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  • Writer's pictureWill von Behr, MA

A Brief History of the Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera

What are the Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera?

The Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera are peaceful gardens at the foot of Montjuïc Hill in Barcelona that specialise in tropical, desert and high-mountain plants.

Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera

Jorge Franganillo, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera History

Like Hollywood stars who, after their purple patch, fall into oblivion, the gardens of Mossèn Costa i Llobera are one of the least visited parks in Barcelona. Yet in their early years they enjoyed great fame.

The New York Times even claimed in an article published in 1987 that these gardens at the foot of Montjuïc Hill were among the most beautiful on the planet. Still, this six-hectare park today finds itself among the most neglected sights in the city.

The gardens are named after Miquel Costa i Llobera, a late-19th century Majorcan poet and priest (Mossèn means ‘father’ in Catalan), who, like many in the Balearic Islands, considered Catalan his primary language. They specialise in whatever would otherwise not grow in Barcelona: tropical, desert and high-mountain species.

As its most impressive feature the gardens boast a vast collection of cacti originating from many different continents and countries. With over 800 species, some towering at five metres tall, this comprises the most extensive collection of succulents and cacti in Europe.

The park's location on the slope of Montjuïc Hill, by the sea, makes the temperatures of the gardens average two degrees Celsius higher than the rest of Barcelona. In this microclimate the cacti and succulent species are protected and can thrive.

The gardens were laid out in the 1970s by architect Joan Maria Casamor and designed by Joan Pañella Bonastre, professor at Barcelona's Municipal Gardening School.

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