Anella Olimpica – the Olympic Ring
Barcelona’s Anella Olimpica (the Olympic Ring) has been constructed for the 1992 Olympic Games.
In the areal on Montjuic the Estadi Lluis Companys had already been built more than 60 years before for the 1929 World Exhibition.
For the Olympics, the stadium was expanded to 65,000 seats and held the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the athletics events.
Apart from the Olympic stadium, the Anella Olimpica consists of the Palau Sant Jordi for up to 17,000 spectators at indoor events and the two separate swimming stadiums of the Piscines Bernat Picornell and the Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc.
The Olympic Stadium was used by Barcelona’s second football club Espanyol until 2009, when the team moved to their new home ground in Cornella el Prat on the outskirts of the city. Currently, it is just used for special events like the 2010 European Athletics Championship.
Slightly smaller events that are still attracting large crowds such as concerts are usually held indoor at the Palau Sant Jordi.
Anella Olimpica’s two swimming pools are publicly accessible today. The Piscina Municipal de Montjuic is just open in summer though. But it has come to world fame since Kylie Minogue used it as the setting for the video of her song “Slow” in 2003. It is worth being included in a stroll along the Anella Olimpica alone for its incredible views of the city.
The most striking landmark, however, probably is the elegant antenna of Torre Telefonica on Plaza Europa, right below the stadium. It was built together with Torre Collserola on Tibidabo for the global transmission of the Olympic Games.
Being designed by Santiago Calatrava, the futuristic, slim structure has quickly established itself among the icons of Barcelona.
How to get to Anella Olimpica?
By metro take the green line L3 to Parallel and change to the Cable Car (included in the metro ticket) up to Montjuic and the Anella Olimpica. You arrive right next to the Piscina Municipal de Montjuic. From here it is a 10 minute walk to the Olympic Stadium.
If you are using the Barcelona Bus Turistic, you will be driving through the whole Anella Olimpica and you can get on and off at several places on Montjuic.