The History Of Montjuïc Castle In 1 Minute

Photo of James Fenn
Photography Commissioner17 August 2017

Located on the edge of the city of Barcelona, Montjuïc hill as an iconic feature of Barcelona’s landscape and has played an important role throughout the city’s history. On the very top of the hill sits the castle, know as the Castell de Montjuïc in Catalan, today open to the public for visits, exhibitions and shows throughout the year.

The history of human settlements on Montjuïc dates back to at least pre-historic times, and as far back as 1073 there are records of a look-out point on the hill. This was probably due to it being a great spot to see the entire city and the sea. But it wasn’t really until the 17th century that the structure took on a military function, laying the foundations for the castle as we know it now.

It was during the Catalan Revolt, a popular uprising against the Spanish crown, that the local municipality opted to use Montjuïc fortress as a base for their operations against the army lead by Pedro Fajardo on order of the King of Spain. The fortification became the centre of an important battle known as the Battle of Montjuïc in which the popular Catalan army was victorious against the Spanish army.

Montjuïc Castle © Librarygroover / Flickr | Castell de Montjuic © oatsy40 / Flickr | Castell de Montjuic © Oleg Khalimov / WikiCommons

Given the importance the make-shift fortress had taken on, plans were made in the 18th century to demolish and rebuild the castle so as to increase its functionality and enhance its defence system. The plans were finalized in 1751 and construction began in 1753 under the supervision of military engineer Juan Martín Cermeño. When construction finished in 1779, the castle resembled very much the structure as it still presents itself today. Since then, the castle has played an important role in most of the major battles that occurred in the area, from the Napoleonic wars of the 19th century through to the Spanish Civil War of the 20th century. It has been used as a military base, prison and torture cell. In 1963, General Franco inaugurated the Military Armour Museum within the castle, which has since 2010 been closed for renovation.

Today the museum is a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike, running a program of exhibitions and shows throughout the year both indoors and out.

📅 Nov-Mar: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm
Apr-Oct: Mon-Sun 10am-8pm

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