Famous Mosaics - Parque Güell, Barcelona
Ahhhhh, Parque Güell. Arguably the brightest feather in architect Antoni Gaudí’s cap, it’s the whimsical mosaic wonderland known the world over, and for good reason. It’s gorgeous, sweet, and bright. The long serpentine lines are easy on the eyes, and the expansive city views from the property are incredible.
Why do we love Parque Güell so much?
What’s not to love? Whimsical organic shapes, Jurassic looking vegetation, the impressive scale of the mosaic work. I mean, there’s a giant lizard at the entrance and he really seems pleased to see you. It’s like stepping into a Dr. Seuss book, igniting that fanciful, childish spark in us.
Parque Güell holds a special distinction for many people: It’s become a universal young backpacker rite of passage, something to really write home about.
Güell is confirmation for a young mind of delicious imaginative possibility that you thought you might find out there in the great big world. You were right. You’re standing in it.
Gaudi was certainly a forward-thinking architect, and in some regards he was way ahead of his time. But not just because of his love for curves and colors.
One of the genius things about Guell, is that it has a built-in rain catchment and filtration system... one of the first ever. The Hall of a Hundred Columns is where the magic takes place, with the columns themselves doing the collection and filtering.
That famous mosaic lizard fountain at the entrance was originally hooked up to it, so after the plants had received their needed water, the excess could flow out his mouth and back into storage for later.
Failed Project To Historical Treasure
Though it is now a public park, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was actually designed as a high end neighborhood. Each of the 60 homes was to be a bespoke mosaic work of art, surrounded by lush mosaic gardens. An exclusive gated community for the creative and eccentric. It was the brainchild of Eusebi Güell, a longtime associate of Gaudi’s, who he had designed many buildings for in the past.
The idea behind this commission looked great on paper, but in the early 1900s it was just too far off the beaten path to draw any buyers. At the time, public transportation wasn’t an option yet for commuting, so only 3 houses out of the proposed 60 were ever completed. Just two sold, and one of those was Gaudi’s. The Torre Rosa, built by Francesc Berenguer, is where he hung his hat for the last 20 years of his life,1906 to 1926. Today it is the Gaudi Museum.
Gaudi planned and directed the construction of the park from 1900 to 1914.
After work on Park Güell ended, his remaining years were spent on Sagrada Familia. He never took another commission, and in 1926 he was tragically hit by a streetcar and died.
Park Güell became municipal property in 1923, and is still open to the public for tours.
It’s 100% worth the trip, should you ever find your lucky self on holiday in Barcelona.