Category Archives: City Parks and Gardens

Barcelona Ciutadella Park: The Formal Gardens

The Ciutadella Park in Barcelona is the largest and oldest city park. It was established in the mid 19th century and was for a long the only substantial green space in the city with about 70 acres of paths, trails, a lake, and assorted statuary and buildings. It is home to the Parliament building, the Barcelona Zoo, and the Geological museum. It is perhaps most famous for the very large waterfall fountain designed by Fontsere in the 1880s when Gaudi was his student and is believed to have contributed to it. It was inaugurated for the Universal Exhibition. See my other post for more on the fountain and the rest of the park.

The gardens by the Parliament and the Zoo are the most formal part of the Ciutadella, with neatly trimmed hedges, rows of plane trees, roses borders and a fountain.

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Jardines de Cuenca: A Cliffhanging Garden in Ronda, Spain

Ronda is one of the “white villages” of Andalusia in southern Spain. It is most famous for the steep cliffs separating the two sides of town and the jaw dropping view they offer. Ronda also has one of the oldest bullfighting arenas and Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles were frequent visitors. streets are actually named after them.

I visited Ronda in the winter, so I did not see the Jardines de Cuenca at their very best.  The season however in no way detracted from appreciating this unique site,  and the stunning views from this small garden literally hanging over the canyon. It is laid out as a series of small terraces, climbing up into the center and towards the main bridge, and planted with palm trees and succulents that are well adapted to the summer heat of southern Spain.

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Barcelona Ciutadella Park: Fountains, Gaudi and Gardens

The Ciutadella Park in Barcelona is the largest and oldest city park. It was established in the mid 19th century and was for a long the only substantial green space in the city with about 70 acres of paths, trails, a lake, and assorted statuary and buildings. It is home to the Parliament building, the Barcelona Zoo, and the Geological museum. It is perhaps most famous for the very large waterfall fountain designed by Fontsere in the 1880s when Gaudi was his student and is believed to have contributed to it. It was inaugurated for the Universal Exhibition.

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Barcelona’s Archaeology Museum Garden

Montjuic is a majestic hill in Barcelona overlooking the port, west of the center. The entire hill is a series of parks, gardens, museums, and other monuments, as it was developed first for the 1929 International Exhibition held in Barcelona Spain, then again for the 1992 Olympics. It is home to the Olympic ring, Arata Izosaki’s sports palace, the Catalan Art museum, the Spanish village, the Barcelona Botanical Gardens, the Archaeology Museum, the Greek Theater, the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion, the Juan Miro Foundation, the Laribal Gardens, just to name a few.

The Archaeology Museum has small gardens laid out around a fountain. The arches and statuary in the back, and the tall cypresses give it the feel of an Italian garden.

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Brest Botanical Gardens Part II: The Preservation Gardens

In northern Brittany, the Botanical Gardens in Brest enjoy a privileged location in a small valley with a stream throughout, and creating a microclimate allowing endangered species to grow with additional protection. Long and narrow, these gardens are divided into the park area at one end, end the botanical gardens proper at the other.

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In this second post, I am featuring the botanical gardens, which are largely dedicated to the preservation of endangered species of plants. The water features here are more extensive than in the park area, with large ponds and ducks in addition to the stream running the length of the park. Here again, the areas around the stream are reminiscent of Japanese rock gardens, and landscaped with a profusion of bridges, ferns or bamboo groves. Note the beautiful planting of Tasmanian tree ferns along the banks, as well as some particularly large gunneras.

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Brest Botanical Gardens Part 1: The Park

In northern Brittany, the Botanical Gardens in Brest enjoy a privileged location in a small valley with a stream throughout, and creating a microclimate allowing endangered species to grow with additional protection. Long and narrow, these gardens are divided into the park area at one end, end thebotanical gardens proper at the other.

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In this post, I am featuring the park. Common to both areas is the stream and therefore an abundance of water features. The park has the feel of a woodland garden, with more greenery, bamboos, mature trees, gunnera and the likes, than landscaped borders and flowers. The choice of plants as well as the use of rocky elements and bridges give it very much the feel of a Japanese garden, in certain areas of the park in particular.

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Prinicipe de Anglona: A Historic Garden in Old Madrid

Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona is a beautiful green space, gracing Madrid’s Plaza de la Paja. It is one of the few examples of aristocratic gardens of the eighteenth century still preserved in the capital.

Its history is linked to the Palacio del Príncipe de Anglona, an edifice erected around 1530 as the residence of Francisco de Vargas- Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona was laid out in the eighteenth century, along one side of the mansion. It was designed in neo-classical style by Nicolás Chalmandrier.

The garden is named for Pedro de Alcántara Téllez-Girón y Alfonso-Pimentel, prince of Anglona and marquez of Jabalquinto, who lived in the mansion in the nineteenth century.”  (From stay.com)

I visited this garden in the fall, and I can only image what a wonderful green oasis it must be in the heart of Madrid when the arbor and roses are in full bloom.

 

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The Alcazaba Gardens: Alhambra’s Fortress in Granada, Spain

Granada, in southern Spain,  is of course most famous for the Alhambra and Generalife gardens.  The Alcazaba was built as a fortress and is the oldest part of the Alhambra. The gardens of the Alcazaba are small but offer sweeping views of the city, as well as fountains and other features typically found in Moorish style gardens.

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View from the Alcazaba
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The gate
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The ornate fountain outside the walls
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On the hill going up to the gate
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Building foundations remaining in the Alcazaba

DSC00428The garden proper is called Jardin de los Adarves. It is a long and narrow garden on the side of the Alcazaba overlooking the city.

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A Landscaped Square in Cordoba’s Old Town

Plaza de Geronimo Paez is one of the most picturesque squares in the historic center of Cordoba Spain. Palm trees, bougainvilleas, citrus trees, fountains, and lovely floor designs, make it one of the most pleasant squares to enjoy an afternoon drink at one of the cafes and to people watch. The Archeology Museum is also located here.

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Buen Retiro Park: A Madrid Landmark

The Buen Retiro Park, or just Retiro as it is known, is one of the largest parks in Madrid. Located in the heart of Madrid near the Prado museum, it is the most emblematic of Madrid parks, with a rose garden, formal gardens, a man made lake, statuaries and much more; and of course the fantastic crystal palace now used as a venue for art events. It is a landmark of Madrid and worth reading more about, here is the Wikipedia link.

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