Picture of park_entrance 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.

Picture of melanie_climbing 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.

Picture of palm_terraces 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.

Picture of benches 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 less visited.

Picture of barcelona_view 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.

Picture of curves 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.)

Picture of ceiling_mural This ceiling mural is found amidst the tiled columns under the main terrace. Gaudi intended for this area to be a market originally.

Picture of casa_mila 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 one.

Picture of mont_juic_view 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.

Picture of sagrada_spires 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.

Picture of passion_facade 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.

Picture of nativity_facade 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.

Picture of sagrada_detail

Picture of sagrada_inside 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.

Picture of spires_cranes 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.


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