Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Park Güell, Barcelona

Combining our love of tropical plants and the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, is the quirky Park Güell. The original concept was that of a garden village, a landscaped garden that would house numerous homes and villas. However despite the best intentions and magnificent views away from the more polluted city the scheme failed. In fact only two homes were ever built and neither of these was designed by Gaudí. However Gaudí did move into one of these homes and it now houses a museum. 

The Gaudi Museum building was designed by Francesc Berenguer
Two buildings he did design, however, are the gate lodge and a caretakers property, these are open to the public, although are very modest and internally at least show little of the flair or imagination Gaudí used in Casa Battlo we had visited earlier in the week.

The exterior of these two buildings do show off typical Gaudí details, with curved organic walls and chimneys, covered in ceramic tile. 

Toadstools or chimneys? The influence from the natural world are clear to see.


From the gatehouse you climb a fantasy staircase covered in more mosaics.







Part way up the staircase is a giant multicolored mosaic salamander, popularly known as "el drac" (the dragon). You do see this motif a lot in the souvenir shops around Barcelona - we resisted taking one home!




The stairs lead to a large undercroft area, that supports a big open space above. This area reminded me of some of the ancient Egyptian temples I have seen on TV, whether that impression was the intention of Gaudí I do not know but its an impressive, if somewhat underused space.




Supported by all those columns is a large terrace, enclosed by mosaic covered seating, the patterns in the mosaics repeat and dance with the undulating form of the seating adding an extra visual delight. 




From the terrace you get stunning views out across the city, and can really appreciate how massive the Sagrada Familia actually is, rising above all the housing and office blocks in its area.


Throughout the park and taking advantage of the natural topography, roadways jut out from the mountain on pillars and columns, all with a surreal organic feel, despite being built out of rock.











The Park, although a commercial failure 100 years ago, is a great success as a place to relax and enjoy the views across Barcelona!

Gaz

30 comments:

  1. Beautiful!! your pictures are much better than the ones I took. There was a queue to take pictures with "el drac"! thanks for the tour!!

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    1. There was a queue at that time too Lisa, we waited a bit before we managed to take pics of it without anyone beside it :)

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  2. Wow, another stunning place. The view of the Sagrada Familia is jaw-dropping. I had no idea it was THAT large.

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    1. Same here Gerhard, the Sagrada Familia is a tall church but you never realise how much it dominates the Barcelona skyline until you're quite high up like where Parc Guell is.

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  3. Hi Gaz, I so enjoyed reading your post about Park Güell. The architecture of Antoni Gaudí is fantastic. I love all the organic forms. He really addresses the child in everyone and how nice is it to be allowed to be playful, curious and inquisitive as an adult? I want to go see Barcelona, too :-)! But for now I have to be content reading your posts about the fabulous city, which is not too bad ;-) ! Wishing you a wonderful time for the rest of your stay there.
    Christina

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    1. This is Gaudi's flight of fancy coming into reality and his take on landscape design :)

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  4. Barcelona definitely has to go onto my bucket list...

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    1. You'll have to visit the city soon Kris, you'll love it!

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  5. I do love color but there is just something about that photo you identified as the large undercroft area. It's simply fabulous.

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    1. That section looks majestic and dominating, feels underused but loved the space of it all there Loree :)

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  6. I think I'd have nightmares. I don't think I'd be able to walk around. I'd panic and have to run away. Amazing to see in your pictures - but I almost wish I hadn't read the post. It will be haunting me all day. Looking at the other comments, I realise others would disagree - which is just as well for the people owning/running the place!

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    1. It's like running around in somebody else's dream :)

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  7. The exteriors are a bit mad, aren't they, the phrase "gingerbread house" springs to mind! I think the busyness would be disturbing to live with 24/7.

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    1. I said exactly the same thing whilst there Janet, one of the buildings looked like a gingerbread house!

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  8. Janet's taken the words out of my mouth with her reference to a "gingerbread house". I love the colours of the mosaics. Now why didn't you bring "el drac" home with you? I'm sure that he would be quite happy lurking in a corner of your garden :)

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    1. Ahh El drac looks fun but far too touristy so we left him behind Anna :))

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  9. What a beautiful place Barcelona is! Thank you so much for treating us to these beautiful photos! I so love mosaics and these are stunning! Looks like you are having such a great time!

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    1. A pleasure Candice! And yes the mosaic work is fab :)

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  10. We took our children here when they were little - they loved it! You have brought back many fond memories with this post. Thank you.

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    1. You're welcome :) the place still looks magical now as it was then I can imagine

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  11. What fantastic photos and colorful city. Lovely what all this city offers in architecture and what fun it would be to walk around and see it all.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Indeed Cher! Can't imagine Barcelona without Gaudi

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  12. Your pictures are making me feel like rushing to the airport and visit that place. Beautiful pictures and stunning place. I loved that second picture of that building -- curved with mosaics and toadstools/chimney on top -- just imagine living there -- it will be like living in one of those fairy castles :-). You should have taken that el draco -- in your garden of tropical plants, it was going to look like a dinosaur peeking out of ancient forest :-).

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    1. Thank you :) I suppose el drac won't be too out of place in our garden indeed!

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  13. Great pictures and comments. Its different and I don't think its too gaudy, (How predictable of me!!!)

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    1. Thanks Alistair! Mind you a few people do think his work is gaudy but there you go :))

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