Ajuntament de Barcelona

El mirador de la Puntaire

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Montjuïc hill has many artistic works in the open air; among them stands out the bronze sculpture called La puntaire (The lacemaker) (1972), by Josep Viladomat. It portrays a girl focused on lace making, a common activity among maiden girls, especially in some Catalan seatowns. Thus, the sculpture’s spot is not unwarranted, on a viewpoint over Barcelona harbour. The harbour has been one of the main elements of the economic, geographic and social life of Barcelona.

    At Montjuïc, the artistic works go in perfect harmony with the beauty of the environment, to which the hill is an open window. From the several viewpoints (de la Puntaire, de l’Alcalde, del Poble-sec) you can gaze at the town, the sea and the harbour, and the elevations of Collserola mountain range.

    El Morrot cliff (at the South Eastern side of the hill) is the result of the historical exploitation of quarries at the hill. The stone from Montjuïc was used to build most of the emblematic buildings at the town (the Roman city, the cathedral, Santa Maria del Mar, the Sagrada Família, the Palau de la Virreina, etc.) and it was exported to other countries. The amount of exploited stone from this place has been huge: it would be possible to build 20,000 times La Pedrera with it. So it is possible to declare, in the words of Estanislau Roca, that Montjuïc has been “the cradle and the essence of Barcelona”. A part of El Morrot is occupied by Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden and is accessible through Miramar road. The rest is rough and hard to reach; it only can be reached through a path that follows the upper part of the hill.

    All over El Morrot there is both typically Mediterranean vegetation (broom, fennel, bramble, white pine, Phagnalon saxatile, thistle...) and adapted to the conditions on the area vegetation (pita, prickly pear). The ecological importance of El Morrot is not limited to its botanic diversity, because it has a big variety of animals. It is worth mentioning the stable colony of kestrels settled at El Morrot.

    Characteristics: 

    Montjuïc is a true museum in the open air where more of a hundred of sculptures from different ages coexist, by different authors and of different styles and subjects, both made of metal, such as this one (La puntaire) or L’au dels temporals, by Ros i Bofarull (also at Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden), and stone, such as La sardana (1966), by Josep Cañas, or Estival (1929), by Jaume Otero, a superb example of Art Deco. Furthermore, there are examples of visual poetry (at Joan Brossa Garden) or mosaics (at Mirador de l’Alcalde, by Tharrats).

    The International Exposition (1929) was the first major boost to urbanize the hill, which is why many of the sculptures at Montjuïc are from that date and by prestigious Catalan artists: Josep Llimona (Sant Jordi, El forjador, La bellesa), Pau Gargallo (Els genets, Pomona), Josep Viladomat (La noia de la trena, La puntaire), Josep Clarà (Fertilitat, Serenitat).

    The second great renovation of Montjuïc was also related to an event of international impact: the Olympic Games in 1992. The hill was equipped with sports facilities and modern artistic works by international artists and architects (such as the Japanese Aiko Miyawaki and Arata Isozaki).

    Some of the figurative sculptures are related to the Catalan culture (Manelic (1909), by Josep Montserrat, or El timbaler del Bruc (1954), by Frederic Marès), the classical culture (Tors de l’estiu, Dorífor) or to the European culture (Dante (1921)) and the modern pop culture. The last ones were inherited from the decor of the former amusement park that was placed on the terrains of Joan Brossa Garden.

    Outstanding places:

    El Morrot cliff: Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden (collection of succulents and palms), colony of kestrels

    Barcelona old harbour

    Outstanding buildings: twin towers (Port Olímpic), Edifici Vela, Torre Agbar, World Trade Centre, Montjuïc cable railway

    History and curiosities: 

    At the square of the church of Saint Peter Martyr of Les Escaldes-Engordany (Andorra), there is another bronze copy of La puntaire (1972), by Josep Viladomat. At the art centre of the same Andorran town there is also another copy of the same sculpture, this time in plaster.

    In Barcelona, the first harbour activities are from the 1st c., when the Romans founded the colony Barcino at the mount Taber, next to the present Plaça de Sant Jaume. From the walling of the town (after the Barbaric invasion in 263), the town and its maritime activity began to grow and the harbour was progressively going small, to the point that in the Middle Ages although Barcelona was a Mediterranean maritime power, it had not a decent and apt to trade harbour and it was not unusual that the ships were sink by the storms.

    In order to improve the harbour, in 1477 a dock was built to Maians island, a sandy island few meters from the coast that, because of the sandy accumulation, became a tumulus. Later, Barceloneta, the fishing neighbourhood, was built on this peninsula.

    In 1772 Torre de la Llanterna was built, a lighthouse that today is the clock of the Moll dels Pescadors, and in 1868 it was constituted the Board of Public Works of the Port of Barcelona, an institution that was a real experience of decentralisation until 1978 (when the harbour became the Port Authority of Barcelona).

    In 1882 the construction of the first transversal dock finished. Some years later, on the occasion of the International Exposition (1929), this dock was the place for the tower Jaume I of the aerial ferry.

    For further information: 

    Port de Barcelona

    Present i futur del port de Barcelona

    Josep Viladomat

    L'escultura a Montjuïc

    Fundació Mies can der Rohe

    El Morrot

    DIVERSOS AUTORS. Montjuïc, parc central. Barcelona: Ajuntament de Barcelona, 2006

    ROCA, Estanislau. Montjuïc, la muntanya de la ciutat. Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 2000

    SOBREQUÉS i CALLICÓ, Jaume (dir.). Història de Barcelona (8 vol.). Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 1991-1992