The places I most wanted to see in Barcelona were the works of famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Right after Montserrat we went to Park Güell, a park he designed initially as a housing complex.
We entered through the secondary entrance which was near the parking of all the tour buses. This thick and heavy metal gate seemed impossible to move but our tour guide Marta was able to push it with just one hand.
The park was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site, the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, whom the park was named after. It was inspired by the English garden city movement; hence the original English name Park. The site was a rocky hill with little vegetation and few trees, called Muntanya Pelada (Bare Mountain). It already included a large country house called Larrard House or Muntaner de Dalt House, and was next to a neighborhood of upper class houses called La Salut (The Health). The intention was to exploit the fresh air (well away from smoky factories) and beautiful views from the site, with sixty triangular lots being provided for luxury houses. Count Eusebi Güell added to the prestige of the development by moving in 1906 to live in Larrard House. Ultimately, only two houses were built, neither designed by Gaudí. One was intended to be a show house, but on being completed in 1904 was put up for sale, and as no buyers came forward, Gaudí, at Güell’s suggestion, bought it with his savings and moved in with his family and his father in 1906. This house, where Gaudí lived from 1906 to 1926, was built by Francesc Berenguer in 1904. It contains original works by Gaudí and several of his collaborators. It is now the Gaudi House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudí) since 1963. In 1969 it was declared a historical artistic monument of national interest. Wikipedia
At the top of the staircase is a seating area. On the right is a picture of our guide Marta and my two nephews, Kevin and Ryan.
This room with 86 columns was supposed to be the marketplace for the residential community. The columns provided an important function of not only supporting the square above it but it also served as a drain from the rain water collected. The water is filtered then goes throught the columns into a chamber under the room that served as a reservoir.
The ceiling was decorated with colorful mosaic tiles.
The unique shape of the serpentine bench enables the people sitting on it to converse privately, although the square is large. The bench is tiled and in order to dry up quickly after it rains, and to stop people from sitting in the wet part of the bench, small bumps were installed by Gaudí. Wikipedia
Other than the extreme heat I really enjoyed seeing my first Gaudi work. Coming up are two more of Gaudi’s masterpieces.