Unesco listed the Palau Güell as a World Heritage Site in 1986, exactly 100 years after Antoni Gaudí began to design it. The history of this magnificent building is once again linked to the association between Count Eusebi Güell and his favourite architect, Gaudí. A representative of Barcelona’s upper-middle classes, Güell commissioned him to build a townhouse that would reflect his social and economic status. Gaudí worked for three years, from 1886 to 1889, in shaping this large mansion, located just off La Rambla. Gaudí used the finest materials. The main façade was built from stone quarried in the county of El Garraf. From the outside, you can see the initials of the owner, EG, and the coat of arms of Catalonia, a symbol of Catalan identity and its home-grown art-nouveau movement, modernisme. Although the rear façade is more sober in style, the front stands out among the buildings of the Raval with its eye-catching chimneys. The architect planned everything right down to the last detail: the entrance was designed to allow carriages to enter and leave guests at the foot of the steps leading into the house.
Everything inside is a perfect example of good taste and distinction: marble columns, a ceiling studded with precious stones in the Mudejar style, an impressive dome that lets light in, wooden Venetian blinds decorated with ceramics and the famous Gaudí trencadís mosaics created using small broken pieces of tile. The Palau Güell has a vast living room, a room for visitors, a music room and a chapel that imbues the building with a religious atmosphere
The Park Güell, 1900-14, was an attempt to create an urban development in the country. Gaudí applied all of his knowledge to this park and incorporated in it all of his preoccupations in urban planning. There is not a single straight line; everything is curved or twisted. The columned room, space originally intended for a market, supports an impressive open terrace. Here it’s important to remember the significant contribution of Jujol in the creation of the benchrail of the park.
Antoni Gaudí’s patron, Eusebi Güell, commissioned him to redevelop part of this estate in the neighbourhood of Pedralbes (1883-1887). Gaudí designed the garden and gatehouses with their spectacular gate, in the form of a dragon, inspired by the Garden of the Hesperides. The gate is an immense wrought-iron sculpture symbolising the mythical dragon in Verdaguer’s poem L’Atlàntida, with bat-like wings, gaping maws and a forked tongue.
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