03/07/2006 08:00 h.
Text: Maria Rosa Salvadó
Photos: Dani García
This park is, in fact, was previously an area dedicated to a very different activity, for many years. It is the old Pedrera del Coll quarry, around the base of one of the hills which surround Barcelona.
Its origins give character and a strong personality to the park, a marginal area which has been transformed into a focal area in the neighbourhood to meet and enjoy free time.
If we go in the main entrance - in Avinguda de la Mare de Déu del Coll, on the corner with Carrer de Castellterçol - we are welcomed by a tall, slim, iron monolith; Escultura by Ellsworth Kelly. Behind this, on the right, there is an immense square, bordered on one side by a pergola and protected by the walls which, for years were used for quarrying granite.
The square is surrounded by banana trees, holm-oak, and Judas trees, and in the middle there is a gravel area where there are children's games, two table tennis tables and a basketball net. A few cypress trees and a lawn area with groups of flowers give a touch of colour.
The Creueta del Coll is a sheltered park, with a large lake, with, in the middle, a small island with palm trees. In the summer the lake is transformed into a public swimming pool, and there is a ramp for wheelchair access. Disabled access is a major consideration throughout the park.
The Elogi de l’aigua
There is a smaller pond, higher up, between the old walls of the quarry and a concrete wall, with one of the most valued elements of this park; the Elogi de l’aigua, a colossal sculpture by Eduardo Chillida, made out of concrete and weighing over 50 tons.
Suspended over the water, the sculpture is held up by four steel cables embedded in the rock, giving the enormous sculpture a surprising aspect of lightness.
Places to stop
If the benches around the park are an ideal place to while away the time, above the lake you can sit and contemplate everything that is happening, in and out of the water. A little further up there are two large terraces offering the shade of acacia trees, a wonderful place to sit in one of the most peaceful areas of the park. A ramp on the right of the second terrace leads to the two petanca courts.
The picnic area
The paths lead through leafy vegetation of trees and shrubs, and in the most wooded area of the park there is the picnic area. It is a pretty area, with tables, benches and a fountain, garnished with the green of the pine trees on one side, and the plants growing on the old quarry walls on the other. To go with this, there are some wonderful views of Barcelona.
Up to the hills
Above the walls of stone, today colonised by Mediterranean shrubs, particularly broom, there is a wooden fence separating the park from the wooded area of the Coll hills, leading up to Collserola. A short walk, starting from Passatge de Manlleu allows you to skirt the walls. On the way back you can go down the side of the hill, which leads to the Taxonera neighbourhood, in the district of Horta-Guinardó.
Did you know...
Among the palm trees on the island in the lake at Parc de la Creueta del Coll, there is one worthy of special mention. It is an example of a rare date palm: a lateral stem, equally thick, grows from the same stem.
What is the stem?
It is a large fibrous tissue, normally very long and slender, which supports the enormous leaves which are the top of the palm tree. It is not correct to refer to it as a trunk, because palm trees do not have one - technically, woody species such as trees and shrubs have a trunk.
A strong character
Palm trees are a world apart in the plant kingdom. Elegant and always green, it is difficult to resist their beauty, and they give an agreeable exotic sensation.
There are many palm trees in Barcelona, almost 5,000, mainly date palms (Phoenix dactilyfera), the Canaries palm (Phoenix canariensis), Washingtonia robusta and the Washinsgtonia filifera. Also frequent in many squares and flower beds is the Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis), the only native species of Catalonia.
Area: 1,68 ha
Identification: urban park
Opening hours: de las diez de la mañana hasta la tarde
Services: swimming pool in the summer, children's games, bar, fountains, picnic area, petanca court, table tennis and toilets
Access: Pg. de la Mare de Déu del Coll and Carrer de Castellterçol