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Gaudi Theme Barcelona

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852-1926) was born at Riudoms, a town located in the outskirts of Barcelona. As said on Modernism Theme Barcelona, he is one of the most famous architects of Barcelona and anyone can see his works by just walking on the street. 3 of his undeniable marks are:

  • the four-armed cross,
  • the wrought iron
  • and the parabolic arches.

A lot of his works have been declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Site which is something not really surprising because he really created masterpieces.

As I just said, I will make you discover his masterpieces only in Barcelona so I will exclude:

  • the ones located in the outskirts of the city as the crypt of the Güell colony at Santa Coloma de Cervelló, the Güell cellars at Sitges…
  • and the small ones in Barcelona as the lampposts at real square (plaza real), the hydraulic and the artificial cave under the fountain of the Ciudadela park…

To do this theme, you will need at least 2 days because some visits can be done only in the morning and his major works are located in different districts as:

  • Sarrià-Sant Gervasi
  • Eixample
  • Gràcia
  • Ciutat Vella
  • Les Corts

Your first day will be at the Ciutat Vella district so assuming that you are at catalunya square (plaza catalunya), you will walk la rambla street until you will cross the nou de la rambla street on your right and spot the number 3.

In 1885, the count Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi asked Gaudi to build his palace and he finished it in 1890. The Güell palace is really a masterpiece and to do it and to please the count, he didn’t hesitate to use the most expensive and beautiful materials like the marble. Visiting it, you will discover a great catalan medieval palace with a particular wonderful coffered ceiling, its 20 sculptural chimneys covered by ceramics, marble and stained glass mosaics... The place is opened from tuesday to sunday at 10h-20h in summer, until 17h30 in winter (bank holiday closed).

Now, you will go near the urquinaona square, exactly at “c/ casp 48” to see the Calvet house built in 1899 located at the Eixample district. Originally the house has been built for Pere Màrtir Calvet which used it for his business on the ground floor and the basement and as residence the upper levels. To construct it, he used stones from Montjuic and you will see the wrought iron used to create the balconies. In 1900, the City Council awarded his work with the prize of the best house of the year. You don’t need to wonder why because of its many interesting details as:

  • the spectacular wrought iron door of the lift
  • the lobby covered with blue flagstones
  • the wrought iron latch of the door in greek cross shape
  • the 3 inverted lobs and 2 protruded ones crowned with iron cross on the facade
  • the columns in cotton bobbin shape…

The 3 statues that you can see on the top are:

  • Saint Peter the Martyr (owner namesake)
  • Saint Genesius of Arles (patron saint of owner hometown)
  • Saint Genesius of Rome (patron saint of owner hometown)

Moreover, Gaudi designed the furniture of the ground and first floors which can be seen in the Gaudi house inside the Park Güell and the lower level is now a restaurant.

Heading now to the Batlló house (passeig de gràcia 43), you will see a building full of colors where the front looks like a wavy sea and the roof as fish scales.

Built next to the Amatller and Lleó Morera houses, it was in 1904 that Gaudi has been contracted by José Batlló Casanovas to reform a building created by Emili Sala Cortés in 1875.

It took him 2 years to finish it with the collaboration of some artisans and the result is as so beautiful as very impressive.

From the outside, the colorful glazed ceramics and the brittle fragments of stained glass give the impression of the sea.

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From the inside, you will be amazed to discover the great sandstone balcony, the light porch of ceramic… and on the roof, a scaly skin of ceramics with its colored chimneys.

Near to it, walking up the same street until the number 92, you will discover another masterpiece, the Milà house, also known as Pedrera. Built between 1906 and 1912, Gaudi got this opportunity when Pere Milà contracted him to construct a residential building. Inspired by the nature and the organic forms, he was able to design a building where the front represents the sea in movement and in harmony with the wrought iron seaweed of the balconies. After making the huge line, you will able to visit 3 different sections:

  • the fantasy mansard structured in brick catenary arches,
  • the roof where chimneys remind the warrior profiles in the dunes,
  • and a flat.

Now let’s go to discover the Sagrada Familia (mallorca 401), if you want to walk, you will need more or less 20 minutes, just go down the street and the 2nd at your left (make sure that it is the mallorca street) until you spot it. If you prefer the metro, take the L5 diagonal station to sagrada familia station.

Do I need to tell you something about it ??? I think that it is the first thing which comes out when you do a search on internet by putting “barcelona”. Also known as the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family, it is the only work that the architect won’t finish. Indeed, started in 1882, it is still under construction and normally it is scheduled to finish it in 2026 !!! Normally because the money comes from private funds like the price of the entrance or if some rich guys give some euros. Since november, 7 2010, with the benediction of the Pope Benedict XVI during his visit, he declared officially that Sagrada Familia is no more a temple but a basilica.

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Started by the architect Francesc de Paula Villar, Gaudi replaced him one year later and before he died in 1926, he was able to finish the crypt and the Birth front. Hopefully, the scale models and the drawings have been saved during the assault of the spanish civil war in 1936 so that people can go on with the construction.

I will recommend to take a look on the original drawing because you will see that the building should be much more bigger than the actual one. According to Gaudi, the 3 fronts should represent:

  • the east side dedicated to the Birth of the Christ
  • the west side dedicated to the Passion of the Christ
  • and the Glory one dedicated to the religious faith

And about the towers:

  • the 4 towers of each front represent the 12 apostles
  • the 4 big towers represent the evangelists symbolizing the Savior
  • the dome shaped tower of the apse represents the God mother

Normally there is always a huge line so to get in, be patient but it is totally worth it because you will see something marvelous (its nave got the first prize of 2010 Architect Award of Barcelona). Once inside you can go up the tower or stay on the ground floor, if you don’t scare to use your feet, use the stair if not you will have to pay a fee to use the lift.

Leaving the Eixample district, you will head to Gràcia district to visit the Vicens house (carolines 24) constructed in 1888. I will recommend you to take the metro because by foot, it will take you around 40 minutes so take back the metro L5 until diagonal station and after take the L3 to fontana station.

Contracted by Manuel Vicens Montaner, the building, covered by green and white tiles, is a living color where the architect was inspired by the india and japonese styles but also by the nature as the iron railing with plant motifs. Basing on the french marigold, he designed the impressed tiles which grew in the grounds and by taking care to harmonize with the stone structure and red brick of the building. Unfortunately, you won´t be able to see the inside except if you know the actual owner !!!

Next stop will be the Park Güell (c/ olot 7). By walking, you will have around 20 minutes if you want to enter by the main entrance and you will surely sweat because the larrard street, which will lead you directly to the main gate, has a vertiginous inclination so if you don’t want, take a taxi or the metro L3 to vallcarca station and after just follow the indication panel, you will enter by the west side without sweating.

It is the most famous and amazing park of the city so a place absolutely to not miss when the day is sunny. Do you know why the name is written in english even in spanish or in catalan ??? The fact is that the original idea was to create an english style garden city in the Gràcia district so instead to call it “parque guell” (spanish version) or “parc guell” (catalan versioin), it was called “park guell”.

Commissioned by the count Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi and concerned to harmonize the nature with the urbanization, he took him 14 years to finish it from 1900 to 1914. The park owns 15 hectares and if the original project has been followed, it should have 40 houses instead of 2 only. Nowadays, you will discover the famous ceramic dragon welcoming you at the main entrance, the room of 86 columns called “hipostila” or “100 column room”, the curving bench of the snake place is the work of Jujol, one of his associates, the wave room, the Gaudi house which is now a museum…

There are so many things to discover that you can spend easily 1 day if you take your time and if you walk at the top of the park, you will get a great view on Barcelona. Like you can guess, it is the end of your first day and for your 2nd day or 3rd day, depending if you will pass a lot of times in the park or not, you will go to Les Corts district.

To visit the Güell pavilions (avinguda pedralbes 7), take the metro L3 to palau reial station and the area, where you will have to go, is on the 2nd right street parallel to the Pedralbes park.

Built between 1884 and 1887, Gaudi got his first work by the count Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi to expand his estate of family leisure. At the entrance, you will really get impressed by finding 2 pavilions linked with the wrought iron door in dragon shape. The 2 buildings were originally for the doorkeeper and the stables and the dragon represents the mythology one of the garden of the hesperides. Once you will pass through the door, you will discover more pavilions decorated with bright ceramic pieces drawing geometric forms, a tower crowned with fantasies vegetable… Actually it is the headquarter of the Càtedra Gaudí and you can visit it only in the morning from monday to friday at 9h-13h (bank holiday closed).

And if now, I lead you back to school !!! Would you want to go ??? Don’t worry I’m not going to ask you to study or to pass a kind of test but to discover the only college that he built in 1887, the Teresianes college (ganduxer 85-105).

Leaving the area you are right now, you will take back the metro to catalunya station and after with the same ticket, take the FGC train S5, S6 or L6 to la bonanova station. You will enter to the Sarrià Sant Gervasi district.

He was contracted by the religious order of Saint Teresa to finish the construction of a school initiated by an unknown architect and in spite that he didn’t design all by himself and for the low budget, he was able to built a

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great work according to his philosophy. The building looks like a fortress where he was able to create a system to let the sunlight illuminated the inner from the top to the ground floor. Anyone can also appreciate the merlons crowned by the religious symbol and the pinnacles with its four-armed cross.

Heading up the street for around 25 minutes, you will discover the Bellesguard house (bellesguard 16-20) which has been built on the ground of a former castle constructed for the king Martí l’Humà. Don’t want to walk so take the closer bus 14, 70 or 72 to ganduxer stop and after the bus 123 to bellesguard stop.

The house took Gaudi from 1900 to 1909 to complete it and the name is given because of the great view on Barcelona meaning “beautiful viewpoint”. Taking a look on the construction, you will see some similitude of a medieval castle with towers and battlements. The main materials are stone and brick decorated with drawing mosaics and wrought iron but his work didn’t stop here. Close to the place, you will see the viaduct constructed by him on which the design will remind you the one of the Park Güell.

That’s it, the first part seems very “loaded” but most of them are very quick visit. About the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the nominees are:

  • Park Guell in 1984
  • Guell Palace in 1984
  • Mila house or Pedrera in 1984
  • Vicens house in 2005
  • Batllo house in 2005
  • Birth front and crypt of Sagrada Familia in 2005


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