The places I most wanted to see in Barcelona were the works of famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Right after Montserrat we went to Park Güell, a park he designed initially as a housing complex.
We entered through the secondary entrance which was near the parking of all the tour buses. This thick and heavy metal gate seemed impossible to move but our tour guide Marta was able to push it with just one hand.
She showed us the secret which was it pivots on an anchor on the floor.
The park was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site, the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, whom the park was named after. It was inspired by the English garden city movement; hence the original English name Park. The site was a rocky hill with little vegetation and few trees, called Muntanya Pelada (Bare Mountain). It already included a large country house called Larrard House or Muntaner de Dalt House, and was next to a neighborhood of upper class houses called La Salut (The Health). The intention was to exploit the fresh air (well away from smoky factories) and beautiful views from the site, with sixty triangular lots being provided for luxury houses. Count Eusebi Güell added to the prestige of the development by moving in 1906 to live in Larrard House. Ultimately, only two houses were built, neither designed by Gaudí. One was intended to be a show house, but on being completed in 1904 was put up for sale, and as no buyers came forward, Gaudí, at Güell's suggestion, bought it with his savings and moved in with his family and his father in 1906. This house, where Gaudí lived from 1906 to 1926, was built by Francesc Berenguer in 1904. It contains original works by Gaudí and several of his collaborators. It is now the Gaudi House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudí) since 1963. In 1969 it was declared a historical artistic monument of national interest. Wikipedia
Gaudi believed in combining nature and architecture. He didn't believe in straight lines and used a lot of stone, mosaic tiles and old pieces of pottery and tiles.
Gaudi created several viaducts around the park. They were all wide enough for carriages to pass.
Rochelle and I take a seat and photo-op on the natural stone ledges.
viaduct of the museum
This is the main entrance to the park.
This is the grand staircase and the most famous and most recognized part of the park.
This was the first fountain on the staircase.
The second fountain was the famous mosaic salamander ofter mistaken as a dragon and called "el drac." That's our friend Bettina posing with the lizard.
Gaudi's salamander or "el drac"
Above the staircase is the Hispotalia room. Rochelle took my picture from entrance of the Hispotalia room while I took hers from the stairs.
At the top of the staircase is a seating area. On the right is a picture of our guide Marta and my two nephews, Kevin and Ryan.
From this picture you can see Nature's square on top of the Hispotalia room.
This room with 86 columns was supposed to be the marketplace for the residential community. The columns provided an important function of not only supporting the square above it but it also served as a drain from the rain water collected. The water is filtered then goes throught the columns into a chamber under the room that served as a reservoir.
The ceiling was decorated with colorful mosaic tiles.
A free school for the local children is located inside Park Güell.
Baldiri Reixac school
This is Nature's park right on top of the Hipostila room.
Looks like a beach right? Quite an unexpected sight.
The unique shape of the serpentine bench enables the people sitting on it to converse privately, although the square is large. The bench is tiled and in order to dry up quickly after it rains, and to stop people from sitting in the wet part of the bench, small bumps were installed by Gaudí. Wikipedia
We were pressed for time so we didn't get to go in the Gaudi museum.
Other than the extreme heat I really enjoyed seeing my first Gaudi work. Coming up are two more of Gaudi's masterpieces.