Right in the heart of the city you can find Barcelona’s largest green space, Citudella Park. It’s a great place find a shady spot to sit and relax during the heat of summer or soak up the sun during winter. On the weekends the park is a popular meeting place attracting families, drummers, jugglers, slack-liners and picnic goers. The history of the park is just as fascinating as the people who make use of it.
After the Catalan quest for independence was quashed by Philip V of Spain in 1714, he had the Barcelona citadel built to control any local uprisings. As you can imagine this was a much hated symbol of Spanish authority and despite numerous attempts by the locals it stood until 1869, when it was almost completely demolished. Only a few of the original buildings still remain the Chapel, The Governor’s School and the Arsenal which is now the Catalan parliament.
The next momentous occasion in the park’s history was the hosting of the Barcelona Universal Exposition in 1888. It was a great opportunity for Barcelona to be rid of the Citadel once and for all. An all out effort was made to completely change the park with the addition of various modernist architectural elements including the monumental fountain, Umbracle and Castell dels Tres Dracs. Much of the park’s layout is thanks to the exposition.
A final addition to the park was made in 1892, making use of empty buildings and space left over from the exposition, a zoo was added. Up until recently it’s most famous resident was albino gorilla ‘Snowflake’. Today the Zoo remains popular with both children and adults.
Other attractions in the park include the lake complete with row boats, the modernist fountain part of which was designed by Gaudí and finally the mammoth. Now you know a little more about the history of Citudella Park.