Sant Martí is a large community park, a quiet square under dense trees, made up of quite distinct spaces which demonstrate the successive stages of building it over ten years. The result is a wide, green area with lots of neighbourhood facilities.
The largest part of the park is like an irregular-shaped triangle, completely covered in grass and full of sparse trees. There is little paving, only what is necessary for crossing the triangle from one end to the other or skirting around it and providing access from Ronda de Sant Martí.
The park was created on some old crop fields among the many that occupied a good part of the Sant Martí district up to the mid-20th century, one of the last bastions of Barcelona’s agricultural past. Part of the old Verneda de Sant Martí, which, by the 16th century already consisted of the Sant Martí de Provençals parish church, the rectory, the inn, the farms and other rural buildings scattered around the area.
The main features in the widest part of the park are the grass and trees. The large boughs of the tipu trees (Tipuana tipu), offering good shade to anyone who wants it, contrast with the slender figures of the cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens). They are two of the many species of tree found there thanks to communal tree plantings.
Very tall white poplars (Populus alba), which you will find throughout the park, can be seen reflected in the waters of a pool by the Ronda de Sant Mart entrances. An immense Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) stands out magnificently by the water, while a row of common alders (Alnus glutinosa) at one end of the park recalls the three original trees area was named after (alder is vern in Catalan).
Orange trees (Citrus sinensis) and olive trees (Olea europaea) at several points of the park also bear witness to the agricultural past of this green space.
Landscaping and Design
Once you cross C/ Menorca, which is closed to traffic along this section, you will find another area clearly differentiated from the rest of the park. This is a large, quiet, shaded square, surrounded by trees and with a large paved space where, for example, you can play with a ball. The two uppers ends of the square have a children’s play area and an area with benches, surrounded by hedges, inviting passers-by to enjoy some peace and quiet, far from the madding crowd of the city.
Art and Architecture
As you enter from C/ Agricultura, at the other end of a large square, you will find the Sant Martí parish church. This is a unique part of the park, where what stand out above all are the architectural features that have survived over the years: the church and the farms Can Cadena, Can Planas and Ca l’Arnó , which currently house several district facilities.
Can Cadena has one of Barcelona’s urban allotments, boasting 16 plots cultivated by the district’s senior citizens and occupying a total of 800 m2. There is also an area set aside for farm animals, another for compost and a classroom for training in organic agriculture.
This has made it possible for Parks and Gardens to offer schools activities under the environmental education programme that are designed to introduce biological agricultural techniques and the most common farm animals to children, such assheep, chickens, geese and rabbits.
Another environmental aspect worth noting is the farm’s solar-panel power station, which generates close to 8,724 kWh per year, the equivalent to an annual energy consumption of four 80 m2 rooms. The energy produced enables an annual saving of 940 kg of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
- C Menorca, 64