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The Zoo and the Parc de la Ciutadella

Maybe you didn't know that there is a huge Zoo in Barcelona which is nestled amidst the greenery of the city's largest park and is a place where all kinds of events are organized providing fun for friends and family enabling you to relax, play some games or enjoy some sports.

Parc de la Ciutadella
Parc de la Ciutadella

Find out more details in this article regarding what you can do at the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona!

Where to find the Parc de la Ciutadella

The Parc de la Ciutadella is situated in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona and is part of the neighborhood of El Born. You can reach it very easily as it is in the center of Barcelona, in the eastern part of the city.  If you are travelling on public transport, we would suggest that you get off at the station called Ciutadella-Vila Olimpica on the Yellow Line L4 on the Metro, or from the T4 Tram stop of the same name.  The Park is situated close to the train stations: Arc de Trionf and the Estación de Francia.

The Park's history and attractions

The Park's origins date back to the Universal Exhibition of 1888 when the city opened its doors to the world and the majestic fountain was built with the assistance of the internationally renowned architect Antoni Gaudí. Today, the park boasts numerous attractions such as the Palacio del Parlamento de Cataluña, (the Palace of Catalonia's Parliament), a castle called the Castell dels Tres Dragons with its original sculptures as well as two museums.  These are the Zoological Museum and the Geological Musem which draw students and curious tourists throughout the year.  Near the Park, you can also admire the great Arco del Triunfo with its myriad warm colors and golden details.  Another very popular attraction in the park is the Zoo de Barcelona which is situated on the side closest to the coast.

Exhibición de delfines del Zoo de Barcelona
A Display by the Dolphins at Barcelona's Zoo

Barcelona's Zoo

Barcelona's Zoo is a wonderful attraction for both old and young and can be easily reached by walking along the main avenue in the Parc de la Ciutadella, entering from the Arco del Triunfo and carrying straight on.  Barcelona's Zoo is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00 and the entry fee for Adults is €19.90, €11.95 for children aged 3 - 12 years and children below this age enter free of charge.  The Zoo is home to a family of animals that originate from all over the world and include mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds.  But that's not all: inside the Zoo there is also a wide range of different flora which includes rare plants that are able to grow in this favorable climate which contributes to the ecosystem.  And to finish off, the Zoo is laid out with themed areas which will appeal to visitors of all ages and which make a visit really interesting.  If you would like to visit the Zoo with a private guideyou will be able to request the company of an expert who will be able to accommodate any requirements you may have, by making a reservation on this web page.  

Cataluña's Parliament

In Barcelona, to be precise, in the Parc de la Ciudadella, you will find Catalonia's Parliament.  This is the institution that represents the Catalan people, has legislative powers and approves the finances of the Generalitat de Catalunya as well as controlling and proposing current political and government processes.  This is all in accordance with Catalonia's statue of autonomy, (you can read more here about the history of Cataluña). The Catalan Parliament consists of a single house which is composed of 135 democratically elected members based on the system of proportional representation.  The Parliament is re-elected every 4 years but the President of the Generalitat can dissolve Parliament prior to the end of the legislative term and initiate new elections. 

El Palacio del Parlamento de Cataluña
Cataluña's Palace of Parliament

With regard to the seat of Parliament, this is quite a regal looking palace which, in 1889, was converted by the city architect,Pere Falqués, from what had originally been a military arsenal, (the current Parc de la Ciutadella had been a well-established fortress since the time of Philip V after the defeat of 11th September 1714) into a wonderful building that made it possible for Spanish royalty to visit the city.  In 1900, the building was extended to accommodate its new role as a museum, until 1932.  At this point in time, the Local Government of Barcelona, (l'Ayuntament), decided to convert the building into the new seat of Parliament.  Then followed the period in which the building was designated to be used for military purposes, (in 1932, with the fall of the Second Spanish Republic, the building actually became a barracks), and subsequently became a venue for hosting art exhibitions.  From 1945 onward, it housed the collections belonging to the Museum of Modern Art and the Numismatic Collection of Catalonia.  Eventually, in 1980, Barcelona's Local Government ceded part of the building in order to re-establish Catalonia's Parliament and in 2004, the entire building of the city's former arsenal was restored as the new Parliament of Catalonia.  It is possible to visit the Parlamento de Cataluña and you can book your visit by using this link.

The Castle of the Three Dragons

The Castle of the Three Dragons is a splendid building which is considered to be a perfect example of pre-modernism, built by the architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition in 1888.  Among the other works that were designed by this same artist in Barcelona are the wonderful Hospital de Sant Pau and the Palau de la Música Catalana. The building which we are talking about is situated on the edge of the Parc de la Ciutadella at the entrance which overlooks the street on which the Arc de Triomf is located and has the appearance of a castle.  It was initially built as a bar-restaurant but since 1920, it has housed the Natural Science Museum.  This is an exhibit in itself which is demonstrated by the architectural artistry of the building which combines history with the social: an emblematic construction with the laboratory that Domènech himself installed with the objective of recovering ancient techniques which would be applied to this new structure.  For this reason, the building is classified as the birthplace of the decorative artistry of Catalan Modernism.  In addition to this, the exhibition contributes unpublished information about the uses that the "castle" has previously enjoyed and the modifications that have been made, some of which were effected by this famous architect and others which were made at a later stage in accordance with the norms that were in vogue in the 1900's. 

El Castell dels Tres Dragons
The Castle of the Three Dragons
Enjoying the Parc de la Ciutadella

The Parc de la Ciutadella is a place that is worth experiencing at any time of year, including in winter, thanks to the favorable climate that facilitates enjoying the outdoors in Barcelona all year round.  On Sunday afternoons, in particular.  There are plenty of young people who meet up and dance together, enjoying the rhythms of the most wonderful folk music you can imagine:  you are also likely to find groups of African musicians playing their tambourines in time with their tribal rhythms, young Spaniards practicing gymnastics between the trees,  people enjoying martial arts (including the Afro-Brazilian capoeira), in fact, there is something for everyone!  The presence of an internal lake also offers the opportunity to hire a rowing boat and cruise around the waters of the park along with other tourists.  On public holidays, the Parc de la Ciutadella transforms itself into a spectacular setting for theatrical events, dance exhibitions and stalls selling street food: you can enjoy all of this to the full during the great celebrations of Mercè which is celebrated every year in September or, alternatively, on the day of the Diada, Catalonia's national day, The celebrations stretch out along the street towards the Arco del Triunfo. You can book a private companion at who will accompany you to the Parc de la Ciutadella to ensure that you don't miss out on any of the attractions in this wonderful green space in the heart of Barcelona! 

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