The first public park on Montjuïc Mountain
The Laribal Gardens are home to gems like Barcelona’s first public rose garden, the Generalife stairways, the Font del Gat and the Ethnological Museum. Opened in 1924 on land owned by the Republican politician Josep Laribal, these Hispano-Arabic gardens incorporate the slope of Montjuïc and the water flowing down the mountain as stylistic elements.
What to visit at the Laribal Gardens?
The Laribal Gardens, located between the Fundació Joan Miró and the Teatre Grec, were built for the 1929 Universal Exposition by the French landscaper Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier with the collaboration of Nicolau Rubió i Tudurí. Following the topography of the mountain, the gardens are structured into terraces on different levels, united by paths and stairways, while the flatter zones are protected from the sun by a series of pergolas. The design also takes advantage of the water flowing down the mountain to incorporate fountains and waterfalls. The Laribal Gardens are home to a variety of singular spaces:
- The rose garden of the Colla de l’Arròs (the ‘Rice Group’, which was a political and gastronomic association that was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries), which is a patio surrounded by cypresses under a pergola with terracotta pillars that is home to a series of rectangular flower beds with different varieties of rose bushes.
- The Generalife stairway and the Sculptures Garden, which Forestier designed based on the Granada Generalife, with ponds and fountains on the landings and waterfalls in the handrails of the steps.
- The Font del Gat (Fountain of the Cat), with its cat’s head spout by Josep Antoni Homs, which gained local fame due to a popular song called ‘La Marieta de l’ull viu’ by Joan Amich.
- The Montjuïc Park Visitor Centre, located in a neo-Arabic style villa designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch.
- The Ethnological Museum, a space dedicated to anthropology and reflection on Catalan culture and society.
How do you get to the Laribal Gardens?
The Fundació Joan Miró stop on the Red Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic is right outside the main entrance to the gardens.
For the most curious of you
- Did you know? Three women rule the Laribal Gardens. Presiding over the rose garden is "Estival", a marble sculpture by Jaume Otero (1929); "La Noia de la Trena" (The Girl with the Plait) is a bronze statue by Josep Viladomat; (1928) and "Repòs" (Repose), also by Viladomat, is a stone female nude located near to the entrance next to Fundació Joan Miró.
- Local’s tip: The Laribal Gardens are extensive and contain such a wealth of architecture, sculptures and plant life that it is worth taking the time to enjoy them!
- A must: To enjoy with children. With so many trees, terraces, fountains and sculptures, the opportunities for fun are endless!
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