Our first full day in Barcelona involved seeing most of the major sites in town that
are connected to Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi was a leading architect of the modernista
movement and a large number of his works were done in his home province of Catalonia and
in Barcelona in particular. In 1901, he began work on Parc Guell, the entrance of which
is shown here.
The park was planned to be a mini-residential garden city by the Count Guell and
Gaudi worked on it for 14 years before the project was abandoned. What's left
is an elaborate city park with a series of cave-like walkways, bridges and tunnels.
Here is Melanie climbing the wall, no doubt inspired by the park's mascot, which
is a dragon/lizard type creature found on the main stairway.
The park climbs a hill which is already a fair ways above the city of Barcelona.
Any terrace with a view to the east looks out over all of Barcelona and the
Mediterranean beyond it.
The central terrace which is the roof of the colonnade in the first picture,
has a wavy line of inset benches which are elaborately decorated. This is
probably the prime photo spot in the park. Trails farther up the hill become increasingly
Here's the view looking out from the park. The spire in the foreground is from the
gate house of the park, which is now also the welcome center.
This is one of the walkways leading downward from the terrace which you can then cross
under if you're willing to brave the gauntlet of street musicians who gather here.
Actually, it's not all that bad and a little Spanish guitar music gives the park
extra ambience. (Not sure about the roving mariachi band though.)
This ceiling mural is found amidst the tiled columns under the main terrace. Gaudi
intended for this area to be a market originally.
In the L'Eixample district of Barcelona is the Casa Mila apartment building, another
of Gaudi's well-known works. Gaudi took an ocean wave as his inspiration for this
This view, from Mont Juic out across Barcelona shows how much Gaudi's best known
work dominates the skyline of Barcelona. The full name is El Temple Expiatori
de la Sagrada Familia (Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Family) and it has been
under construction for 115 years and is perhaps about 60% done now. Current plans
call for the final four spires to be half again as tall as the existing eight.
There are four spires on each of the two main facades and four more yet to come which
will surround the central vault which is not yet complete. Each spire represents an
apostle. The statues of the individual apostles can be seen low on the spires and their
names are carved in Latin just above the long vertical windows.
Obviously multiple architects have run the project over the course of 115 years,
although Gaudi's influence is the most obvious and dictates the overall design of
the church. This is the Passion Facade which was built from 1954 to 1976. Most
of the sculptures were done by Josep Subirachs whose angular style is in stark contrast
to the facade done by Gaudi.
The other facade is the Nativity Facade and Gaudi had his hand in pretty much every
aspect of this. The central spires is a green cypress tree covered in white doves
which is difficult to see here. Somehow this entire side looks to be slowly melting.
For a small fee visitors can go up into several of the spires. We did not however, having
already paid the large fee to come inside and see what is basically two facades connected
by a construction site.
The inside will clearly be spectacular one day. This is a section of the vault which
is completed. Gaudi's idea with the support pillars was to evoke the notion of trees,
branching them as they go up. There's something rather impressive about a half-finished
cathedral as well. Most of the interior is still open to the sky.
It's almost impossible to avoid the cranes in these photos, since it is under construction.
While expensive to enter, it is worth the fee. Underneath the temple in the completed crypts
is Gaudi's tomb as well as a museum devoted to his life and in particular the techniques
he used to design and construct the Sagrada Familia. There is also a small working chapel
under one side of the temple where services are held until such time as the main building
is finished. That date is almost certainly a long way off.