The Park Güell

The Park Güell

The Park Güell is one of the most emblematic and visited places in Barcelona, and no wonder: this huge garden of over 17 hectares includes all the creative genius of its designer, Antoni Gaudí, and was the place where the artist was able to experience numerous structural solutions that would culminate in the execution of the Sagrada Familia years later.

It is integrated with the nature, and proof of it are the columns, built imitating the shape and texture of the trees, and the absence of straight lines: predominantly undulating geometric lines. It is really symbolic and involves the sharing of values of Gaudí and Eusebi Güell, the count who was patron of the architect.

The park entrance is an allegory representing the entrance to Paradise, and contains a strong political and religious symbolism; References are concentrated to the development of the Catalan bourgeoisie and the Greco-Roman culture. Here are two beautiful pavilions, one administrative and one as the main entrance, the first with a slender tower topped with Gaudí's typical cross and the other with a mushroom-shaped dome.

Here you'll find one of the most international symbols of Park Güell: the dragon sculpture, located in the access stairway to the park, home to three fountains with sculptural groups representing the Catalan countries: the first source is represented by two circles, one that symbolizes the world and another, the architect compass; the second contains the shield of Catalonia and a snake, which can represent both medicine and the serpent of Moses; and third, the dragon or salamander, recalls the city of Nîmes, where Güell grew up.

The staircase culminates in a pillared hall that initially had to be used as a market: initially, this park had to be a residential area

The heart of the Park Güell is composed of an immense oval plaza flanked by a huge bank of over 100 meters long, covered by the characteristic trencadís that was created with potsherds. Although it is mostly abstract, you'll find there the zodiac signs, fish and other forms. Dare to find them all! As a curiosity, the square is paved by draining rainwater that seeps through the columns to an underground tank that is used to irrigate the park.

To walk the park, Gaudí designed several viaducts for carriages, and some roads with arcades for pedestrians; inspired by different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque. In the highest part of the Park Güell we find Calvary, a monument that evokes  the typical talayotes of the Balearic culture. Gaudí decided to build this megalithic monument in memory of a prehistoric caves that were found in the park.

Photo credit: Martin Pilát / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND