Closely related to my previous post where I was presenting you the Arc de Triomf from Barcelona which is unique from any other arch in the world, there comes Parc de la Ciutadella that is being located on just a few meters away from this place, that hides a lot of interesting facts which not even the locators don't know about.
Parc de la Ciutadella is situated on the northeastern side of Barcelona, and for many years - especially during the mid 19th century - it was the only green space from the city, covering a surface of 280,000 m² that includes a zoo garden which was home for the one and only albino gorilla Snowflake who died in 2004, a small lake, museums, the Catalan Parliament and a large fountain that was created by Josep Fontseré but where the controversial designer Antoni Gaudí also took part.
The name of the park is not random as Ciutadella means citadel and that comes from the time when Barcelona started being led by Philip V (since 1700) who decided after the successful war to place in this park a citadel that will take control over the people's rebellions. At that time, the citadel built was representing the largest one in Europe, being home for 8,000 people.
Because locators didn't seem to appreciate the fortress but they would rather see it as a total to everything they were hating at that time (the Bourbon king and the government of Madrid), the citadel was converted into a prison for political prisoners but which didn't last for too long.
More years later, the park held Barcelona Universal Exhibition that made Parc de la Ciutadella be completely redesigned with more sculptures which are placed all over the place and works of art, each one of them with different stories.
This was the moment when Barcelona became a modern cosmopolitan city that started being dedicated more to promoting tourism and gathering more space for the zoo.
Through the many sculptures we will discover in the Parc de la Ciutadella, there is also the one with the General Pim who decided to destroy the citadel, but also the one worshipped to Sonia Rescalvo Zafra which is more like a bandstand - the first transsexual who was killed in the park by right-wing extremists on 6 October 1991- Glorieta de la transexual Sònia.
Parc de la Ciutadella is being split into two big areas, the main alley surrounded with palm trees and lots of green space and, the one of the lake and fountains which is also the main symbol of the park, featuring Venus who stands on an open clam.
Still in this place, you will also discover the Castle of the Three Dragons - a detail that is very common for Gaudí's creations but also a sculpture called The Mammoth that is being dedicated more to the children who are visiting the park. That's how no matter when you will attend the park, there will always be a few kids with their parents taking pictures at the statue or having fun around it.
While the main alley is serving to the locators who are coming in Parc de la Ciutadella just for a picnic or the beach, the other side of the park is completely dedicated to the tourists who are exploring every single corner of this place.
Talking about the lake that is next to the fountain called Font de la Cascada, people can also rent boats and enjoy the journey on a different level, but also practice sports, leisure activities or have a healthier lifestyle.
Font de la Cascada represents a must-see of Barcelona and it has many similarities with the famous fountain from Roma - Fontana di Trevi.
Close to the lake and the fountain, we will meet the castle I mentioned a little bit earlier but which is being home for two museums - The Geology Museum and The Museum of Zoology, both of them being part of the Museum of Natural Science which features a full whale skeleton and different exhibitions of animal kingdom and palaeontology but which is closed for the moment due to new plans and functions for this place.
Remaining in the animal world, we can also get a little bit closer to different feline and tropical birds that can be found in the Zoo that it's part of the park, paying no more than 15€/adult or 9€/kid.
The park was realized with the help of availability after many buildings were left empty after the Universal Exhibition from 1888.
The Zoo from Parc de la Ciutadella represents one of the most substantial collections of animals from Europe where animals are not being closed in cages but rather left for normal living in a huge botanical garden where some of them are walking along with the tourists.
The main reason is that the zoo aims to conserve, educate and investigate the animals' habitat, which are over 5,500 samples featuring 400 different species.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to visit the zoo as we also wanted to get to the Aquarium so we decided this one instead of the Zoological Garden but hopefully one day we will return and also meet the friendly animals.
Through the many interesting places we discovered in the park, there was this abandoned building which we had no idea what it was but somehow it was still attracting lots of tourists and people who were taking pictures in that location.
Called L'Hivernacle, represents a winter garden whose structure is made of iron and glass that was created by Josep Amargos, with the purpose of a nice cafe during the hot days of summer.
The structure of the architecture was inspired by the one which created the Eiffel Tower from Paris, this being the answer to how the building is still standing still after hundreds of years since it was built.
There are rumours saying that there are being organized jazz concerts from time to time at L'Hivernacle but from everything we've got to see, it seemed more like a derelict building which is closed to be protected from thieves or homeless.
If L'Hivernacle represents the main part of the building, keep in mind that these smaller rooms on sides are known as Umbracle which used to be tropical greenhouses for shade-loving plants.
The architecture of the Umbracle is different than the one of L'Hivernacle, being made out of wood and brick.
The two gardens have been home for various tropical plants and they were presenting the virgin forests still on the planet at that time
Last but not least, the Catalan Parliament known as Palau del Parlament de Catalunya, represents the last touristic attraction from the park where no matter when you visit it, you will always be surprised by the many guards which are protecting it and walking around.
Palau del Parlament de Catalunya can also be visited by tourists but only on the first Friday of every month and with a guided tour that speaks Catalan, or on 11th and 12th September when it's celebrated the Catalan National Holiday. If you get to see the building, there is also the Museu d'Art Modern inside of it, which definitely worth a visit.
To reach Parc de la Ciutadella you have plenty of alternatives, starting with the Metro: L4 or L2 and drop on Ciutadella Vila Olímpica or Barceloneta Station, Trains: Arc de Triomf, Tram: T4 and drop on Ciutadella Vila Olímpica or through the Bus: 14, 39, 40, 41, 42, 51, 141.
The admission to the park is completely free while renting a boat for 30 minutes varies from 2€ to 10€ depending on how many people hire the boat. (2-5 persons)
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