Park Güell (Catalan: Parc Güell) is a 42-acre garden complex situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914 and is one of the largest architectural works in south Europe. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí".
The intention was to exploit the fresh air (well away from smoky factories) and beautiful views of the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea stretching away to the south of the foothills. It was the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, who retained Gaudí to design the project. It is now a municipal garden.
|At the entrance to the park. It was Saturday and a holiday. Can you say "packed"? Notice the palm trees- definitely a different climate than Madrid. We saw beautiful green parrots in many trees.|
|Gaudí's multicolored mosaic salamander, popularly known as "el drac" (the dragon), at the main entrance. The focal point of the park is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. See a small portion in a shot below.|
|It was very hot so we bought 4 fans from this "illegal" street vendor inside the park, after talking him down. We didn't know he was illegal until after, but more on that in a minute.|
|Gaudí's mosaic work on the main terrace; a sea serpent.|
|Mosaic tiles cover many of the surfaces in the main entrance to the park. These columns support a massive roof of earth where people can see a wonderful view of the sea and downtown Barcelona and a view of the Sagrada Familia.|
|Gaudi was a proponent of "organic" architecture. These resemble birds nests, supporting the roadway above.|
|Another view of the main terrace.|
|View of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea in the background from the terrace. Sagrada Familia can be seen just to the right of the red domed steeple on the house to the left. After you've seen the Sagrada Familia you'll know what to look for.|
|Vivienne and Helen Cox-Benito standing about the terrace roof, looking towards the sea. These two have become the best of friends and serve as First and Second Counselors in the MTC Relief Society.|
|The house where Gaudi lived from 1904 to 1926 when he died, it borders the park.|
|The previous shot cut off the steeple and I couldn't decide which I liked best. Sorry.|
Though construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882, Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style—combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Família's construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War—only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project's greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026—the centennial of Gaudí's death.
In my opinion it defies description and is in a category all by itself. What follows is a photo walk-through that we did on Monday morning before leaving. For those who are easily bored with pictures of cathedrals, I apologize, but if it's any consolation, what follows is only a fraction of the pictures I took. Personally I can't get enough of them, and I usually bore my companions to death by the time they finally drag me out of them. This one, as I've said, is in a category all by itself. I dream of hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing inside the basilica someday. If this building stands during the Millenium (and I for one certainly hope it does) I'm sure they will.
|Coming out of the elevator 20 stories up, inside one of the towers on the Nativity side.|
|Circular stairwell inside the tower. My guess is that not many large people go up inside the towers.|
|Looking up inside the tower towards the top.|
|Closeup detail of amazing windows of stained glass. Religious words in Latin surround many of the windows and appear in various places on the facades of the church.|
|View of the ground from 1/2 up the tower where the elevator disgorged us. The picture doesn't do justice to the view.|
|Gaudi chose seasonal fruits and vegetables --- berries, apples, oranges, corn, grapes, and more --- and a gigantic evergreen with doves flocking around it --- to top his creation, to remind us of nature's (and, therefore, God's) bounty.|
|The stained glass windows are truly spectacular. Gaudi's idea of filling the church with light is awe-inspiring. Many of the cathedrals seem dark and forbidding; not so with Sagrada Familia. It is filled with light.|
|I really couldn't get enough of the stained glass windows. Many of them are not yet completed but the ones that are simply take your breath away.|
|One last shot of windows. I have lots more that I'm not going to bore you with. Unfortunately our camera wasn't working and I had to take these shots with my iPad mini, which is a wonderful piece of technology but not a great camera.|
|A building designed by Gaudi next to the church which was used as a school for the children of the workers.|