Ajuntament de Barcelona

Hortes de Sant Bertran and Forestier's stairs

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Characteristics
Average length: 
30 min
Distance: 
350 m
Opening times: 
All day long
Objectives: 
Discover an old area of orchards off-walls and the gardening of Montjuïc in the early 20th century.
Accesses: 
Carrer Vila i Vilà, near Walter Benjamin Garden. You can also access through Passeig de Montjuïc and make the itinerary in reverse.
Audience: 
All audiences
Associated spaces: 
Hortes de Sant Bertran, Mirador del Poble-sec Park, Passatge de les Bateries and Forestier's stairs

The route begins on Hortes de Sant Bertran, a sloped garden whit mainly indigenous vegetation, both Mediterranean trees (holly oak, parasol pine) and bushes (strawberry tree, Pistacia lentiscus, Rhamnus alaternus).

In ancient times, at the area of Hortes de Sant Bertran there was a chapel devoted to saint Bertrand sorrounded by vegetable gardens (“hortes” in Catalan). In 14th c., the chapel was the most important one at Montjuïc but it disappeared in 1814, during the Peninsular War (1808-1814). The memory of the chapel and its vegetable gardens remains in the name Hortes de Sant Bertran.

Going up, the route arrives at Mirador del Poble-sec Park and crosses it by its side. The park is formed by terraces where you can find climbing plants that are cultivated because of its ornamental values —such as the Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) and the blue passion flower (Passiflora caerulea), right beside the pergola on the right side— and deciduous trees, such as the blue jacaranda —that has a spectacular blue blooming at the end of spring and beginning of summer— and the Japanese pagoda tree, that has cream flowers.

The route passes through Passatge de les Bateries to the majestic stairs designed by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier (1861-1930), French landscaper engineer. Forestier’s influence upon the Barcelonese gardening at the beginning of the 20th c. is seminal, both because some of the best Barcelonese gardens at that time were his word (Laribal, Amargós) and because, with his disciple Nicolau Rubió i Tudurí (1891-1981), he created a new garden style: that of Mediterranean roots, inspired by the ancient Arabic gardens (terraces, ponds...) using existing vegetation. The stairs, planned by Forestier as an access between Miramar and the maritime section for the International Exposition (1929), are hidden because of the construction of Ronda del Litoral, a road that acts as barrier between Montjuïc and the sea.

Almost at the end of the route, there are some deciduous trees, such as the Brazilian coral tree, ornamental and used in urban gardening because of its shadow and its spectacular flowers, and the common fig, very coarse and resilient, common in rocky terrains.

The route finishes on one the gates of the Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden, starting point of the next route.

Advice: 

Comfortable clothes and suitable footwear to walk, binoculars and camera. In summer, at sunshine hours, cap and sunglasses.