Barcelona, Spain ~ Gaudi ~ Utopian Environment in Park Guell

Guell Park in Barcelona, Spain

A grand dragon guarding the entrance
A grand dragon guarding the entrance | Source

Visiting Park Güell


During the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, the trip that my husband had won afforded us several days of viewing specific Olympic events that we had requested as our preference. Those decisions were made before the trip to Spain was ever begun.

In most cases, we were given the tickets to see those personally preferred competitions.

But then we were presented with options.

We could turn in those coveted tickets and instead choose to go on tours in Barcelona.

Since we had never been to Barcelona, we decided to do some sightseeing as a mix of our experiences in that beautiful city.

Park Guell which was the architect Antoni Gaudi's creation was a part of one afternoon city tour. We were so happy to have gotten to see this creative architect's dream of a Utopian urban environment.

We had never previously seen anything remotely similar, nor have we viewed anything to equate to it since that time.

Photos of Guell Park in Barcelona

A woman drinking from the dragon fountain
A woman drinking from the dragon fountain | Source
Park Guell done in bits of broken china and glass
Park Guell done in bits of broken china and glass | Source
Palmetto Palm design in iron gate
Palmetto Palm design in iron gate | Source
Note the use of decorative tile in the construction of the walls
Note the use of decorative tile in the construction of the walls | Source
Another decorative water fountain
Another decorative water fountain | Source
Entrance view of Guell Park
Entrance view of Guell Park | Source
Portion of the curvaceous bench
Portion of the curvaceous bench | Source

More photos from Guell Park

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lots of organic shapesPaths above supported by these columnsIron gateRooftop in Guell ParkFantastically shaped roofsBalls supposed to remind one of the beads of a rosaryHansel and Gretel-like buildingNote the undulating benches and sand areaPlaces for people to have snacks or lunch in Guell ParkRetaining walls and sturdy supports for the roadway aboveNote the woman in the column?Hubby noticing a tree whose bark is used for corkYou don't see buildings like this in our neighborhood!Tile work decorating the underside of the water filtering sand aboveYes...lots of green garden spaces in this 37 acre park
Lots of organic shapes
Lots of organic shapes | Source
Paths above supported by these columns
Paths above supported by these columns | Source
Iron gate
Iron gate | Source
Rooftop in Guell Park
Rooftop in Guell Park | Source
Fantastically shaped roofs
Fantastically shaped roofs | Source
Balls supposed to remind one of the beads of a rosary
Balls supposed to remind one of the beads of a rosary | Source
Hansel and Gretel-like building
Hansel and Gretel-like building | Source
Note the undulating benches and sand area
Note the undulating benches and sand area | Source
Source
Places for people to have snacks or lunch in Guell Park
Places for people to have snacks or lunch in Guell Park | Source
Source
Retaining walls and sturdy supports for the roadway above
Retaining walls and sturdy supports for the roadway above | Source
Note the woman in the column?
Note the woman in the column? | Source
Source
Hubby noticing a tree whose bark is used for cork
Hubby noticing a tree whose bark is used for cork | Source
You don't see buildings like this in our neighborhood!
You don't see buildings like this in our neighborhood! | Source
Source
Tile work decorating the underside of the water filtering sand above
Tile work decorating the underside of the water filtering sand above | Source
Yes...lots of green garden spaces in this 37 acre park
Yes...lots of green garden spaces in this 37 acre park | Source
Source

Antoni Gaudi


Antoni Gaudi was born in 1852 in the town of Reus. He was a sickly child who 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 copper-smiths.

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 easily become acquainted with his highly individualistic style of architecture.

With a deep 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 probably the most famous, the Sagrada Familia, a great Gothic church is still to this day under construction. Antoni Gaudi is buried in a crypt inside that church.


Guell Park


From 1900 to 1914 Antoni Gaudi created what he had hoped would become a wonderful 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 wonderful 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 Guell and Gaudi had constructed for themselves.

Our guide speculated that this was perhaps just too far a distance outside of the center of the city at the time to draw enough people to that location to want to live there. 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.

The house in which Antoni Gaudi once resided is now a museum filled with curvaceous furniture also of his own design among other furnishings.

Brightly colored bits of broken china and glass are incorporated into the design one sees immediately at the entrance to Park Guell. Colorful dragon heads pour water from their mouths.

An iron gate has a Palmetto palm design incorporated into it.

There are definitely 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 Guell have a Hansel and Gretel appearance especially when looking at their fantastic rooftops.

What we found to be of great interest was the elevated public area. It had an undulating bench bedecked with the bits of colored pottery where people could rest and just enjoy the ambiance of the beautiful scenery.

Gaudi had taken a mold of one of his worker's back and then designed the anatomically correct bench seating we were told by our tour guide.

In the center of this was a huge area containing sand. This was a finely designed water collection and storage system.

Thick yards of sand in this elevated portion of the park filter rainwater. Directed through the 86 Doric columns underneath the raised park area, the filtered water was collected and stored in a reservoir. This was to have provided the residents with clean and good drinking water.

Now the rainwater is utilized to keep the gardens watered when necessary.

Under this columned and shady area (with sand and benches above) was to have been a public market had Gaudi's Utopian residential environment succeeded and been populated with people living there.

Even the underside of this columned area is decorated with huge medallions of colorful tile work. Although utilitarian in nature, it was not neglected when it came to being decorated with artistic creations.

Barcelona's Guell Park in Spain is a treat for the senses.

Combining a nice stroll through the gardens while getting to see the work and creations of one of history's most original architects, Antoni Gaudi, is a pleasant experience we will not soon forget.

His utopian environment will persist in our memories as well as delight tourists to that area seeing it for the first time over and over again.

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

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© 2009 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed! 42 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

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 3 years ago

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 W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

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.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

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 W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

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.


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