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Tibidabo, the peak of Barcelona

Tibidabo, with its 516 meters above sea level, is the highest peak of Collserola, and therefore, the best viewpoint over Barcelona. Formerly was known as Puig de l'Àliga (Eagle's Hill) and that is how King Peter III "the Great" of Aragon mentioned it in 1283 to define the limits of Barcelona. It is only from the sixteenth century, that the monks of the area started using the term Tibidabo, in reference to the scene of the Gospel of Matthew, when Satan tempted Jesus on top of a hill, offering Him the Realms of the Earth. Tibi dabo in Latin means: I will give to you.

Although during the Middle Ages there were various hermitages and small population centers, urbanization of Tibidabo did not begin until the late nineteenth century, as it was far from the city and lacking of transport network. On the occasion of the International Exhibition of 1898, construction works began on the Tibidabo, building a new avenue, tram and funicular, an Amusement Park, the Fabra Observatory and the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart, among many other residential and official buildings.

Tramvia Blau (Blue Tram) is the line that goes up Avenue Tibidabo to the funicular station. It was first opened in 1901, just like the Funicular Tibidabo, the oldest funicular in Spain. This is still nowadays the most romantic and popular way to get to the top of the hill.

The Amusement Park was planned in 1899, and opened in 1901, coinciding with the arrival of the funicular. It had the honor of being the first amusement park in Spain. Among its highlights, nowadays we still find some of its ancient attractions, such as L'Avió (The Plane) installed in 1928, and the Collection of Automatons, so impressive that Walt Disney even offered a blank check in 1957 to buy some of them. The park is still operating, and has recently installed a new roller coaster and a 4D cinema.

Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart) has its origin in a small chapel promoted and funded by Lady Dorotea Chopitea, to commemorate the visit of his friend Saint John Bosco to Barcelona in 1886. In 1902, the Society of Jesus decided to expand the chapel, building a temple dedicated to the Sacred Heart, following the examples of the Sacro Cuore in Rome and the Sacré-Cœur in Paris. The construction of the temple was commissioned to Catalan architect Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia, and lasted over 60 years. We would like to mention that the ancient palace of Lady Dorotea Chopitea in Barcelona is nowadays the Hotel Granvia by Núñez i Navarro Hotels

The Fabra Observatory was built in 1902, thanks to Camil Fabra, Marquis of Alella and former Mayor of Barcelona, who made a donation to the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona to cover its construction. The building was designed by architect Josep Domenech i Estapà, and was inaugurated in 1904 with the presence of King Alfonso XIII. Currently, the Fabra Observatory collects meteorological and seismic data, and collaborates with the Pulkovo Observatory (Russia) in various monitoring programs for asteroids and comets.

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