In 1715, King Philip V ordered the construction of a large military citadel to control Barcelona after its surrender on September 11th 1714. The north west city walls and over 1,200 houses in La Ribera neighborhood were destroyed to allow for it to be built.
In 1869, General Juan Prim gave the citadel to the city of Barcelona to be used as a park as a gesture to gain support from the industrial bourgeoisie. The demolition of the citadel made way for the creation of Parc de la Ciutadella. General Prim is memorialized in a statue in the park.
Architect Josep Fontseré designed the park to accommodate the 1888 Universal Exhibition, Spain’s first International World’s Fair. Barcelona zoo, the Palau del Parlament de Catalunya and an iconic fountain designed by Josep Fontserè are among the best known features of the 70-acre park.
The Castell dels Tres Dragons
The Castell dels Tres Dragons, by Domènech i Montaner was originally a restaurant designed for the 1888 exhibition.
The tragic murder of transsexual Sonia Rescalvo took place at the bandstand in 1991.
The Cascada (Waterfall)
The waterfall was first inaugurated in 1881, without any sculptures or elaborate decorations. Further construction including the fountains took place between 1882 and 1888. The fountain was designed by Josep Fontsére with minor contributions from a young Antoni Gaudí, who was a student of architecture at the time. Fontsére was inspired in part by the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
The Catalan Parliament
The Catalan Parliament occupies the building that was formerly the military arsenal of the citadel. In front of the parliament is Josep Llimona’s sculpture El Desconsol.