This park is an area which combines the rustic nature of a forest with the elegance of a well-kept garden, where water plays a dominant role. It is one of the most extensive green areas and with the greatest contrasts in Barcelona. At the bottom of the park next to the street, a child spins his hoop amidst of a sea of flowers. This is a garden that, revisiting the memory of water, is learning to be a forest.
The Parc del Guinardó is divided into three separate sections: an urban area which precedes the large area of the park, another historical area and at the top, the greenery of forest vegetation. Its areas of lawn and its pine trees make this place one of the most refreshing and peaceful green areas in the city.
The park is the result of a remodelling process to the lower area, in 1977, which was extended and was joined to the Plaça del Nen de la Rutlla, which is the main entrance to the park. It is formed by terraces situated on different levels separated by areas with lawn, trees and shrubs. This is a park which, due to its proximity to the street, invites visitors to sit on one of the benches to rest for a while.
The historical park
This consists of a green rustic garden which climbs up the mountainside following the path made by a stream making terraces which are communicated by paths and steps. At the top there is a landing where visitors can see the first of the magnificent views of Barcelona which can be seen from this park.
In the centre of the climb there are walls marked with small channels made by the water which falls from the landing, forming waterfalls and filling ponds.
The forest park
The forest park, situated on a steep slope, has a large forest area which encircles the highest part of the historical area and which stretches up the hill. There are several pathways which cross and where it is common to find other visitors walking their dogs or cycling. There is plenty of space for everyone.
A place worth visiting is the Mitja Lluna Viewpoint, next to the square with the same name. As the park is quite steep, this is a good place for those who prefer to visit it going down. Bus nº 28 takes us here from Plaça de Catalunya.
A high area
If the view of Barcelona from the Mitja Lluna Viewpoint is nice, the view seen from Sant Joan Viewpoint is no less pleasing. On a clear day you can see from Sant Pere Màrtir to Montjuïc and Montgat.
As the forest area is fairly steep, in summer it is best to be there during the late afternoon for the coolness, which is also a good time to have an early dinner in the picnic area.
In the urban part of the park, the main trees are the white pines and the rosewoods which in summer bloom with yellow flowers which cover the ground with a carpet when they fall. The sight is so beautiful that often the gardeners leave them lying there. We can also find redbuds, mulberry trees, elms and olive trees in this area of the park.
The historical area is full of well-trimmed hedges on each side of the pathways. Pittosporum tobira, bay trees and oleander shrubs are abundant as well as herbs such as rosemary and lavander. There are also many very large carob cypress, cedar, mimosa and oak trees.
In the small water canals we can find a vivacious species of red, very decorative and rare flowers in Barcelona, Lobelia laxiflora, and on the small clearings which we find when climbing up the mountain there are pagodatrees, evergreen mimosas and bitter orange trees.
Right at the top, we can find a natural spontaneous thick forest, with white pine trees and in some places cedars and typical Mediterranean undergrowth.
Art and architecture
At the beginning of the historical area of the park, there is one of the most popular fountains in the neighbourhood, la font del Cuento (the Cuento fountain). It owes its name to the fact that water normally flowed very slowly and while people waited to collect the water, they chatted with each other and told stories, or Cuentos. Couples also used to meet around the fountain and for this reason too, it was a fountain with a lot of 'cuento'.
Between Avinguda de la Mare de Déu de Montserrat and the entrance to the park there is a square with the most popular sculpture in the Guinardó district: Nen de la rutlla, or the Boy with the Hoop, which gives the name to the square. It is a bronze sculpture by Joaquim Ros i Bofarull, made in 1961.
Barcelona can enjoy this park thanks to the reserves of land that were made available at the beginning of the 20th century. This park is built on an area of land facing the sea which, in 1910, became municipal property. The first part to be built was the historical part, the work of Jean-Claude-Nicolas Forestier in collaboration with Nicolau M. Rubió i Tudurí. Guinardó Park was a joint project by these two landscape architects, a testing field for experimentation, after which we would find more than just one type of native garden, the Meridional Garden, parks like Laribal Gardens, or the Tamarita or Turó Park Garden.
The name of a fox... .
The name Guinardó is linked to an old farmhouse near the park: the Mas Guinardó which is today the district Institutional headquarters. There are, however, many other reasons for this name, as Joan Corbera i Palau, from the Guinardó Historical Group belonging to the Cooperativa Cultural Rocaguinarda explains.
The origin of the word Guinardó most probably comes from "guinarda", "fox" in old Catalan. The Mas Guinardó, therefore, took its name from this cunning animal. This is not, however, the only explanation. There is another one, a mixture of history and legend.
...or a bandoleer?
When Miguel de Cervantes came to Barcelona he stayed at this farmhouse, which, it appears, belonged to the famous bandoleer Perot Rocaguinarda. The name Guinardó may also come from this famous character.
There is talk of long and winding secret passageways, which permitted Rocaguinarda to escape when he was under siege by the troops of the Viceroy, as these connected the farmhouse with the inside of the old walled city of Barcelona. Some say they have even walked through part of these tunnels.
"Perot lo Lladre"
Rocaguinarda, son of Oristà and known as "Perot lo Lladre" (Perot the Thief) became so well-known that even Cervantes refers to him in Don Quixote. He was a member of the 'Nyerros' band at a time, during the sixteenth century, in which bandoleers had more to do with belonging to a band than thieving.
More than evildoers, the bandoleers appeared as the result of fights between the feudal powers, instruments for annulling power among the most influential people of the time and who disappeared when faced with the need to make a common front in the War of the Segadors, or the Reapers' War.
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