As old as Barcelona is, what is clear is that the mountain of Montjuic was here much earlier. From the beginning, it gave shelter to the city and served as a watchtower to control who arrived by sea and to intuit what intentions they brought.
It is known, that there was a medieval tower in its summit and that from it the city was alerted when enemy ships appeared on the horizon. The signal, if it was dark already, was a great fire on the top of the mountain.
But the name of Montjuic, or Mount of the Jews, seems to come from way, way, back. In the first century, there was a Jewish colony that, according to scholars, was limited to a vegetable patch and a cemetery. The Hebrew community, in fact, lived peacefully within the city wall, in the Call or Jewish Quarter, and did so until 1492. That year, the famous decree of expulsion forced them to leave or otherwise to make an express conversion to Christianity. So, the Jews disappeared from Barcelona.
The story of the mountain continued, and it did link to its strategic position and its military uses. Depending on the flag flying in the fortress, it served either to protect the city or to bomb it, as Espartero did in 1842 with the intention of making it clear that no one was allowed to complain in there. It is said that the castle spat bombs on the population over twelve hours straight, and General Prim must have taken good note of it since he repeated the operation the following year.
The horrors in the city continued at the turn of the century, with the castle serving as a prison during and after the Civil War, with its walls serving as a stage for the executions of anarchists, political and military prisoners.
But there are more pleasant things in the history of Montjuic, and one of them has its scientific significance: when, at the end of the eighteenth century, there was a need to adopt a universal measurement system that would end the chaos of that time. For this, the measurement arc between Dunkirk and Barcelona was carried out. Barcelona’s work was conducted on this mountain and from that would come nothing less than the current metric system.
The modern history of the place is also linked to sport, the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Spain was held here from 1969 to 1975. It was an urban circuit and had its risks, but the FIA only became aware of it when an accident killed five spectators. And then, of course, the race was cancelled, and it was decided that Montjuic was not a right place to fly at ground level.