Have you ever heard of the Castell dels Tres Dragons (Castle of the Three Dragons) in Barcelona? This beautiful building is located in Barcelona’s green lung, Ciutadella Park in Eixample.
The castle is one of the earliest and most important examples of Modernisme Català (Catalan Art Nouveau), a fascinating architectural style that emerged between 1885 and 1920. Catalan Modernisme is part of the Art Nouveau movement which was in fashion throughout Europe however, Catalonia retains its own unique character thanks to Modernisme’s use of elements borrowed from nature. This style is particularly evident in the work of Antoni Gaudí famous for designing the stunning Sagrada Familia Basilica and Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
Castell dels Tres Dragons History
The Castell dels Tres Dragons was designed by Domènech i Montaner, whose buildings can be found throughout Barcelona. Two of his other spectacular works include the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Hospital Sant Pau.
The inspiration for the castle came from the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, a construction of bricks and steel beams. Domènech i Montaner adopted this method and added ceramics and glass, also using Moorish influences evident in the turrets and battlements of the four towers. The façade is finished with some painted ceramic tiles.
As part of the 1888 World Fair (Exposición Universal de Barcelona de 1888), many parts of Barcelona were rebuilt, including the Ciutadella Park. The castle and the impressive Arc de Triomf date from this period, with the triumphal arch serving as the main entrance to the exhibition. 400,000 international visitors flocked to Barcelona to see one of the world’s most important events of its kind, where each country was granted an opportunity to present its technical progress. The host city was expected to feature the most prestigious display, and thus the very best architects were commissioned to design the buildings. The Castell dels Tres Dragons was used as a café-restaurant for visitors and participants before becoming a design studio and a meeting place for artists after the World Fair.
Castell dels Tres Dragons Today
Today the Castell dels Tres Dragons in Barcelona is used as an exhibition space and for the Museum of Zoology, although on-going renovations mean it is currently closed. Upon reopening it will be used as a natural laboratory for exhibition and research.