Montjuic is the hill and green zone in Barcelona, located southwest of the city centre (Ciutat Vella). The hill is over 200 meters high and was the first area in the city to be populated by man. It has always been a strategic place from which to defend the city so there has been a fortress on its summit since ancient times. In 1751, the present castle was built by Juan Mart├şn Cerme├▒o, which was occupied by the French during the Spanish War of Independence. It is possible to take a cable car from the city port to the castle.
The Poble Espanyol, a "Spanish village" comprised of various buildings, squares and streets built in different styles of Spanish architecture, is located on the western side of the hill. It was built as part of the 1929 International Exposition (a World's Fair).
The Pla├ža d'Espanya square, with its two Venetian towers, marks the entrance to Montjuic. The Pla├ža d'Espanya also boasts a magnificent view of the Palau National de Montjuic, which was also built for the Exposition. The Palau National de Montjuic now houses the Museo Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC).
Montjuic is also home to peaceful botanical gardens and the striking Montjuic Telecommunications Tower, which was designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava. Another interesting attraction is the old Montjuic amusement park which has now been converted into a public park called Jardins Joan Brossa.
Montjuic currently has a close connection with sports thanks to the large number of sports facilities it contains. It was selected as the site for several of the venues of the 1992 Summer Olympics and so an Olympic Stadium (Estado Ol├şmpico Lluis Companys) was built at the foot of the hill. Other venues built on Montjuic for the games include the Palau Sant Jordi, La Piscina de Saltos (diving pool), and the Picornell swimming pools. The old Palacio de los Deportes (Sports Palace), on Lleida street, has been converted into the Barcelona Musical Theatre, which now hosts theatrical and musical productions. The range of sports facilities is completed by the Joan Serrahima athletics stadium and the facilities of the National Institute of Physical Education of Catalonia (Instituto Nacional de Educaci├│n F├şsica de Catalu├▒a).
One of the best kept secrets of Montjuic is the fact that there is also a golf course. The course only has 8 holes, but you can enjoy magnificent views over the city during a game.