This park has many interesting aspects, including a huge iron dragon with slippery skin that is used by children as a slide, a large pond guarded by Neptune where Venus is reflected upon the water, sunny lawns that invite you to sunbathe, and various shady areas for just sitting and relaxing. All this together with the principal elements of fire, water and earth make up the Parc de l'Espanya Industrial.
The Parc de l'Espanya Industrial spreads out over a wide grassy area surrounded by amphitheatre-like steps. The stairs located next to the Plaça dels Països Catalans finish off in the pond that occupies almost half of this park and acts as a home for a family of ducks. At the top of these stairs, there are nine imposing lighthouse towers with a powerful presence. Upon these white brick steps, you can peacefully sit or walk down to the edge of the water and rest on the benches located on small islands.
The other white brick slope forms a straight angle with the first, running parallel to a path that crosses the park. It begins at the main entrance and finishes at the other end on the street Carrer Muntadas. The local sports centre is located on one side of the path. From these steps, as well as others, one can reach an expansive green lawn, which is crossed by stone paths and occupies a large part of the park, ending at a small shaded forest.
Beyond the meadow and small forest, there is a large esplanade with benches and several banana trees, making it an ideal place for adults to sit down and relax and for children to play. The name of the park comes from the old factory buildings that have been preserved and are located in this very same spot. Nowadays, the inside of these buildings serve as storage space and the outside walls are often used for an improvised game of jai alai.
The park's vegetation is a very important factor, despite the small number of varieties found.
At the water's edge, a few weeping willows (Salix babylonica) separate the pond from the great green lawn, which is only interrupted by a couple rows of cherry plum trees (Prunus cerasifera 'Atropupurea') that provide a beautiful reddish contrast.
Deep inside the meadow, where many people are normally found sunbathing, begins a small forest with evergreen oak trees (Quercus ilex), leyland cypresses (Cupressocyparis X leylandii), roman pine trees (Pinus pinea) and banana trees (Plantanus X hispanica). The last species provides shade in the summertime over the area where the public toilets are located.
The cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens 'Stricta') that are planted on top of the concrete platform along the edge of the pond occasionally reach down into the sheet of water.
Art and architecture
The sculptures found within the Parc de l'Espanya Industrial are considered to be of great importance. The immense dragon, with its spread wings and enormous tail that falls down towards the pond, was created by Andres Nagel. Weighing over 150 tons, it was designed to be used as a slide.
Amidst the water stands the Neptune sculpture, created by Manuel Fluxà in 1881. It is similar to what he sculpted for the waterfall in the Parc de la Ciutadella. At the edge of the pond there is a modern Venus sitting upon a rock. This sculpture was created by José Pérez Pérez ("Persejo") in 1929 for the Universal Exposition of Barcelona.
Also from the first half of the 20th century is the 1947 stone statue of a woman (Tors de dona) by Enric Casanoves. It has recently been replaced by a bronze replica after the original was destroyed by vandalism. Another sculpture from this period is Bous de l'abundància, created by Antoni Alsina in 1926. There are still two more sculptures, which are very modern: Landa V (1985) created by Pablo Palenzuelo, and d'Alto Rhapsody (1985), the work of an English sculptor named Anthony Caro.
Amongst the most important architectural structures within the park are: the nine imposing light houses (built by the head designer of the park, architect Luis Peña Ganchegui) which border the Sant Antoni promenade; the old factory buildings from the former Industrial Spain, such as the Casa del Mig, now used as casals d'infants (children's centres); and the old arch located at the industrial park's entrance on the street Carrer Muntadas.
This park is a perfect example of the recovery plan put into action in Barcelona in the 1980s. The aim of this plan was to restore land that was once occupied by industrial businesses or services that had either closed down or moved to other places within Barcelona's metropolitan area.
The park got its name from an old industrial textile company which was set up in 1847 by the Muntadas family, well known for having the first ever cotton business in Spain: La España Industrial, Sociedad Anónima Fabril y Mercantil.
The textile factory, located it what was the Sants district at that time, was popularly known as Vapor Nou (New Steam), in contrast to the name of the other large textile factory in the same area. Vapor Vell (Old Steam). This factory was considered one of the most modern textile factories in the industry. With 2,500 employees in 1880, it was dedicated to spinning, weaving and cotton printing. In 1969, the factory was closed down and the land was sold.
In 1985 after a series of local demands, the decision was made to use the old factory land for building houses and creating the park that is there today. A large sports centre was also built on the same grounds in 1992 for the Barcelona Olympics. It was used for the weight-lifting competition during the games and is now considered one of the most important sports centres within the Sants-Montjuïc area.
The contents of this website are subject to a Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise.