Built on the land where the old Barcelona fortress once stood in order to host the Universal Exposition, Parc de la Ciudadella was, for many years, the city’s only public park. It was designed by Josep Fontserè, who sought inspiration from Le Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris and officially opened in 1881. A few years later, in 1888, it was host to the Barcelona Universal Exposition.
The park is located in the Ribera neighbourhood, within the triangle running from Estació de França, Arc de Triomf and Vila Olímpica, and between the main roads of Passeig de Pujades, Passeig de Picasso, Passeig de Circumval·lació and Carrer de Wellington. It has ten entrances and stretches over 17.42 hectares (43 acres), making it the largest park in Barcelona after the one in Montjuïc.
In the park is the old Arsenal of the fortress, which now houses the Parliament of Catalonia, as well as many other buildings of note, including two museums, a church, a school, the Umbracle (Shade house) and the Hivernacle (Greenhouse), dedicated to the conservation of botanical species. It is also home to the city’s zoo. The grounds are an open-air art museum exhibiting a large collection of fine sculptures.
Other elements worthy of note are the spectacular Cascada (waterfall) which boasts an impressive collection of sculptures and the Castell dels Tres Dragons (Three Dragons Castle), which today is the Zoological Museum, as well as extensive landscaped gardens and a small lake.