Daily Photos & Frugal Travel Tips

19 Dec

Montjuïc Castle, Barcelona

Montjuic Castle


Barcelona Castle Close Up


Montjuïc Castle, an old military fortress (the first fortification built 1640 during the revolt against Felipe IV), is located on top of Barcelona’s Montjuïc Mountain 170 metres above sea level.

It first saw action on 26 January 1641. An attack by the Castilian troops of Pedro Fajardo de Requesens-Zúñiga y Pimentel, the Marquess of Vélez, was repelled in the Battle of Montjuïc.

In 1694, the fort expanded, the grounds taking up most of the summit, with three bastions looking inland and a line of saw-tooth ramparts looking over the sea, and became a castle.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the fall of the castle to Charles Mordaunt, Lord Peterborough, on September 17, 1705, tipped the Catalans to the cause of Archduke Charles of Austria. Felipe V took it back on April 25, 1706, but lost it again on May 12th. He took it back once again on September 12, 1714, when, according to the fifth article of the capitulations —which the Duke of Berwick offered the city on the same day—, it was surrendered to Bourbon troops.

In 1751, the military engineer Juan Martín Cermeño demolished the old fort, giving the fortifications their present shape, adding services (such as potable water) and cisterns. He built a moat. There were more renovations done from 1779 to 1799, to accommodate the doubling of the castle’s population. Kitchens and ovens were built to feed 3,000, and equipped with 120 cannons.

On February 13th, 1808, French troops entered Barcelona with 5,427 men and 1,830 horses. At first the plan was that they’d stay in the city for only a few days but, on February 29th, a corps of Napoleon’s imperial troops, commanded by Colonel Floresti, climbed Montjuïc Mountain to capture the castle.

In 1842, during the regency of General Espartero, the city was bombed from the castle to quell a revolutionary uprising. The next year, General ordered a further bombing of Barcelona, with the firing of more than 2,500 projectiles during the 81 days that the siege by government troops lasted.

In the 1890s, the workers involved in the wave of anarchist violence were locked up in Montjuïc Castle. As were the detainees of the Tragic Week of 1909, at the time the Catalan educator and creator of l’Escola Moderna, Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia was executed by firing squad also in Montjuïc. In 1919, more than 3,000 workers were jailed because of the Canadenca conflict. It was filled with right-wing prisoners in 1936, and between 1936 and 1938, in addition to continuing as a prison, 173 people were executed by firing squad. Also executed was the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, on October 15th, 1940.

The castle remained a military prison untill 1960, when it was ceded to the city under the direction and administration of the army. It became a military museum, on June 24th 1963.

Admission is free, perfect for the frugal traveler and the adventurous explorer.



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