Everyone knows about Park Güell, one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, luckily located in Barcelona (luckily for me!) in the upper part of the city. We owe this gorgeous space to the architect Antoni Gaudí, who is author of many divine monuments/buildings around Barcelona and is a big reference for the Modernism. The park was opened to the public in 1926, and it is now one of the biggest architectural works in southern Europe, and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some time ago my friend Anne came to visit for a couple of days so we spent all the time around Barcelona. She really loved to walk around this park and took thousands of pictures. But apart from admiring the lovely and creative work by Gaudí, what did we know about the park? Not much! I must confess I knew the basics, a park that belonged to Güell family..but why did it become a public park belonging now to the city of Barcelona?
Modernism in Barcelona: in 1900 the Park began to be planned and built in a modern and urban Barcelona. The Eixample district was becoming more popular and grew in a steady way from 1960 onwards. Also, the exhibition in 1888 made Barcelona more known around the world and created new artistic and urban representations.
Gaudí to work for the Güell family: The wealthy Güell family asked Gaudí to work for them. Gaudí had to build a palace for them, including furniture, cellar, a church and the park. Güell saw something special in Gaudí and their relationship was not only business but instead they became friends. For many years this family lived in the house inside the park while the architect was living in another.
From private space to public park: Since it is located in an upper part of the city, you can imagine it was not easy to reach the park in those times. Its surroundings had houses that were hard to sell due to a lack of transport and access. Lots of buildings were left unbuilt in 1941, so the park was a private space that Güell family ceded to the city for some public events, while it was starting to gain popularity and appeared on tourist guides as a must-see. The owner died and heirs offered the park to the City Council. The park turned into a public city park and the house became a school, which later became a museumgiving homage to its architect. This park was very much loved by the people in Barcelona and a great tourist attraction, which became UNESCO World Heritage Site and artistic monument.
Any time is a good time to visit this park, but I often go there in summer, when the trees and flowers shine at their best and you can take great pictures with the city and sea under your feet. I remember going there with the school when we were kids and then lowering my visits to Barcelona and the park. Only when I receive visits from someone who lives abroad I go to Gaudí sites (shame on me I know).
Park Güell is an amazing place we should preserve and be careful with. It is a reminder of one of our greatest architects, showing all of his/its plenitude and nature. The shapes and structures you find are around are truly unique and magical, like all he created.
You can get there by metro though you'll have to walk for a bit anyway, or use the bus. There is an entrance fee now for some of its areas but you can still enter for free if you only go around the entrance. This park brings some peace and mystery at the same time. The buildings in the entrance fit in with the idea of a peace garden and make you think of something dreamy.
The main terrace of the park, full of people and surrounded by a long snake-shaped bench made of mosaic is simply great to have a sight of the city at your feet and take amazing pictures. The curves of the bench create a nice atmosphere.
The cross at the park's high point gives you the most complete view of the city and sea. You can get panoramic pictures with Sagrada Família, Agbar and Montjuïc included. There is also a wide range of plants, non-native species of parrots found in the city area too!
This is not a simple and big park, it's a must-see place if you ever visit Catalonia. Its views, shapes in towers, houses, bench, stairs... The Doric columns that support the main terrace, bird nests built by the same architect, viaducts, colonnaded footpath, mosaic ceilings, the fountain with the dragon (oouu!), these are just works of art inside the park that will make you fall in love with it. Also, not only the pictures you can take but the feeling you get and atmosphere, with musicians, people walking around... and the fact that it is headed north and not in the very center of the city might help to get a great atmosphere since it is not fully crowded :)
How many of you have visited the Park?