The Montjuïc Magic Fountain welcomes you to the mountain that is one of the city's must-see sights. It is home to some of the city's iconic attractions, such as the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, the Fundació Joan Miró, CaixaFòrum, the Palau Sant Jordi sports arena, the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium, Montjuïc Castle, the Poble Espanyol and the Botanical Gardens.
It is Barcelona's biggest ornamental fountain and was built for the 1929 International Exhibition. But why is it considered magical? Well, if you see it at night, with its spectacular display of lights and cascading water, you'll soon understand.
The Montjuïc Magic Fountain is located at the end of what was the exhibition's main avenue, Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina, in front of the Palau Nacional. It forms the centrepiece to a series of monumental cascades, fountains and water jets that line the avenue, and was designed by the engineer and lighting specialist, Carles Buïgas. His project sought to transform the avenue into a stunning night-time spectacle of water and light. The fountains were driven by high-power electric motors and included the latest technological innovations to pump out large volumes of water. The fountains soon became a world-renowned visitor attraction.
This feat of “magical” engineering uses a combination of 120 rotating coloured prisms, with 4,760 light bulbs, to achieve 7 billion shades of colour that emerge through the 19 water jets in the centre of the fountain and the ones around the sides. The prisms are operated by motors, brakes and a speed-reduction system to achieve the different permutations of colour. Music was added to the mix in 1971 and made the Magic Fountain even more popular. The fountain was partly repaired in 1992 for the Olympic Games and completely refurbished between 1997 and 1998. In 2011, the fountain became fully sustainable and now uses recycled water in order to leave a more plentiful supply of drinking water. It is lit by low-energy LED bulbs.
This intricate technological sophistication comes together in a stunning display of light, water and music that amazes the spectators who come to see it. At the end of Barcelona's main festival, La Mercè, the fountain takes centre stage with the spectacular Piromusical: a huge firework display that accompanies the ballet of water, light, colour and music and transforms Montjuïc into a magical blaze of light, thrilling locals and visitors alike.
Even if you visit the Montjuïc Magic Fountain when there is no display scheduled, you won't be disappointed, as it boasts wonderful views of the city from Plaça Espanya to the slopes of Tibidabo.
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