Park Güell is one of the most beautiful and special public parks in Barcelona and one of Antoni Gaudi‘s most famous works. It is composed by gardens and architectonic elements, covering 15 hectares on a hillside overlooking the city. Park Güell was inspired by the Temple of Apollo (Delphi, Greece) and is considered to be a central icon of modernist architecture in Barcelona (alongside Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló, also Gaudi’s creations).
The main goal of the project, built by Gaudi for his patron Eusebi Güell, was to serve as a housing complex for the upper class, which stands on a hill overlooking the city of Barcelona. The park was built between the years 1900 -1914, and was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1984. Due to the distance of the Park from the city center the upper class were not interested in it and the venture failed. The park remained abandoned until purchased by the city of Barcelona. In 1963 it was reopened to the public as a municipal park (the park used to be entrance-free until a few years ago, currently only a part of the park requires an entrance fee).
Park Güell is one of the main attractions for tourists in Barcelona. the park contains one of Barcelona’s trademarks – the lizard-dragon, which welcomes the visitors at the entrance (some claim that it is the same dragon that Saint Jordi eliminated. Park Güell offer its visitors a lovely walk around one of the most unique parks in Barcelona (and Europe) as well as watching street performances and enjoying the great view of the city.
What do you see in Park Güell?
The entrance area is meant to use as a buffer between the city and the inside of the exclusive complex. In addition to the Lizard on the entrance, there are also two small houses (that look like they were taken from a fairy tale), and the luxurious compound “The Hypostyle Hall” that was intended to protect the residents from the rain.
The Hypostyle Hall consists 86 columns inspired by the Doric. The roof is formed by small domes decorated with original ceramic mosaic panels by Josep M. Jujol.
Gaudi built the public areas of the park under the influence of Barcelona’s beaches, example for that are the stone benches built in the form of a snake which allow you to sit comfortably. Gaudi believed in the combination between architecture and nature, therefore the terraces, are built in a form of a tree, and they include birds nesting holes. For the same reason the villas were meant to fit into the natural landscape, and therefore are not standing out.
Nature Square (previously named “The Greek Theater”) was created in the purpose of enjoying great performances in the open air, which can be also seen from the terraces that surround it.
In the park there is also a small museum dedicated to Gaudi. The building used to serve as Gaudi’s residence while he was planning the park, and after his death the place was converted to a museum.