What to see at the Parc de la Ciutadella
This beautiful park is almost more of an open-air museum. You will find work of artists of the caliber of Frederic Marès, Eusebi Arnau, Josep Clarà, Josep Llimona, Pau Gargallo, Manuel Fuxà and Eduard B. Alentorn.
The two most popular sculptures that are located within the park are The lady with the umbrella, by Joan Roig Soler, which for many years was one of the symbols of Barcelona and which crowns an ornamental fountain designed by Josep Fontserè and a statue of a Mammoth the first and only life-size reproduction of extinct animals that was incorporated in 1907, donated by the Natural Sciences Board.
The centerpiece of the park is the “monumental waterfall”. It was designed by Josep Fontserè as we mentioned, in 1875, and inaugurated in 1881. Fontserè was assisted by a very young Antoni Gaudí. The waterfall is adorned with many sculptural elements by Catalan artists from the end of the 19th century, placed after its inauguration. The centerpiece of the fountain is the Birth of Venus, by Venanci Vallmitjana, and at the top, culminating the set, The chariot of the Aurora, by Rossend Nobas. At the bottom of the fountain, there are four figures modeled by Rafael Atché protecting Venus. On either side there are stairs to access a kind of temple from which you can enjoy some of the best views in the park.
The buildings of the park
The park now ocupies the place of the of the old military citadel built-in 1715. There are still some vestiges of that old fortress including the military chapel, built by Pròsper Verboom (1728), the governor’s palace, and the arsenal building, currently the seat of the Parliament of Catalonia.
The rest of the buildings in the park were built in the last third of the 19th century. The first was the Martorell Museum of Geology, in neoclassical style, designed in 1879 by Antoni Rovira i Trias.
As for the constructions carried out during the Universal Exhibition of 1888, we find the restaurant, the work of Domènech i Muntaner. It was popularly called the Castle of the Three Dragons, and since 1934 it has been the headquarters of the Museum of Zoology in Barcelona.
Also built during the 1888 Universal Exposition were the Umbracle, a unique enclosure designed by Josep Fontserè (1883) that integrates brick, iron and a wooden slat that provides shade for subtropical species, and the Greenhouse, an iron and glass construction designed by Josep Amargós i Samaranch in 1884.