Park Guell – the creation of the great Gaudi

Antoni Gaudi’s Park Guell – a good fairy tale in Barcelona

Park Guell is a popular tourist attraction in Barcelona, if not in all of Spain. Tourists and locals alike like to come here for recreation. Located in the park Gaudi in Barcelona on the hill of Carmel, its area is 17.2 hectares. Built in the first half of the last century, its author is Antonio Gaudi, and the customer – Eusebi Guell. The park complex is a huge area with residential houses, comfortable recreation areas, picturesque gardens, shady alleys, fancy terraces, bright flower gardens, grottos and pavilions. Today, the site is on the list of the most beautiful places on the planet and is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

View of Antoni Gaudi's Parque Güell

Photo: Gaudí’s Park in Barcelona

A historical overview

The idea behind Park Guell in Barcelona was originally to create a residential complex for the wealthy and influential people in an environmentally friendly location in Spain. In 1900 the building works were started, but 14 years later they were stopped. The main reason – the difficult terrain, the remoteness from urban communications. These two factors made the construction process difficult. However, after the death of Eusebi Guell, the followers returned to the project and in 1922 proposed to the Spanish government a park project, and 4 years later the attraction opened to all comers.

Interesting fact! The name of the landmark is listed in English in all sources. There are two explanations for this fact. First – Guell dreamed of recreating in Spain the classic English gardens. The second is that the authorities forbade the registration of the name in the local language.

When working on the project Antonio Gaudi was inspired by the beauty of the surrounding nature, picturesque landscapes. The relief of the mountains was taken into consideration – you can especially see it in the paths that run through the entire park – they were not cut down on purpose to preserve the natural relief. Pillars and beams are decorated as palm trees. The height difference of 60 meters and the architect played with it, indicating the aspiration of every man from the mundane to the sublime. According to the architect’s idea there should have been a chapel built on the top, but it was not erected. However, instead of it the monument of Golgotha was erected.

Park Guell by Antonio Gaudi

Interesting to know! The gate to Park Guell in Spain symbolizes the entrance to Paradise, here nothing disturbs the peace and quiet.

Love for nature can be seen not only in the design and architecture of the park. The attraction is built on the “Bald Mountain”. Indeed, before the construction there was no vegetation, but Gaudi introduced a variety of plants which have successfully adapted to the climate and terrain. Today cypresses, pines, eucalyptus, olive trees and palm trees are growing here.

The master was guided by the rule of modernism – there are no straight lines in nature, so curves and wavy lines prevail in the park.

Construction work can be divided into three stages:

  1. Strengthening the hills and slopes, the arrangement of terraces;
  2. the laying of paths, the erection of walls. Construction of the colonnade of the market and the mansion;
  3. The construction of a bench in the form of a snake, several mansions.
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It is noteworthy that almost all the objects of the complex have been preserved in the form in which they were conceived by the architect.

The roof of the building in the Park Guell by Antoni Gaudi

Good to know! In the park complex today there are only three houses suitable for living – Triasu y Domenech, here are still the descendants of the famous Catalan lawyer, in the house of Güell there is a local school, and his mansion has been converted into a museum.

What to see

It is safe to say that Gaudi Park is stunning at first sight, literally falling in love. Guests are greeted by two famous houses that resemble gingerbread fairy-tale houses. Their walls are lined with ceramic shards of trecandis. The larger house belonged to the watchman (gatekeeper) and the smaller one to the park administration. Externally the structures resemble a fairy-tale sculptural composition. On the facade of each structure are medallions with inscriptions “Park Güell”. Look at the exquisite decoration of each pavilion, all elements are designed to the smallest detail – figured turrets and frames, chimneys in the form of mushrooms, openwork balconies. Complement the composition wrought iron gates. The entrance is decorated with a metal pattern in the form of an opening sunflower – a similar fragment can be seen on the house of Vicença in Barcelona, incidentally, it is also a project of Gaudí.

Today the gatekeeper’s house is closed to the public and can only be admired from the outside, and there is a souvenir shop in the administration building.

Main staircase

Immediately at the entrance to Park Guell, there is a grand staircase that leads guests to the center of the composition. Its lower part is decorated with a bright flower garden, here is a fountain and a sculpture of a salamander – a favorite character of the mythology of the architect. In the center of the stairs you will see a medallion with the flag of Catalonia on it, as well as the head of a snake.

On the walls of the park complex there are various figures and sculptures of animals, but the symbol is recognized the mythical salamander located in a way that gives the impression that it rises up. The salamander is made of brick and decorated with shards of ceramics. The length of the sculpture is 2.4 m. It is believed that the salamander guards Gaudi’s Guell Park.

Salamander in mosaics and a snake head

Interesting fact! The salamander symbolizes the enormous serpent Python from Greek mythology. According to one version, the figure represents a crocodile, and it is inscribed on the shield of the city of Nîmes, where Güell grew up.

Another famous symbol of the park is the snake head, which is surrounded by the Catalan flag, since Gaudi was a Catalan. Tourists with a rich imagination see the snake as a medical sign.

If we talk about the other animal figures in the park, the list of the most popular additions are: the lion’s head, used to drain water, and the octopus, located next to the columns, it also refers to the drainage system.

Room of a Hundred Columns

Notice how naturally the hall blends into the landscape of the hill. This site of the park was conceived as the main meeting place for local residents of the prestigious neighborhood, namely as a marketplace. The hall is an impressive size terrace, where there are not a hundred columns, as the name says, but 86, each 6 meters high, their function is to support the ceiling, which, as well as many objects in the park, has an intricate shape. Interestingly, a stormwater system is hidden in the columns, and the bench on top is a huge drainage gutter. The vault is decorated with mosaics and has four massive plafonds depicting suns.

Interesting to know! The hall has excellent acoustics, so, today, it is often used for concerts.

Built over the Hall of a Hundred Columns, it was on this terrace that residents would gather and trade would boil. Unfortunately, Antoni Gaudi did not have time to realize this part of the project; instead of a shopping plaza on the roof, a comfortable walking area with a huge snake-shaped bench appeared.

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Upper Terrace

Photo: Park Guell

The bench is officially recognized as the longest, with a length of 110 meters. It was decorated with the most common waste that remained after construction work – the shards of ceramics, glass, rubble. Waste was collected from many construction sites in Barcelona. The author of the patterns and collages placed on the “torso of the sea serpent” is Jouzel Joujol (a student of Antonio Gaudi). Many of the motifs used to decorate the bench only became popular decades later. Jujol was far ahead of his countrymen and was able to see the world and art many years ahead.

Fragment of a bench

Interesting fact! The bench is recognized as not only the longest, but also the most comfortable. The fact is that the enterprising Gaudi during its construction on the soft clay, which had not yet dried up, sat the builders. In this way, the natural back imprint was preserved, comfortable to sit on. Initially on this terrace it was planned to hold theatrical shows and performances.

At the last stage the architect purchased a plot where he built a mansion, this particular structure was a model. The master himself lived here with his father and his niece. In the last years of his life the architect left his creation to settle next to the church Sagrada Familia, here he worked until his tragic death. In the summer of 1926 Gaudi was hit by a streetcar, and in 1963 his house received the status of a museum.

House Museum Gaudi

The house-museum is a small pink mansion with a beautiful multi-level roof and an extension in the form of a tower. The author of this work was an apprentice and friend of the master – Francesco Berenguer-Mestresa.

  • The first floor presents the furniture designed by the architect, after his death the pieces were bought back from the inhabitants of Barcelona.
  • The second floor contains the rooms where the master and his close relatives lived (living room, bedroom) and it is possible to visit Gaudí’s studio where his models are preserved. The architect lived in conditions of almost ascetic, he did not pay much attention to the interior, he was fully immersed in creativity like a true master.
  • The third floor – here is a library, quite extensive, with a capacity of about 30 thousand books.
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Around the house grows an amazing garden, here is a collection of figures, the author of which is the architect himself.

The alleys of the park are not just walking paths, but a complex unified system that connects all parts of the park. The fancifully shaped paths, folded into an amazing pattern, the architect called “birds’ nests”. They lead to all corners of the park and are richly decorated with plants, fountains, fanciful grottos and pavilions.

Bird's nest and alley

Good to know! The territory of the attraction in Barcelona is divided into two parts. Free entrance to Park Guell and the area free for walking are marked on the map with green, but the part marked in yellow is paid, here are the main tourist attractions.

The part of the park, to visit which you need to buy a ticket, is fenced with a ribbon. Of course, you can admire the architectural sights, located in the free part of the park, but do not skimp on a visit to such a miracle. By the way, the bird’s nests are in the free part of the park.

Features of Park Guell

The park is well-deservedly recognized not only by Barcelona, but by all of Spain. Believe me, a few hours will not be enough to see the park, so plan a walk for at least half a day. Note how naturally the park is inscribed in the relief of the hill – the hilly landscape was used by the master to create an architectural ensemble, so galleries, terraces, grottos, columns appeared on the territory. Pay attention to the skillful facing of facades, mosaics, and also for the decor the architect used pieces of pottery. Everything in this park is aged in natural, natural forms, the lines that are inherent in nature – the oval, roundness, waves.

Mosaic in Antonio Gaudi's Guell Park

  1. It is an iconic landmark not only in Barcelona, but in Spain as well.
  2. The park area is very beautiful, created and decorated specifically for walking.
  3. The park has many places related to the life, the work of the great master Antonio Gaudi.

Practical information

It is better to buy tickets in advance, on the official website – https://parkguell.barcelona/.

  • full – 10 €;
  • children (7-12 years old) – 7€;
  • Seniors (over 65 years) – 7€;
  • Admission is free for the disabled and 7€ for companions;
  • Up to 6 years old free admission.

Important: Tickets do not entitle you to visit Gaudi’s house.

The upper terrace in Park Guell

You can enter the park free of charge with a fingerprint, for this you must take part in the “Gaudir Més” program. Fingerprints are taken during the registration at the city services. At the entrance to the park there are special scanners for reading personal data.

Do you want to save time and avoid the queues at the park entrance? Buy your ticket with a guide:

  • general – 22€
  • children (ages 7-12) – 19€
  • seniors (over 65) – 19€
  • For disabled people €12 and for accompanying persons €19.

It is also possible to plan a private visit, full ticket costs 55 €, children and pensioners 52 €, disabled tourists 45 €.

Useful to know! Since 2019 in high season tickets are sold exclusively online, the rest of the time there are ticket booths at the entrance.

The ticket price includes a ride on the tourist bus that goes from the Alfons X metro to the attraction.

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Metro map

Admission is tied to the time listed on the ticket, meaning it remains valid for another half hour after the time of visit. If the ticket says 10-00, you are allowed to enter the park until 10-30. With the printed admission ticket and the QR code on your smartphone, go straight to the entrance. If the ticket has been paid, but not printed, you must print it out at the ticket office.

Useful to know! You can also buy tickets from vending machines at the entrance to attractions or in subway stations.

  • from 01.01 to 15.02 – from 8-30 to 18-15;
  • From 16.02 to 30.03 – from 8-30 to 19-00;
  • From 31.03 to 28.04 – from 8-00 to 20-30;
  • from 29.04 to 25.08 – from 8:00 to 21:30;
  • 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on 8/26/08 through 10/26/10;
  • from 10/27 to 12/31 from 8 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.

The exact address is: Calle Olot, 08024 Barcelona.

Park Güell plan

Metro stations near the site are:

  • Vallcarca;
  • Lesseps;
  • Joanic;
  • Alfons X.

You have to walk about 1300 m, the road goes uphill and the climb can be tedious.

Bus Güell

  • No. 116 – it runs from the Lesseps and Joanic subway stations, the interval is about 10 minutes, the schedule is from 7-00 to 21-00;
  • Bus Güell – runs since April 1 from the Alfons X metro stop, with a ticket to the park, the bus is free, the trip takes about a quarter of an hour;
  • No. 24 – runs from Plaza Catalunya;
  • V19 – runs from Barceloneta.

There are several parking lots near the park, so you can safely travel with a rental car.

Park Guell, created by Antoni Gaudi, is not just a recreational area, but a fabulous space in which not only children, but adults as well will enjoy spending time.

The prices on the page are for November 2019.

What you need to know before visiting Park Guell:

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Park Güell is one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions

Parque Güell is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions and a favorite vacation spot for city residents. It is located in the district of Gracia, on the Carmel hill in the north-western part of the Catalan capital. The 17.18 hectares of the park were created in the beginning of the 20th century by Antoni Gaudi, who was commissioned by his friend and permanent client Eusebi Güell.

Park Guell is a picturesque composition, consisting of residential buildings and recreation areas in the form of magnificent gardens with alleys and terraces with ponds, flower gardens, pergolas, galleries and grottoes. Today Park Guell is recognized as one of the most beautiful parks in the world, on a par with the most famous gardens and parks of the planet, including the park of the Summer Imperial palace Iheyuan in Beijing, Hitachi Park in Japan, Versailles Park in the suburbs of Paris.

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Park Guell in Barcelona

History of Park Guell

At the beginning Park Guell was conceived as a luxurious residential suburb for the city’s wealthy citizens, which would contain not only the finest mansions, but also the town’s amenities and a lush green area. The idea was born after a trip to Britain, where garden architecture had been flourishing for centuries.

Work on the project was assigned to Gaudi, who was inspired by a friend’s idea. He bought a large plot of land on a hill on the outskirts of Barcelona and divided it into several dozen sections, on which the mansions with gardens were to be located. However, the wealthy citizens were not enthusiastic about the idea of living in the countryside, and the project almost failed at the outset. Of the 62 plots for sale, only two were purchased.

Construction of Park Guell

The construction of the Garden City began in 1901. Gaudí’s first task was to stabilise the hillsides and create tiered terraces. Then roads were paved, walls were erected around the perimeter of the entire site and two pavilions at the entrance. Then, according to the architect’s plan, the market colonnade in the central part of the composition and the mansion, which was to become a model for future buyers, were built.

The third and last stage of the works, which took place from 1910 to 1913, was devoted to the construction of a serpentine bench in the recreation area and several mansions. The work was completed by 1914. There were still no buyers eager to live in the upscale neighborhood; the houses built became the residences of Güell himself, Gaudí and their mutual friend, the lawyer Trias y Domenech.

The construction and the unsuccessful attempts to sell at least part of the villas built significantly undermined the health of the owner of the city-park. In 1918, Guell passed away and the entire architectural complex, along with the buildings and gardens, was sold by the heirs of the city of Barcelona. Another of Gaudí’s masterpieces was given the status of a public park. All elements of the park’s architecture, including the Gaudí House Museum and the mansions of Guell and Trias i Domènech, have survived virtually unchanged.

Park Guell in Barcelona

Gaudí’s Park Inside and Out: What to See

Entrance and pavilions

Park Guell strikes the imagination of visitors at first sight. At the entrance, with a wrought iron gate, there are two fabulous pavilion-houses, lined with a mosaic in the Trencadís style and decorated with many decorative elements. According to the architect’s plan, the right one was intended as an administrative office, while the left one was to be the abode of the gatekeeper.

Nowadays the administration house houses a souvenir store, while the second pavilion has been preserved as a model. It is worth paying attention to every element of the pavilions’ decor – shining roofs with figured turrets, finished with ceramic tiles, facade cladding, mushroom-shaped chimneys, huge windows in figured frames, graceful balconies, medallions.

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