Standing on a vantage point 173 metres above the port, Montjuïc Castle commands stunning views of the city. Now a peaceable place, the memory of this fortress endures in Barcelona as a symbol of repression but also of the city’s struggles during different periods in its history.
The top of Montjuïc is the ideal place for a bastion of defence, with 360º views of the city below. However, this military enclave wasn’t built until the Reapers’ War in 1640. In 1652, the fortress, which stands on the site of a watchtower, came under royal ownership and, some 50 years later, was one of the key defence points in the War of the Spanish Succession, between 1705 and 1714.
In the middle of the 18th century, the military engineer, Juan Martín Cermeño, was commissioned to restore the castle which had been badly damaged during the war, and its current appearance dates from this time. The castle has launched bombing raids on the city on a number of occasions and it has also been used as a prison. On 15th October 1940, the president of the Catalan government, Lluís Companys, was executed by firing squad at the castle. The castle was used as a military prison until 1960 when it was given back to the city and used as an army base. Three years later, Franco opened a weapons museum in the castle. In 2007, the castle came under the ownership of Barcelona City Council and, as a result, now belongs to all the citizens of Barcelona.