Montjuïc is the "Mountain of the Jews", after a
long-ago Jewish community on the slopes. It's essentially a large hill
with a steep slope facing the port. And it is very large, more than
one can walk around comfortably, housing a number of major museums,
Olympic sites from 1992, gardens, an old cemetery, and a castle, among
other things. (It also seems to be where Barcelonians go to learn to
drive; perhaps the traffic is somewhat less chaotic there than
||These buildings were erected for the International Exhibition 1929,
in a generic institutional neo-Baroque style. (Though why the pavilions
have those Chinese touches, I can only wonder.) The
houses the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, undergoing a long
renovation, but with the splendid Romanesque and Gothic sections open.
Montjuïc is large and steep enough that one can get
around by cable car, which is a fun way of getting some magnificent
views of the city and port area, as long as one doesn't mind dangling
hundreds of feet up in the air in an open car!
||The view back over the Palau Nacional.
||The half-way station, before continuing up to the Castell.
||A view over town, with the Sagrada Família over to the
||The port, and the Mediterranean beyond.
Castell de Montjuïc
|Not particularly ancient, the 18th-century castle is built on 17th-century
ruins, and now houses the Museu Militar which I did not see. There
is some imposing coastal artillery, 24cm Vickers guns from the 1930s and
some older stuff.
Fundació Joan Miró
This tribute to the famous artist Joan Miró, opened in 1975,
was designed by his friend Josep-Luis Sert. I guess I'm not a big fan,
though there is one giant tapestry that I found quite remarkable. Famous
also is Alexander Calder's "Mercury" fountain, a tribute to the mercury-mining
town of Almáden, bombed in the Civil War.
I'm not even sure these metal sculptures are by Miró, but they
sure looked fun up on the roof, and set off Sert's geometric, white structure
Pavello Mies van der Rohe
|I'm not normally a great fan of "International Style", but at its
best, as in this example by its greatest proponent, it can be richly elegant
in its geometric purity and fine materials. Perhaps it works better on
a smaller scale... This Pavilion was part of the German contribution to
the 1929 Exhibition, and was reconstructed in 1986.