Touring Gaudí's Sites - Barcelona, Spain
If you're a fan of mosaics, color, and just all around beautiful things, then you'll enjoy this post. Some of Barcelona's most iconic city sites include the work of Antoni Gaudí. This Spanish architect was a genius of neo-gothic art. He incorporated stained glass, geometric forms, and ceramics into his designs. Lauren and I decided to hit three of his famous projects in one day! Here we go! Lots of pictures from this day!
First up is Casa Batlló! I gave you a sneak peak of the exterior lit up at night last time, so now you get to see the interior during the day.
Some back story behind this building... The original house had already been built in this high end area of central Barcelona. The owner (Batlló) hired Gaudí to come and remodel. The building's facade is completely covered in a mosaic made of broken ceramic pieces. It closely resembles a dragon because of this. When I show you the roof you'll see some close up colorful photos. However it is the inside that is designed in a way that makes you feel like you're actually inside the belly of the dragon!
The audio guide pointed out all of the details of the house. Including this window above the door below that when viewed from two different rooms, the light changes your perception of the stained glass.
The locals call this building "Casa dels ossos". Catalan for "House of Bones". You can see the bone shaped columns through the windows here.
Also peek down at the crowds of tourists below! If you ever go, be sure to book your tickets ahead and bypass all of the lines!
See the scaly skin painted on the walls and ceilings? Hinting at some kind of creature!
Climbing to the next floor let us go out onto the terrace to enjoy scenic views of Barcelona, as well as some of Gaudí's colorful mosaics.
Back inside and up through the stairwell where you feel immersed underwater to ascend higher through the building.
Here we reach the loft of the building. These arches represent the ribcage of the dragon, while keeping the whole place cool through his innovative design. Fresh air comes in through those slots on the wall, circulating throughout the house.
The loft opens up to the roof where visitors can take in the sites of Barcelona's city center.
Now do you see the whole dragon imagery? His vision really is fascinating!
Of course being a devout Catholic, he included a large four-armed cross on the tower.
The Roman Catholic faith was a major influence in Gaudí's life. In fact his "magnum opus" (greatest piece of work as an artist) is the Sagrada Família. We head there next on our Gaudí tour.
Passing by some charming Barcelona architecture, we finally glimpsed the towers through the trees.
Gaudí began work on this Catholic Church in 1883, and today it is still not finished. He died in 1926 at the age of 73 from a tram accident. One interesting fact is that his original sketches for the design of the building were destroyed in a fire. So the subsequent builders had to try and piece back together the blueprints from memory. It is expected to be finished in 2026, one hundred years after Gaudí's death.
We entered beneath the Nativity Facade.
Once inside, we looked up to see the starry ceiling. You might notice the similar bone-like designs of the columns that we saw in Casa Batlló earlier.
Gaudí hand picked each of these stained glass mosaics that surround the mighty cathedral. Another fact: his remains are held here in the crypt beneath the cathedral floor.
Because we visited on a construction day, our ears were ringing from the sounds of welding and hammering. We caught them raising this wheelbarrow full of supplies up to the towers above.
It truly is a magnificent building. Time it out right, and you could attend a mass during your visit! Hopefully you won't have to dodge armies of selfie sticks like we did.
Our final, and my personal favorite, stop on our Gaudí Day is the stunning Park Güell.
We successfully navigated the Barcelona subway system for the first time to get here (whoop)! When you buy tickets in advance to go in (which I again suggest everyone to do), you receive a specific entrance time frame. So get there early, grab an ice cream, slather on the sunscreen, and explore the free grounds before heading into the monument park.
The idea for an urban park was conceived by the wealthy entrepreneur, Eusebi Güell and Gaudí. They had planned for upper class families to buy plots of land to then work with Gaudí and a team of architects to design an artistic home. It was to be a natural community with homes, markets, and shops all in one confined space. Unfortunately it ended up being a complete failure, with only two houses ultimately being built.
One of those is this one here! Gaudí lived here from 1906 up until his death in 1926. Today it is the Gaudí House Museum.
Finally it was our turn to head inside! Being up on a mountain range, the views are a treat! Feast your eyes, people!
After construction on the project stopped, eventually the city of Barcelona purchased the site. In 1984 it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site for everyone to visit.
After a full day of exploring Gaudí's sites, I am amazed at his genuine skill and love of design. Barcelona, you are beautiful! Our day of walking also qualified us for a nice siesta before heading out for the evening.
Next time I'm sharing with you our hiking adventure in the mountains of Spain! Stay tuned and thank you for reading!