Montjuїc, or the “ Hill of the Jews”, is thought to have derived its name from the old Catalan word “juїc” meaning Jewish. This refers to a Medieval Jewish cemetery that was once located here, and possibly also a Jewish settlement. Montjuїc is a favourite weekend destination for Barcelona residents as well as for many tourists.
As one of the key locations of the 1992 Olympics, the level of funding and development this area received has firmly established it as one of the city’s most diverse cultural hotspots. The Olympic stadium, located towards the top of Montjuїc, is home to the Espanyol football team. Another important sports area is the Piscina Bernat Picornell Olympic swimming pool. Both the indoor and outdoor pools are huge and are open to the public. A new development is the Golf Montjuїc pitch. Although technically too small to be considered a golf course, this driving range is converted into a 9 hole pitch and putt course at weekends, and is open to non-members at all times. Montjuїc’s museums include the Catalunya National Art Museum, the Caixa Forum, Archaeology Museum and Miró Foundation, and its parks and gardens are no less impressive.
The Castell de Montjuїc itself has a dark history. It was used as a fortress for political prisoners and killing ground for enemies of the current ruling powers throughout the ages, anarchists, fascists and republicans have all spilt blood here. There is a military museum whose displays include artillery, uniforms, military maps and equipment, and portraits of military leaders such as General Franco.
At the foot of Montjuїc in Plaça Espanya you will find the Fira, Barcelona’s most important site for national and international trade shows and major industry exhibitions. La Fira hosts approximately 80 major trade fairs every year, such as the Bread and Butter Fashion Show, Motor and Motorbike Shows, Travel and Tourism, and photography. Although many events are trade only, you can check the website to see if public access tickets are available. (www.firabcn.es)
There are various options for getting to Montjuїc, and the best method depends on what part of Montjuїc you want to reach.
-From Metro Parallel (L2, L3), then funicular railway
-From Metro Espanya (L1, L3), on foot or bus no. 50
-From the port, go by cable car.