Montjuïc Castle

Looking Down Over Barcelona

Montjuïc Castle was a military fortification and, after the end of the Spanish Civil War, a military museum. It is located 170 metres above sea level on Montjuïc Mountain overlooking Barcelona.

Located south-east of Barcelona, the name Montjuïc either derives from Mons Judaicus (Jewish Mountain) or Mons Jovicus (Jupiter's Mountain).

From the 4th century onwards, there was a Jewish cemetery on the top of the mountain but this fell into disuse when El Call, Barcelona's Jewish Quarter, was abandoned in 1391.

As Montjuïc overlooks the port of Barcelona, there was a lighthouse on the peak of the mountain until in 1640, at the start of The Reapers' War against Felipe IV, when a rudimentary fortification was built out of mud and stone in just 30 days.

The fort was attacked by Castilian troops under Pedro Fajardo de Zúñiga y Requesens, Marquis of Vélez in the Battle of Montjuïc on January 26th 1641.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, on September 17th 1705, the fort was conquered for the Catalans by Charles Mordaunt, Lord Peterborough, but was recaptured by  the Castilian troops for Felipe V on April 25th 1706 despite resistance of 700 red coats commanded by Arthur Chichester, Lord Donegall.

The Catalans won the fort back on May 12th and it wouldn't be under Castilian control again until 5 o'clock on the afternoon of September 12th 1714 when, after the Catalan defeat in the War of the Spanish Succession, it was handed over to the Duke of Berwick under the fifth article of the Capitulations.


In 1751, the military engineer Juan Martín Cermeño demolished the old fort and built a new fully-equipped construction with a moat based on the defence system designed by the French military engineer, Sébastien Le Prestre, Marquis of Vauban.

Between 1779 and 1799, more work was done and the capacity of the barracks was doubled and kitchens were built. It was then that, with a few modifications, the castle took on the form it has today and it was equipped an artillery provision of at least 120 cannons.

On February 13th 1808, the Napoleonic troops under Guillaume Philibert Duhesme and Giuseppe Lechi entered Barcelona with 5,427 men and 1,830 horses on what was supposed to be a three-day temporary stop on their way to Cadiz.

However, on February 29th, a military unit led by Colonel Floresti went up the mountain and occupied the castle. The Spanish troops defending the castle offered no resistance as the Captain General of Barcelona had received orders to welcome the French.

In 1842, during the Regency of General Espartero, the city of Barcelona was bombed from the castle in order to put down a revolt and a year later during the Jamancia, General Prim ordered another bombing but this time of the drassanes and the walls.

In 1850, telegraph lines were installed in the castle and in 1879, the phone arrived.

In the final decades of the 19th century, the castle was used as a prison and many working class insurrectionists were imprisoned there, particularly during the period of anarchist violence. The trials of anarchists, which were infamous for their severity often using torture, were known as the Montjuïc Process.

Those arrested in the Setmana Tràgica or Tragic Week in 1909 were incarcerated in the castle, including the founder of the Escola Moderna, Francesc Ferrer i Guardia, who executed on October 13th 1909. 

In 1919, more than 3,000 were kept in Montjuïc Castle as a result of the strike at La Canadenca.

In 1936, the castle was filled by victims of revolutionary and once the Spanish Civil War was over, by victims of Francoism, amongst the the President of the Generalitat, Lluís Companys, who was imprisoned, tried and executed by firing squad on October 15th 1940.

In 1960, Montjuïc Castle was ceded to the city of Barcelona and after three years of reforms, was opened as a Military Museum by General Franco on June 24th 1963. 

After Franco's death in 1975, during Spain's Transition to Democracy, the City of Barcelona asked that the castle be fully returned to the Ajuntament or City Council but it was only finally handed over on June 15th 2008, after the equestrian statue of FRanco had been removed a month earlier. 

In April 2009, the Peace Centre known as the Centre Internacional per la Pau del Castell de Montjuïc and a month later the Military Museum closed.

On October 15th 2011, the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Ajuntament de Barcelona returned the Senyera, the Catalan flag, that President Lluís Companys had flown from in 1936 and Montjuïc Castle was now fully controlled by the City of Barcelona. 

Getting to Montjuïc Castle

Montjuïc Castle
Ctra. de Montjuïc, 66
08038 Barcelona

Metro Espanya - Red L1 LineGreen L3 Line

Ferrocarrils de la GeneralitatL8/R5/R6/S4/S7/S8/S33-Espanya

Buses13, 23, 37, 150, D20, H12, H16

Opening Times: Montjuïc Castle is open every day of the year except 1 January and 25 December. The site is open to the public from 10am to 6pm from November 1st to March 31st and from 10am to 8pm April 1st to October 31st.

Entrance: €5 

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