and offer a nice tour for the botany enthusiasts.
Poble Espanyol (The Spanish Village)
Poble Espanyol is exposing the diverse cultural and architectural history of human settlements in Spain. It was built for the Barcelona International Exposition in 1929. It is a perfect site for families with children to visit.
Read more about Poble Espanyol
|Poble Espanyol is a village in the Montjuic are. Its aim is to present the characteristics of the colorful and culturally,
architecturally diverse Spanish life in one place.