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 elsewhere...)

Palau Nacional

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 Palau itself 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 right. 
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 quite nicely.

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.