Though it seems strange that a hospital is a famous tourist attraction, L’Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (Hospital de Sant Pau) is one of the main tourist attractions of Barcelona. Moreover, I was considered to be the most beautiful medical complex of the world, up until the point that the building ceased to serve as a hospital.
The hospital is located in the Eixample and it was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner who was a famous modernist architect (who also designed Casa Fuster in the Gracia district). The building’s design is very unique because it combines modernist style with elements of the muslim architecture (Spain was occupied by Islamic Moors over a long period, for additional information- History of Barcelona). In order to create a nice atmosphere for patients the hospital is situated in a wonderful garden.
What do you see in Hospital de Sant Pau?
The area of the hospital is 300 square meters and it was built in modernist style. The hospital consists of an administrative building and 27 pavilions that were used by various departments. These pavilions were built in different styles. Some of them has a subterranean passageway, which enhance the experience.
In addition to the uniquely designed building, one can admire a lot of beautiful statues like the statue of Paul Gilles and the statues of different Christian Saints related to medicine. Famous are the statues of three angels that represent the three theological virtues of Christianity: faith, hope and charity.
Due to the unique combination of the colorful Catalan architecture (mainly gothic and neo-gothic elements such as the ornate windows and the decorated columns) and muslim motifs such as domes, Hospital de Sant Pau can be considered to be a wonderful attraction toward which nobody can be indifferent.
Similar to other modernist artists, Montaner appreciated and loved nature very much, moreover he thought that a pleasant environment full of green trees will help patients to recover. That’s why there are huge natural spaces between the old departments of the hospital. Furthermore, some parts of the building are organized so that they resembles the waves of the sea. In addition, the hospital was constructed in such a way that allows good passage of air and sunlight into it.
Montaner believed that colors and forms influence people’s health. Because of this, he designed colorful mosaics and painting and filled the hospital with statues of saints in order to create a pleasant environment which is different from the depressing atmosphere of the typical white hospitals and which helps patients to recover fast and easily. It is such a pity that no patients can enjoy that anymore since the hospital was moved to a new building and the place now serves as a museum.