From Barcelona's 173 m high mountain, the Montjuïc, you have a spectacular view over the sea, the port and the city. On top of it is the Castell, a huge fortress, the final form of which was constructed at the end of the 18th century.
For many years it was the military prison and a symbol of the suppression by the Franco regime. The castle was handed over to the city in 1960. Today it contains the museum of military history and is a popular attraction on the Montjuïc
The Montjuïc was the position for military domination of the city. This is why already in 1640 a medieval fortress was built on the Montjuïc. The occasion for the construction of the Castell was the beginning of the Reapers' War on Corpus Christi day (June 7, 1640), when the vice king was murdered. The actual reason for the revolt of the peasants and reapers against the Castilian king Felipe IV was the stationing of Castilian troops and ongoing feudalistic burdens during the Franco-Spanish confrontations in the Thirty Years' War. The conflict with the Spanish king lasted on beyond the end of the war.
The first Castell, built in 1640 in only 30 days, was a four-square fortress made of stone and loam. Its first practical test came during the battle of Montjuïc on January 26,1641, in which the Castilian troops under Fajardo Pedro de Requeséns-Zúñiga y Pimentel, the Marquis de los Vélez, were beaten.
The Catalan Assembly then elected Louis XIII of France as count of Barcelona and thus as ruler over all of Catalonia. In the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 France renounced to its claim to the county of Barcelona, Roussillion, however, became French (and still is).
In 1694, the Castell was made a castle, but the fortress walls were reinforced.
On September 17, 1705, the Castell was handed over to Charles Mordaunt, Lord of Peterborough. He commanded the English troops on behalf of Queen Anne. The idea was to help the Archduke of Austria, Charles, accessing the throne of Spain.
The Castilian King Felipe V however reconquered the fortress on April 25, 1706, but he lost it again on May 12 of the same year. On September 11, 1714 (now the Catalan national holiday), a short time after the end of the succession war, Barcelona and the Castell were conquered by the Bourbons.
In 1751, the engineer Juan Martin Cermeño was assigned to demolish the old fortress of 1640 which was within the grounds of the present fortress. He reconstructed the fortress, and the castle got its present shape with a large moat facing the city and huge zig-zag walls facing the sea. He also constructed a cistern to collect drinking water. Between 1779 and 1799, the fortress was enhanced to make room for the more than 3,000 people living there. The Castell also got 120 artillery canons.
The Napoleonic troops conquered the Castell on February 25, 1808 without a battle.
In December 1842, the Spanish regent Joaquín Baldomero Fernández Espartero Álvarez de Toro bombarded the city of Barcelona to strike down a revolt against his free trade policy.
On October 13, 1909, the founder of the Escuela Moderna, Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia was executed in the Castell de Montjuïc. He had been accused of having prepared an assault on King Alfonso XIII. His progressive teaching methods of the Modern School were influenced by Anarchism.
In 1919, during the so-called Canadenca Protests, a strike that seriously affected the entire public utility infrastructure, more than 3,000 workers were incarcerated.
The Castell became a symbol of oppression during the Spanish Civil War and the time under Franco. Between 1936 and 1938 alone, 173 people were executed here, one of them being the president of the Generalitat de Cataluny, Lluís Companys, on October 15, 1940.
Until 1960, the Castell served as military prison until it was handed over to the city. Parts of it are still used for military purposes today. As a symbol of the former oppression, it was restored for the Olympic Games in 1992 and large parts of it were made accessible to the public again.
The decree to hand over the Castell to the city was enhanced in 2007 and on June 15, 2008, it was officially handed over to the city as a cultural site. On this day, 40,000 people visited a concert in honor of Lluís Companys and Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia.
Nowadays, there are frequent concerts, seminars and exhibitions being held at the castell and it is a popular tourist attraction, especially because of its unique view over the city of Barcelona, the sea and the port.
Click here to find the Castell de Montjuïc on the city map of Barcelona.
Avinguda del Castell/C. de Montjuïc
Metro: L2, L3, Paral·lel, Funicular
Bus Turístic: Télefèric de Montjuïc, weiter mit der Seilbahn
The Montju´c probably offers the most beautiful view over Barcelona and the sea.
A beautiful garden welcomes you of the Castell.
View at the sea from the roof of the citadel.
The yard of the citadel.
A relict of a past era.