Returning from our trip to Montserrat, which I had covered in my last blog we reached Plaça d’Espanya. Plaça d’Espanya is one of Barcelona’s most important squares, built on the occasion of the 1929 International Exhibition, held at the foot of Montjuïc, in the Sants-Montjuïc district. One of the city’s biggest squares, it is the junction of several major thoroughfares: It was designed by Josep Amargós. The building you see in the panorama above are
The fountain at the centre of the square was designed by Josep Maria Jujol, a collaborator of Antoni Gaudí, while Miquel Blay designed the statues. The buildings were designed by Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí.
Venetian Towers – they are 47 m (154 ft) tall and lead the way to the MNAC via Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, an avenue commonly used to host trade fairs.
Arenas de Barcelona, a bullring – It was built in 1900 in the Moorish Revival style and has been converted into a shopping centre.
Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza
We had our lunch at the pizzeria at the Plaça d’Espanya junction. Pepperoni pizza was superb. Our next destination was Park Güell. Taking L3 metro we reached Vallcarca.
It was a steep climb to the top of the Carmel Hill. The road is punctuated by escalators which help to ease the walk. We had not booked the Park Güell tickets and found the line for tickets was too long. The major portion of the park was under renovation. So instead of waiting in the line for tickets, we decided to check the free attractions as it was getting late.
The Park Güell is located on Carmel Hill in La Salut, a neighbourhood in the Gràcia district of Barcelona. With urbanization in mind, Eusebi Güell assigned the design of the park to Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism. The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí”
Park Güell is the reflection of Gaudí’s artistic plenitude, which belongs to his naturalist phase (first decade of the 20th century). During this period, the architect perfected his personal style through inspiration from organic shapes. He put into practice a series of new structural solutions rooted in the analysis of geometry.
To that, the Catalan artist adds creative liberty and an imaginative, ornamental creation. Starting from a sort of baroquism, his works acquire a structural richness of forms and volumes, free of the rational rigidity or any sort of classic premises. In the design of Park Güell, Gaudí unleashed all his architectonic genius and put to practice much of his innovative structural solutions that would become the symbol of his organic style and that would culminate in the creation of Sagrada Familia.
Güell and Gaudí conceived this park, situated within a natural park. They imagined an organized grouping of high-quality homes, decked out with all the latest technological advancements to ensure maximum comfort, finished off with an artistic touch.
They also envisioned a community strongly influenced by symbolism, since, in the common elements of the park, they were trying to synthesize many of the political and religious ideals shared by patron and architect.
There are noticeable concepts originating from political Catalanism – especially in the entrance stairway where the Catalan countries are represented – and from Catholicism – the Monumento al Calvario, originally designed to be a chapel. The mythological elements are so important: apparently, Güell and Gaudí’s conception of the park was also inspired by the Temple of Apollo of Delphi.
We took a different route to exit from Park Güell to reach our hostel. On the way, we saw this drinking water fountain. It is known as Font de la Granota (fountain of the frog) on the corner of Diagonal Avenue and Corsega street. A little boy who is lying on top as if by the bank of a river holding a frog or rather squeezing it to make water pour from its mouth. It was sculpted by Josep Campeny i Santamaria in 1912.
This was the last day at Barcelona as we were travelling to Milan the next day. I will be covering Milan & Subsequent trip to Isthanbul after a few weeks. Keep visiting my blog for more.