Another Antonio Gaudi masterpiece, Park Guell is a nice place to visit if the weather is beautiful. The park was created in 1900, when Count Eusebi Güell bought a hillside and hired Gaudí to create a miniature city of houses for the wealthy. The project was abandoned, though not before Gaudi created a plaza and few other constructions in his inimitable manner. The park was inaugurated in 1926 as a public park.
To get in the central area you will need to get tickets, the rest of the park is free. The access to the central area is limited to a certain number of people every half-hour.
Just at the entrance is a former porter house, you know, the gatekeeper, the one that was supposed to screen the guests and visitors that would enter the property. The house hosts a display on Gaudí’s building methods and documents about the history of the park. It is a beautiful building, especially on the outside. It has fantastically shaped roofs with unusual pinnacles, to me it looked like a fairytale building, built out of gingerbread….with white frosting : -).
The porter house
The inside is interesting, this is a picture I took for a set a stairs that was leading to the upper level, notice the beautiful blue color of the walls….
After the porter house there is a set of steps that are guarded by a mosaic dragon/lizard (a copy of which you can buy in the souvenir shops, there are many around this area and also downtown).
These lead to a hall and then to the main terrace, which are the focal point of the park. The hall is called the Sala Hipóstila (aka the Doric Temple) and it is breathtaking. The structure is supported by a forest of 86 stone columns. The ceiling is decorated with beautiful mosaic. I liked it, but when I went it was under restoration and I am not sure if you should pay the money to visit it….
This is the ceiling part of the hall, with the mosaic decorations
The terrace has beautiful views of Barcelona. The views extend all the way to sea. Here you will find the Banc de Trencadís, a tiled bench curving sinuously around the perimeter of the terrace. The bench structure was designed by one of Gaudí’s closest colleagues, architect Josep Maria Jujol (1879–1949).
The bench is decorated using broken shards of tiles and pottery to make a colorful mosaic. This decorating technique is called “trencadís”, meaning ‘chopped’ in Catalan. Park Guell is where Gaudí pioneered this technique.
There are other interesting places to see here, such as the colonnaded footpath under the roadway viaduct. I thought this place was enchanting, the columns look so unusual……they are unusual !
It looks like these columns are inspired by the shape of the trees and it does make sense, because Gaudi was inspired and liked to imitate the natural world. He did the same in his design of the Sagrada Familia.
There is also a house called la Torre Rosa that was built as a model home in 1904. This was not built by Gaudi, but by a friend of his, Francesc Berenguer. Gaudí lived here with his father and niece from 1906 until 1925. His father died in 1906 and his niece died in 1912
At the very end of his life Gaudí moved into his studio at the Sagrada Familia which he designed and was building on until his death in 1926. Today this house is the Gaudí house-museum where you can see Gaudi’s bedroom and pieces of furniture designed by Gaudí (including items that were once in La Pedrera, Casa Batlló and Casa Calvet- these are other buildings designed by Gaudi).
There is also the Larrard House, which is now a public school. I wondered how it looks inside, but you cannot enter, obviously, since it is school’s property.
The park is just really nice to walk through, it’s peaceful and it’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city below.
If you are in town, it’s worth visiting.
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