More than a park, it is a symbol of Barcelona. Parc Güell, one of Antoni Gaudí's most emblematic works, is unique in the world as it was envisaged as a monumental space where the natural environment was inseparable from the architectural elements.
Its singularity was recognised in 1969 when it was declared a Historical-Artistic Monument of National Interest and then reinforced in 1984 when it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Its consideration as an internationally-recognised monumental space does not detract from its importance as a public park equipped with all the facilities and services that make it suitable for resident and general visitor recreation. The park, which is completely accessible, has children's play areas, a recreational area for dogs and rest areas. Since the integral restoration carried out in 2006 was finished, a guide service is in operation that provides information about the park to people with visual or auditory disabilities.
It was opened as a public park in 1922; however, Gaudí initially envisaged it as a garden city commissioned by the aristocrat Eusebi Güell, who bought an extensive rural estate located in Turó del Carmel in 1895 with the intention of creating a garden city like those in England. Gaudí's project basically consisted of building single family homes and was supposed to include public use areas, like a great covered square - which was the market -, an open-air theatre, a chapel, a caretaker's building, a services building - with reception and a public telephone - and other communal services. Factories, clinics, workshops and industry were expressly eliminated, as it would have distorted the project's principles of a return to nature.
The project was unsuccessful and was stopped in 1914, though some of the communal spaces had already been constructed. In 1922, six years after the death of Eusebi Güell, the Barcelona City Council bought the estate in order to turn it into a public park.
Points of interest
The main entrance at Carrer d'Olot is watched over by two buildings constructed following Gaudí's own style, with rounded shapes and bursting with light and colour. The monumental stairway begins here, presided over by the trencadís (architectural decoration using irregularly-shaped pieces of ceramic) salamander, which emphasises the importance of pedestrian access to the collective areas of the garden city, the market and the square.
The Sala Hipóstila, which was supposed to house the garden city's market, is formed by 86 Doric columns.
The square begins in the mountain on solid ground and extends over columns of the Sala Hipóstila. The trencadís-covered bench that runs along the perimeter of the square stands out.
The viaducts and roads with different slopes were designed for vehicles or pedestrians.
The Turó de les Tres Creus was the location that was chosen to erect a large chapel, which was never built.
The Gaudí House Museum. This was the house where Gaudí settled when the works were at a very advanced stage. In 1963, the Friends of Gaudí association bought the building in order to turn it into a museum.
Although nature seems to remain in the background, it is certain that the architect took it very much into account in order to achieve a perfect symbiosis between stone and greenery. The perspective of the viaduct crowned by palm trees and covered by trees and climbing plants captures the complicity between nature and architecture well. Gaudí preserved the spontaneous vegetation of the place that today constitutes a stretch of forest where Carobs, Oaks, Pines and Holm Oaks are abundant, surrounded by thick scrubland.
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