If anyone is responsible for shaping the aesthetic of Barcelona, it’s Spain’s most revered architect, Antoni Gaudi. From the wondrous La Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that has been under construction since 1882, to Park Guell’s gingerbread-like buildings, every Gaudi piece looks like it was conceptualised for a Dr Suess book.
Antoni Gaudi’s most famous building in Barcelona is of course the yet-to-be-completed Sagrada Familia church. This fantastical structure is unlike any church you’ve seen before and tells the story of Jesus’ birth, life and death.
In Gaudi’s eyes it was a gift to God and every single detail was laboured over in prodigal proportions. He even moved in to the building site at one point so he could keep an eye on everything.
…the crown of thorns above the altar is a highlight…
Each side, or facade, is designed to represent a different stage of Jesus’ life: birth, life, death and the resurrection. The nativity facade is sculptured in a subtle and peaceful way, contrasting to the death, which is harsher and more angular.
A visit the towers was sensational, seeing a number of sculptures up close and to see out over Barcelona and down onto the Sagrada Familia generally. These ‘fruits’ that top the smaller towers represent the seasonality in Barcelona…
…loved the view up and down the stairwell.
Gaudi is now buried in a crypt under the Sagrada Familia – he was killed by a tram aged 72.
Park Guell is verdant oasis commissioned by Eusebi Guell, a rich industrialist who dreamed of creating an exclusive health resort/housing estate in the mountains of Barcelona where the rich could escape the hustle and bustle of the city. In the end, however, due to the fact that it was so difficult to access, only the park was created, but none of the houses were occupied apart from Guell and Gaudi, pictured below.
The buildings flanking the entrance are remarkable with fantastically shaped roofs, unusual pinnacles and a ginger-bread appearance. They seem relatively inconspicuous in the landscape when you consider the flamboyance of other buildings designed by Gaudi.
Apart from the incredible views, the park itself is a magnificent feat of design and landscaping, a mythical wonderland.
The focal point of the park is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. The curves of the serpent bench form a number of enclaves.