From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Naturally wooded, the slopes of the Montjuïc were traditionally used to grow food and graze animals by the people of the neighbouring Ciutat Vella. In the 1890s the forests were partially cleared, opening space for parklands. The site was selected to host the 1929 International Exposition (a World's Fair), for which the first large-scale construction on the hill was begun. The surviving buildings from this effort include the grand Palau Nacional, the Estadi Olímpic (the Olympic stadium), the ornate Font Màgica fountains, and a grand staircase leading up from the foot of the Montjuïc at the south end of the Avenida de la Reina Maria Cristina, past the Font Màgica and through the Plaça del Marquès de Foronda and the Plaça de les Cascades to the Palau Nacional. The Poble Espanyol, a "Spanish village" of different buildings built in different styles of Spanish architecture, also survives, located on the western side of the hill. Mies van der Rohe's German national pavilion was constructed at the foot of the hill, near the Plaça del Marquès de Foronda. It was demolished in 1930 but was rebuilt in 1988.
Also completed in 1929, the Olympic stadium was intended to host an anti-fascist alternative Olympics in 1936, in opposition to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. These plans were cancelled due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The stadium serves as the home for football team Espanyol (the club is scheduled to leave for a new stadium in Cornellà/El Prat upon completion in 2008.)
The roads in the slopes facing the city were once the Montjuïc circuit Formula One racing circuit, hosting the Spanish Grand Prix on four occasions. However, a terrible accident in the 1975 race saw Rolf Stommelen's car crash into the stands, killing four people; as a result the Spanish Grand Prix never returned to Montjuïc circuit.
The Montjuïc was selected as the site for several of the venues of the 1992 Summer Olympics, centred around the Olympic stadium. Extensively refurbished and renamed the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, the 65,000-seat stadium saw the opening and closing ceremonies and hosted many events. Around it was build the Anella Olímpica (the "Olympic Ring") of sporting venues, including the Institut Nacional d'Educació Física de Catalunya, a centre of sports science; the Piscines Bernat Picornell, the venue for swimming and diving events; and the striking telecommunications tower, designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava. Of the Piscines (swimmimg pools), the diving pool was selected as the setting for the "Slow" music video recorded in 2003 by the Australian artist Kylie Minogue.
The ornate Palau Nacional houses the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, an extensive showcase of Catalan painting and sculpture.
The top of the hill can be reached using the Funicular de Montjuïc, a funicular railway that operates as part of the Barcelona Metro, and then a aerial cableway. Part of the slopes are covered with a well attended park and gardens. The hill is often used for amateur cycling.