What to visit / Barcelona, district by district / Ciutat Vella / Parc de la Ciutadella / Castell dels Tres Dragons
  • Castell dels Tres Dragons, home of the Museu de Ciències Naturals

Castell dels Tres Dragons

The Parc de la Ciutadella in the old town, Ciutat Vella, is one of the unmissable places to visit in Barcelona. It is home to the peculiar modernista building, the Castell dels Tres Dragons, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and built in 1888.

It looks like a beautiful castle with a square floor plan and four crenellated towers. It was built from brick and has wrought-iron and ceramic ornamentations, which are all characteristic elements of Catalonia's home-grown art nouveau, modernisme.

The Castell dels Tres Dragons was designed to house the main restaurant for the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exhibition. Domènech i Montaner ended up resigning because building work was delayed, meaning another architect had to finish the project when the exhibition was almost over.

In 1917, the building was converted into one of the branches of the Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona and in 1920, it became home to the city's zoology museum, the Museu de Zoologia. The woman scientist, Roser Nos Ronchera began working there as an intern in the late 1940s and became its director from 1978 to 1989. She played a decisive role in the modernisation of the museum and the zoological gardens, the Parc Zoològic de Barcelona.

The Museu de Zoologia closed to the public in 2010 and has been used as a documentation centre and specialised library since then. It also houses the sound archive, the Fonoteca Natura Sonora, and the Laboratori de Natura, which is dedicated to research and the preservation of the collections from the Museu de Ciències Naturals. The building has become one of Barcelona's iconic modernista landmarks.

You may be also interested