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Antoni Gaudi's Park Güell: Utopian Environment in Barcelona, Spain

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Entrance view of Güell Park in Barcelona, Spain

Entrance view of Güell Park in Barcelona, Spain

Visiting Park Güell

Park Güell was a creation of Antoni Gaudi. The park was part of a Barcelona city tour that my husband and I got to take in 1992. Splitting our time between viewing summer Olympic events and also taking tours, this is one trip that was well worth our time. I would highly recommend seeing this unique park if you ever travel to Barcelona, Spain.

Barcelona's Güell Park in Spain is a treat for the senses. Combining a pleasant stroll through the gardens while getting to see the work and creations of one of history's most original architects is an enjoyable experience we will not soon forget. His utopian environment will persist in our memories as well as delight tourists seeing it for the first time.

Antoni Gaudi

Born in 1852 in the town of Reus, Antoni Gaudi was a sickly child. He had rheumatic fever, so he spent quite a bit of time alone taking walks in the countryside. Probably because of spending so much time in natural settings, he fell in love with nature, which later represented itself in most of his creations.

He came from a family of coppersmiths. Gaudi went to architecture school in Barcelona and graduated with a degree in 1878. The vast majority of the buildings he created are centered in and around Barcelona so one can quickly become acquainted with his highly individualistic style of architecture.

With an in-depth knowledge of geometry, he eschewed the current construction methods of the time. Instead, he chose to incorporate more sculptural forms inspired by nature using products like stone, wrought iron, wood, and ceramic tiles. His unique buildings are easily recognizable from most others, and Antoni Gaudi was a leader in the Art Nouveau or Modernist style which utilizes colors and curving forms.

Gaudi never married and died in 1926 a few days after being run over by a tram. The work for which he is the most famous is a magnificent Gothic church called the Sagrada Familia which is still to this day under construction. Antoni Gaudi is buried in a crypt inside that church.

The Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona

Güell Park

From 1900 to 1914 Antoni Gaudi created what he had hoped would become a beautiful housing project for people in Barcelona. This location was on top of a hillside on 37 acres of land about 30 minutes from downtown Barcelona. It offered a magnificent panoramic view of the city below, and it was to be a garden-like setting for 60 residential lots for luxury homes.

This project failed financially, and only three houses were ever built in addition to the ones that Count Eusebi Güell and Gaudi had constructed for themselves. The house in which Antoni Gaudi once resided is now a museum filled with curvaceous furniture also of his design.

Our guide speculated that this was perhaps just too far a distance outside of the center of the city at the time. Despite the fact of cleaner air and glorious views, few people were enticed to purchase lots and have houses built. So today it survives as a beautiful and unusual city park open to visitors from not only Barcelona but the entire world to enjoy.

Shows the inside of Gaudi's house in Park Güell as well as wonderful exterior photos of the park.

Amazing Grounds

Brightly colored bits of broken china and glass are incorporated into the design one sees immediately at the entrance to Park Güell. Water pours from the mouths of colorful dragon heads. An iron gate has a palmetto palm design incorporated into it.

There are no straight lines! Pathways through the park twist and turn. Along one path there are big round balls that are supposed to represent beads of the rosary. Antoni Gaudi was a devout Catholic, which is why he spent the last years of his life committed to the building of "his" cathedral, the Sagrada Familia.

The buildings in Park Güell have a Hansel and Gretel appearance, especially when looking at the fantastic rooftops.

What we found to be of great interest was the elevated public area. It had an undulating bench adorned with bits of colored pottery where people could rest and enjoy the ambiance of the beautiful scenery. Our tour guide told us that Gaudi had taken a mold of one of his worker's back and then designed the anatomically correct bench seating.

In the center of this was a large area containing sand. This sandy area is a finely designed water collection and storage system. Many yards of sand in this elevated portion of the park filter rainwater. Water is then funneled through the 86 Doric columns underneath the raised park area and stored in a reservoir. This method was to have provided the residents with good, clean drinking water. Now the rainwater is utilized to keep the gardens watered when necessary.

Public Market Area

Under this columned and shady area with sand and benches was to have been a public market had Gaudi's Utopian residential environment succeeded. Even the underside of this columned area has medallions of colorful tile work. It would have been a useful area and is also beautiful to see.

A Sampling of Gaudi's Other Works

Location of Barcelona, Spain

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2015:

Hi Pupinauta,

We realized that it was far from finished. Nice to hear that they have an end date in mind. Sorry that this ended up in the spam filter and I just discovered it. Thanks for your comment.

Pupinauta on August 28, 2013:

The Templo de la Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudeds masterpiece. Building this neo-gothic cadrethal (not to be mixed up with the Gothic cadrethal in the Barri Gf2tic) is still unfinished. People aim to have the work completed in 2026, 100 years after Gauded died. The building activities are mostly financed by the income from ticket sales to visitors, different excursions from visitors to school trips. Even though the Sagrada Familia is a beautiful building already, work is not even close to being finished. The two facades with each 4 towers still only represent the side-entrances. The front as well as the highest towers and dome are still to be constructed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 18, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

Nice that you also got to see the works by Gaudi except for his apartment block in Barcelona. Great city! We are so glad that we opted for some tours and got to see things like Park Guell, the Sagrada Familia, etc. instead of just seeing Olympic events. Naturally we did some of that also. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on June 17, 2012:

This brought back the memories of a trip to Barcelona. Fortunately, I was able to enjoy all these delights by Gaudi. I missed his apartment block though. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 14, 2012:

Hi Vinaya,

While you may never have been to Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain, I have never visited your part of the world either. So it is nice to be able to learn from one another's travels and experiences via HubPages. Don't you agree? I really enjoy reading your hubs. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 13, 2012:

Hi Cathleena,

Have you written about Torrejon Spain? Would love to hear about your experiences there and am sure that others would as well. Thanks for your comment on this hub about Park Guell in Barcelona.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on June 13, 2012:

Hi Peggy,

I have never been away from Asia. I so much enjoy your picture gallery hubs. You are a wonderful photographer. And descriptions of the pictures are lively.

Regards

Cathleena Beams from Tennessee on June 13, 2012:

Awesome photos of Guell Park! I lived in Torrejon Spain for 3 1/2 years with my ex-husband when he was stationed at the Air Force Base there. Many of our friends went to Barcelona and I always dreamed of going, but it just wasn't in the budget at the time. We did get to go to Toledo and be tourists for a day, and a few times to Madrid. I would have done more begging if I'd have known how beautiful it is and had I known what all I was missing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2012:

Hi Ruchira,

So glad that you liked learning about Antoni Gaudi and the unique type of architecture that he did in Park Guell in Barcelona. There are other examples of his work elsewhere in Barcelona that we also got to see. Thanks for your comment and vote up.

Ruchira from United States on April 26, 2012:

Beautiful captures, Peggy. I had no clue about this artistic man until now. He sure was an icon. Look at the treasures he has left behind for all of us to appreciate.

Thanks for such a enlightening hub walking us to barcelona. You did it very well, my friend!

voted up indeed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 10, 2012:

Hi Rochelle,

Thanks for visiting this Park Guell hub regarding Antoni Gaudi's imaginative work in Barcelona, Spain. The cathedral that you mentioned has so many different styles built into it as it continues to evolve and it has a long way to go before it will be completed by different hands and with different ideas. Interesting! Thanks for your comment.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on February 10, 2012:

What a wonderful imagination he had. Yes, I think the park is better than the church-- though in fairness, he didn't get to finish the catherdral. Nice job, Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 02, 2011:

Hi Lesley,

A third trip to Barcelona! You are so lucky! We only saw it the one time but would love to see Park Guell and other locations again plus others that we missed seeing on our first visit. Enjoy! and thanks for your comment.

Lesley Williams from United Kingdom on December 02, 2011:

Hi Peggy.

This morning I have booked flights for a 3rd visit to Barcelona. Can't wait to see Parc Guell again and all the Gaudi architecture. Your pictures have made me all the more eager to return.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 13, 2010:

Hello WestOcean,

Thanks for this nice comment about my Park Guell hub about Gaudi and his great influence on the architecture of many buildings in Barcelona, Spain. Like you...I would love to return and see more someday.

WestOcean from Great Britain on December 13, 2010:

Park Guell is surely one of the most remarkable, exotic and surreal parks in the world. Your thorough and well written review really brings it to life and I look forward to returning to revisit Gaudi's masterpiece someday.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 13, 2010:

Hello Joseph Hollick,

We went to Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain with a tour group and it did not seem crowded. Perhaps we were simply lucky. Gaudi certainly created some interesting buildings in Barcelona and we really enjoyed viewing them in Park Guell and elsewhere. Thanks for your comment and glad that you enjoyed the pictures.

Joseph Hollick from Hamilton, ON Canada on December 12, 2010:

I was there in October and it was a pleasure to see your pictures. I must have been there on a busier day as my pictures show a lot more people than yours.

Park Guell is definitely one (of many) of Barcelona's highlights.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 02, 2010:

Hello Avenida,

You are fortunate to live so close to Barcelona in Spain. We were there once but if we lived that close you can bet that we would explore much more of that great city! Thanks for the comment.

Avenida on November 02, 2010:

Thanks Peggy, I live about 6 hours drive away but a trip to Barcelona is a must for anyone no matter how far away they live in the world. My favorite city.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 10, 2010:

Hi Billy,

We only spent parts of 3 different days in Barcelona, the rest of the time being spent on Mallorca. We were so happy to have taken the tours that we did so as to be able to see things like the most interesting Park Guell. Antoni Gaudi certainly designed some interesting structures which stand out among the others in Barcelona, Spain as being unusual and beautiful and fascinating. Guess one can't ask more of an architect than that! Thanks for your visit and comment.

billyaustindillon on August 10, 2010:

Barcelona is a beautiful city and fascinating culture with the Catalan people. Park Guell looks majestic and so much history as your photos bring out very well. That photo of the sturdy supports under the roadway is awesome for its angular replication.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2010:

Hello ns1209,

Enjoy yourself in Park Guell. Gaudi's works can be seen there and elsewhere around Barcelona. It is quite a city! Be sure and take your camera! :-) Thanks for the comment.

ns1209 from UK - England on August 01, 2010:

Nice hub Peggy - going here soon! Can't wait!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2010:

Hi Ramblas,

So happy that you enjoyed this hub about Gaudi and Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain. We absolutely loved it when we visited it many years ago. Thanks for the compliment.

Ramblas from Barcelona on March 27, 2010:

Great hub with many pictures =))

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 04, 2010:

Hello Micky Dee,

Until we saw Park Guell and the fantastic architecture of Gaudi in Barcelona, we would not have known about it either. Quite the education! Glad you enjoyed it.

Micky Dee on February 04, 2010:

Great hub. I never knew these wonders existed. Thanks

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 16, 2009:

Greetings Guru-C,

We certainly loved our visit there as you obviously did to Spain's Barcelona with all of its magnificent sites such as Park Guell and the others you mentioned. Would love to revisit it sometime at our leisure. Thanks for the comment!

Cory Zacharia from Miami Beach, Florida on November 16, 2009:

Isn't Barcelona just so very grand! One of my favorite places in the world, full of joie de vivre, so alive, cultural, convivial... The high art architecture of Antoni Gaudi... the energy of la Sagrada Familia...the thrill of Parque Guell. The lilting of the clarinets and Sardanas... This site brings me back to those memories!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 10, 2009:

Hi Zollstock,

So glad that this brought back those memories for you. I agree with you that Gaudi's buildings and especially the rooftops are so very different from the norm. I can understand why this memory remained alive for you. Thanks for the comment.

Zollstock from Germany originally, now loving the Pacific NW on August 10, 2009:

I had the privilege of visiting Barcelona when I was in high school and fell in love with Gaudi's work -- some of those roof tops are so surreal (I can still picture them in my mind's eye, but your photos really took me back there). This hub is a treat.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 09, 2009:

Hi James,

So we have both been to Park Guell in Barcelona! I agree with you that Antoni Gaudi was a genius. Loved seeing all the buildings that he was responsible for creating while we were there.

Happy that this hub brought back good memories for you. Thanks for the comment.

James A Watkins from Chicago on August 09, 2009:

Gaudi was certainly one of a kind. That is my favorite aspect of genius: originality. And he had it in spades.

I have been there. Your fine pictures brought back warm memories. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 09, 2009:

Hi Teresa,

I am truly honored by your statement because you are an author who epitomizes someone who employs excellent writing skills and you always seem to choose the most interesting of subjects. Thank you!

Let me know when you plan a trip to Park Guell. I'll carry your bags! LOL

Sheila from The Other Bangor on August 09, 2009:

Your hubs are wonderful, Peggy -- always great photos and excellent writing that just pulls me in and makes me want to pack my bags and go to the places you are describing. Thanks for this trip to the park!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 08, 2009:

Hi Pete,

We were also in Madrid and Toledo as well as Barcelona and Mallorca. We loved what we saw of Spain and would enjoy seeing more someday.

Glad that you enjoyed the photos of Park Guell and Gaudi's buildings. Interesting stuff for sure!

You should write about your experiences in Spain!

Thanks for the comment. I have to get back to reading your book that I purchased. Nice having it in the house knowing that I can relax and read it at will.

Pete Maida on August 08, 2009:

That's a beautiful area. You take some great pictures. I spent time in another part of Spain. I was in Madrid, Cadiz, Puerto de Santa Maria, and the Spanish Rivera.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 08, 2009:

Hi loveroflife,

Park Guell is definitely unique and pretty as well. Thanks for the comment.

loveroflife on August 08, 2009:

Gaudi's work is creative and inspired. Park Guell appears to be truly unique.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 08, 2009:

Hi Ethel,

Gaudi's work is truly original and "outside the box" of what most architects create. Park Guell was a real treat to be able to see in person. We saw some of his other creations in Barcelona as well. Another hub perhaps!

Thanks for the comment per usual. I appreciate it.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 08, 2009:

Fascinating pictures. I voted before I had signed in but I would love to see Gaudi's work in the flesh,so to speak.