Gaudí and the Park Güell of Barcelona
By Monserrat Gutierrez |
Discover Gaudí at the Park Güell of Barcelona and learn more about Catalan modernist architecture.
Barcelona is the perfect combination between port and city. It’s a magical destination. Also, it’s the birthplace of great talents such as the painter and sculptor Joan Miró; writer Ausiàs Marc and the greatest architect of Catalan Modernism, Antoni Gaudí. The latter was the artist behind the place we’d like to invite you to visit in this trip: the Park Güell of Barcelona.
History of the Park Güell of Barcelona
The Park Güell of Barcelona is a reminder of the friendship between Antoni Gaudí and his patron, businessman Eusebi Güell. In fact, they had previously worked together on projects such as the wine cellar at Garraf (1898) and Palau Güell (1886).
The collaborative park project of Barcelona began in 1900. It was where Gaudí and Güell combined their ideas about nature and urbanism. Also, they used this chance to execute the principles of a new architectural trend that had started to become popular in the late 19th century. DINKtravelers, as your world travel guide, invites you to learn more about this extraordinary cultural venue of Catalonia.
Modernism in Barcelona
Catalan architecture in the early 20th century was defined by Modernisme or Catalan Modernism. Its desire to give cities an image of progress through architecture was interestingly portrayed in the Park Güell of Barcelona. That’s why there you will find a kind of cultural dichotomy between tradition and the modernity of Catalonia.
Housing Development at the Park Güell of Barcelona
At first, this beautiful and dreamlike park was intended to serve as a housing development for wealthy families. It was supposed to include 60 houses distributed throughout previously defined plots. However, in the end, only two houses were built along with the Hypostyle Room –aka the One Hundred Columns Room. This change in plans occurred because there was no easy access to the area and construction conditions were not the best.
[Agregar una foto de la casa de Gaudi]
The inhabitants of the only two existing houses were Gaudí, who moved there in 1906, and Güell, who moved to the manor house in 1907. By 1914, the project’s commercial failure became evident. For this reason, Güell began to grant entrance to the general public. Most people visited the park for cultural events. After Güell’s death in 1918 the city council received an offer from his family. Finally, after four years of negotiations, Park Güell reopened. This time it opened as a public park of Catalonia. In 1984 UNESCO declared the Park Güell of Barcelona a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Following Güell’s passing, Gaudí moved to the basement of the Sagrada Familia church. As a result, in the 60’s, his abandoned house was turned into the Gaudí House Museum.
Monumental Zone in the Park Güell of Barcelona
Park Güell is divided into two parts. First, the monumental area, and then, the free access zone. The Monumental Zone begins at the Portico Pavilions, where you will find two buildings, one at each side of the gate. The one at the left was inhabited by the concierge. Meanwhile, the one at the right was the “Caretaker’s House”, the former gatekeeper’s house. Both buildings are made of rustic stone and pieces of pottery but, actually, they look like glazed cookies.
Walk to the staircase and meet the most popular inhabitant of Park Güell: El Drac. The Dragon or lizard is a sculpture that has become an icon of Barcelona. It’s the perfect theme for a photo and a great example of the broken tile shards technique known as trecandís.
[Agregar foto del Drac]
The double stairway that engulfs the Dragon also engulfs other trecandís sculptures. One of them forms a whimsical shape while another one portrays the Shield of Catalonia.
After climbing up these stairs you will reach the Hypostyle Room. It is made up by 86 columns and vaults where you can appreciate Gaudi’s trecandís work. The designs have become so popular that they’re usually found in Catalonian souvenirs.
Next, walk along the Laundress Portico. It’s the wave-shaved portico with tilted columns. Aesthetics in this place offer a great chance to work with interesting framings in your photos.
Then, visit the Austria Garden. This is the area where the housing plots used to be located. Now, it’s called like that because Austria gifted Barcelona the trees you’ll see there. Their reason to offer this present was to celebrate the Vienna in Barcelona exhibit in 1977.
The last stop at the Monumental Zone is the Greek Theater. This esplanade is used for the celebration of outdoor events. Take a break at the undulating long bench. Enjoy Gaudí’s mastery in combining architecture with natural shapes. While being there you’ll have impressive views of the city and also, in the distance, the sea.
Opening Hours and Tickets for the Gaudí House Museum
Antoni Gaudí’s former house isn’t part of the monumental area. In that sense, the entrance is not included in the park’s ticket pricing. Visit it to see Gaudi’s room together with exhibits of the original furniture that he designed for his and Güell’s house.
Take into account that there are two types of tickets to the Gaudí House Museum. The first one costs 5.5 euros and it only includes the entrance to the house. The second one costs 24 euros. It includes and audio guide as well as a donation for the construction of the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished work.
Opening hours of the Gaudí House Museum vary depending on the season:
- Oct-Mar: 10 h to 18 h
- Apr-Sep: from 9 h to 20 h
- 25 and 26 Dec and 1 and 6 Jan: 10 h to 14 h
Things You Need to Know Before Visiting the Park Güell of Barcelona
- Park Güell’s opening hours depend on the season:
- In winter: 8:30 h to 18:30 h
- In spring: 8:00 h to 21:30 h
- Book your visit and buy tickets online to save time at the ticket office.
- Entrance tickets for the Park Güell of Barcelona cost 8 euros at the ticket office and 7 euros online.
- You must be very punctual. You will not be allowed in 30 minutes after the time marked on your ticket.
- Park Güell offers guided tours in Spanish, Catalan, English and French. You can choose whether you want a group or private tour. Make your reservation online.