The first fortification on Montjuïc Mountain was built in 1640, during the revolt against Felipe IV. It consisted of a quadrilateral structure covered in stone and mud. It first saw action on 26 January 1641, when an attack by the Castilian troops of Pedro Fajardo de Requesens-Zúñiga y Pimentel, the Marquess of Vélez, was repelled in the Battle of Montjuïc.
In 1694 the fort became a castle and the grounds took up most of the summit, with three bastions looking inland and a line of saw-tooth ramparts looking over the sea.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the fall of the castle to the hands of Charles Mordaunt, Lord Peterborough, on 17 September 1705, was one of the factors that tipped the Catalans to the cause of Archduke Charles of Austria. Felipe V took it back on 25 April 1706, but lost it again on 12 May of the same year, and it was not again his till 12 September 1714, when, according to the fifth article of the capitulations —which the Duke of Berwick offered the city on the same day—, it surrendered to Bourbon troops.
In 1751, the military engineer Juan Martín Cermeño demolished the old fort of 1640, which still stood inside the new walls, and gave the complex of fortifications their present shape, providing them with services and cisterns (one of which being potable water), and also excavated a moat. Further construction work was done between 1779 and 1799, to accommodate the doubling of the castle’s population, including kitchens and ovens to feed 3,000, by which time the castle had taken on its final appearance. It was also when it was equipped with artillery, with 120 cannons.
On 13 February 1808, French troops entered Barcelona with 5,427 men and 1,830 horses. At first they were only supposed to remain in the city a few days but, on 29 February, a corps of Napoleon’s imperial troops, commanded by Colonel Floresti, climbed Montjuïc Mountain to capture the castle. This they achieved, but only by annoying the soldiers there because the Captain General of the Principality had received the direct orders of the Court itself to receive Napoleon’s troops with benevolence.
In 1842, during the regency of General Espartero, the city was bombed from the castle to quell a revolutionary uprising. The next year, General ordered a further bombing of Barcelona, with the firing of more than 2,500 projectiles during the 81 days that the siege by government troops lasted.
In the 1890s, the workers involved in the wave of anarchist violence were locked up here. As were the detainees of the Tragic Week of 1909, at the time the Catalan educator and creator of l’Escola Moderna, Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia was executed by firing squad also in Montjuïc. In 1919, more than 3,000 workers were jailed because of the Canadenca conflict. It was filled with right-wing prisoners in 1936, and between 1936 and 1938, in addition to continuing as a prison, 173 people were executed by firing squad. Also executed was the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, on 15 October 1940.
The castle remained a military prison till 1960, when it was ceded to the city under the direction and administration of the army. After three year’s work to refurbish the complex as a military museum, on 24 June 1963, Francisco Franco presided the inauguration.

A ministerial order of 27 April 2007 modified the transfer of Montjuïc Castle to Barcelona City Council. Subsequent negotiations and meetings allowed Montjuïc Castle to return to the city as a municipal facility and finally be officially recognised as the property of all the Barcelonese.
A public celebration was held on 15 June 2008, to mark its recovery for civil, social and cultural uses. It was “invaded” by some 40,000 people who occupied all the positions in the castle and jointly conquered the premises with traditional trabucaires, gegants, grallers, falcons, folk dancers, an exhibition, concerts and workshops to inform the general public on many of the castle’s lesser-known nooks and crannies.
To finish the day marking the recovery of the castle for use by the city’s citizens, Raimon, a well-known protest singer/songwriter from the last days of Franco, gave a concert in Santa Eulàlia moat in memory of and homage to the President of the Generalitat Lluís Companys and the educator and founder of l’Escola Moderna Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia.
Today, the Bastion of Santa Amàlia houses an exhibition called «Barcelona té castell» (Barcelona has a Castle) that explains the new uses the castle will be put to and remembers the fortress’ past.
The future uses of Montjuïc Castle
Montjuïc Castle is about to embark on a new stage in its extensive history. Having lost its status as a fortress, in the strict sense of the word, over a century ago, it was given over to a variety military and civil uses without ever finding a function in keeping with its stature. Decayed and frowned upon by citizens, even reduced to the condition of a minor tourist attraction, it needs to recover the urban role that its location and architectural uniqueness demand.
Its transfer to the city opens the door to new, stimulating uses. Uses that, first of all, rescue the important historical values the castle possesses. And uses that, secondly, respond to the new demands of society. So a process is underway to establish a plan of uses and functions whose general guidelines are brought together in this exhibition. The exhibition is already, in itself, an example of these new functions. It offers access to parts of the castle that that were never open to the general public before, and allow you also to perceive in depth the possibilities offered by a castle museum.
«Barcelona té castell!»: a name that is also a declaration of intent. The future usage plan and, obviously, the subsequent opening of the facilities will ensure that our dreams are made reality. Barcelona has a castle and will enjoy it. This exhibition announces and promises it.
Ramon Folch
Curator of «Barcelona té castell!»
«Barcelona té castell!»
Saturday: 10am-2pm, 4-7pm; Sunday and holidays: 10am-3pm
Baluard de Santa Amàlia
Admission free

The refurbishment of the castle will begin in 2009, be carried out progressively in different stages and turn this complex into an open fortress surrounded by gardens, a space for learning, relating to others, leisure, and contain three major facilities:
El Centre Internacional per la Pau
will be a place for experiencing peace, dialogue, training and research on the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, as well as fostering a culture of peace.
L’Espai de la Memòria
will take theme-based journeys through the history of the castle, using different areas in the fortress and be a place for interpretation where the castle’s wide-ranging relations with the city of Barcelona, the history of conflicts and other subjects will be explained with the exhibition of various pieces.
El Centre d’Interpretació de la Muntanya de Montjuïc
will allow the visitor to become acquainted with Montjuïc Mountain. Presenting the geological and biological history of the environs and its human activity from the first settlements to today, it will be addressed to the citizens of Barcelona, visitors and tourists, and also have a specialised audience, such as geographers, naturalists, landscapists, sociologists, urban planners and other scholars.
In addition to the three new facilities, it will have two further features to consider:
The Information and Reception Area
will provide information on the cultural, social and sporting installations and facilities, services, timetables and everything to do with the mountain. Thereby ensuring that Montjuïc is accessible to all.
Cultural activities:
There will also be programmes of social and cultural activities that follow the city’s calendar of festivities city and historic events in the castle. It will have its own programme and any proposals that brought up out of the enthusiasm of entities, associations and collectives will be seriously considered.
© Barcelona City Council