The History of Parc Guell:
Park Guell is one of the most impressive public parks in the world. The park is located in Barcelona and was designed by famous architect Antonio Gaudi. Gaudi planned and directed the construction of the park from 1900 to 1914 for Eusebi Guell for a residential park intended for sixty single- family residences. The project, however, was unsuccessful and the park became city property in 1923. Though never fully completed, it still remains one of Gaudi’s most colorful and playful works.
Park Guell Barcelona, intended to serve Guell’s private city, became all of Barcelona’s, then the world’s favourite. Gaudi let loose his imagination. While for houses he drew on natural forms, here he shaped nature into colonnades, archways and covered galleries with well-camouflaged artificial structures. It’s a playground for the mind: visual jokes, like columns that simulate palm-tree trunks, rubble-surfaced arches that grow out of the ground, quilts of ceramic tiles. A graceful gazebo is made of twisted angle iron – cheap to make, looks good, does not lie about its material yet its shape is as softly curved as climbing vines.
The centrepiece is the intended covered market, a majestic forest of fluted columns. Its roof forms a vast terrace with a view of the city. It’s surrounded by an undulating continuous bench, the back of which forms a balustrade, its entire surface encrusted with ceramic shards of all colours, some randomly arranged, some in patterns. The seat is unusually comfortable for a stone bench: Gaudi had a workman drop his pants and sit in soft plaster to record the correct anatomical curve – foreshadowing the science of ergonomics by half a century.
The entrance a smiling dragon stretches in the middle of the divided stairway. Children love it and few adult visitors can resist patting the beast on the head – the park has that kind of spirit. Park Guell is one of Barcelona’s most famous landmarks. On any day, and especially on weekends, you can see hordes of tourists and locals staring awestruck at the gingerbread gatehouses and snapping photos of the giant ceramic lizard/dragon on the stairs that lead up the hillside.
Below sits a reservoir for the park’s fountains. Above rests a terrace lined with an organic, tile-covered bench ergonomically designed against the back of a worker on the site. Park Guell is one of the most important sights in Barcelona and one of Gaudi’s masterpieces.
Originaly a housing development:
The park was originally part of an unsuccessful housing site, the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, who the park was named after. It was inspired by the English garden city movement, hence the original English name Park (in the Catalan language spoken in Catalonia where Barcelona is located, the word for “Park” is “Parc”, and the name of the place is “Parc Güell” in its original language). The site was a rocky hill with little vegetation and few trees. It already included a large country house called Larrard House or Muntaner de Dalt House, and was next to a neighbourhood of upper class houses called La Salut (The Health). The intention was to exploit the fresh air (well away from smoky factories) and beautiful views from the site, with sixty triangular lots being provided for luxury houses. Count Eusebi Güell added to the prestige of the development by moving in 1906 to live in Larrard House. Ultimately, only two houses were built, neither designed by Gaudí. One was intended to be a show house, but on being completed in 1904 was put up for sale, and as no buyers came forward, Gaudí, at Güell’s suggestion, bought it with his savings and moved in with his family and his father in 1906. This house, where Gaudí lived from 1906 to 1926, was built by Francesc Berenguer in 1904. It contains original works by Gaudí and several of his collaborators. It is now the Gaudi House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudí) since 1963. In 1969 it was declared a historical artistic monument of national interest.
How to get the Parc Güell?
With the underground line L3 go to the station Lesseps. From there it’s about 10-15 minutes by foot. Go from the station from the main road Travessera de Dalt up (not the great guide to follow) to the left side of a road with the not very simple name “Avinguda del Santuari de Sant Josep de la Muntanya”. These go up until the end of the Carrer d’Ot. You will see the entrance already.
On our map we have drawn the way for you.
If you follow the signs, you can reach the Parc Güell through a side entrance, an escalators takes you up the mountain for the last metres. You leave the Parc at the main entrance and go back the way as described above.
Information for Admission to Park Guell
About 95% of the park area are accessible free of charge, only the entry to the monumental zone isn’t. This zone covers the entrance area with the dragon, the curved bench and the market hall. Only 400 visitors are allowed here per half hour.
Tickets are available at the box office or at the online booking. With the ticket you can go in the monumental zone in a certain period of time and then stay as long as you like. Note that it may need much time to get a free time period if you buy the tickets at the box office.
We therefore recommend to book online. The prices above are the cheaper online prices.