In the Northern part of one of my favorite European cities, sits the strange and beautiful Park Guell, the brainchild of famed Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.
While Barcelona itself is pretty much Antoni Gaudi’s city, his crowning achievements are Park Guell and Sagrada Familia. Park Guell was built between 1900 – 1912 after Guadi bought a house in the failed housing development and started to create works on the land. The house he lived in for 2o years is now the Guadi House Museum, as for the park, here are the sites you must see.
- Cost – 8 Euro
The Gate Houses (Porter’s Lodge Pavilions)
The first thing you will see as you as you enter are the two crazy looking buildings that sit on either side of the entrance. I often liken them to those of your favorite childhood stories with their free-flowing roofs and palette of colors and styles. One is also a lot taller since it has a massive spire with a cross on the top.
This very popular piece, right as you walk through the entrance, is known as “el drac” (the dragon) and is a unique fountain that greets the visitors while they walk up the stairway. It is heavily watched by guards after it was vandalized a decade ago and they will even yell at you if you take to long posing for your picture to “move along.” It is a great spot for a photo opp though and you will see this famous piece in tourist shops all over Barcelona.
Right under the nature square is the Hypostyle Room, complete with 84 stone columns and a meticulously decorated ceiling. It is a good place to escape the heat or just to wander around while looking up at the ceiling. This room also funnels rainwater down to an underground tank and the excess water is what comes out of the dragons mouth.
One of the main attractions in this park is that of the Nature Square. This large dirt field sits atop the Hypostyle Room and provides an excellent vista point of the gate houses and the city below. It was designed to house concerts and other events but that has never really happened. It also features an exceptionally long sea serpent bench that extends around the entire interior and provides a place to sit and bask in the beauty and colors of the inlaid stones.
The Birds Nests
These rock and clay sculptures look much like the bird’s nest you would see in a common tree, yet they are 10 times the size. I was also told that they are designed to look like the trees that were planted in them, a collection of shrubberies and palm trees and you can see the resemblance.
The Laundry Room
This walkway, called the laundry room, which leads to another set of gardens is designed to look like a wave slanting out on top of the columns. It is a great place for a stroll and to understand a little more on the architecture of the area.
The Austria Gardens
One of my favorite spots in the park, this collection of gardens are lush and overflowing with plant life. From here you can see the clay and stone walkways that will lead you up to the top of the park. I love the way these look, they are perfect for photography. The stones that make up the columns were taken from the site itself when they were built.
So there you have it, my favorite spots in the park, let me know yours in the comments and check out the pictures below.