Day 2 in Barcelona was so inspiring. We saw Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Parc Güell as well as Plaça d’Espanya and Montjuïc. We took one of those hop on hop off double decker tour buses to see as much of the city as we could and then decide where we would allocate more time to fully explore.
Of all Gaudí’s amazing creations, Casa Batlló is my favourite. A remodel of a previously built house, it was redesigned in 1904 by Gaudí and has been refurbished several times after that. To best describe Casa Batlló, their official website say it best:
It is a universe of symbolism, a canvas of marine inspiration, a dream world, which evokes nature with its organic elements and is suggestive of fantasy.
Next, we made a quick stop at La Pedrera but unfortunately it was mostly covered because of restoration work. I still managed to get a decent shot of the part of the building that remains visible but it doesn’t do it justice so I’ve included some photos from the La Pedera website. Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera was constructed between 1906 and 1912 by Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) and in 1984 was declared UNESCO World Heritage. Nowadays it is the headquarters of Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera and houses a cultural centre that is a reference point in Barcelona for a wide range of activities it organizes, spaces for exhibitions and other public events that are held there.
La Sagrada Familia was the culmination of our tour. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life and was truly blown away. Construction of the church commenced in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926 less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.
As you can see from my photos, it’s almost impossible to get a full shot of La Sagrada Familia unless you are standing three streets away but then of course your view is obstructed by the buildings that surround the church.
A big thank you to our friends at Wikipedia for this photo of the church that was probably taken in a helicopter or by someone standing on a roof somewhere!
And now for the inside…
Gaudí planned inclined branching columns in the shape of a tree for the church.
The stained glass windows are stunning. Gaudí being Gaudí he didn’t just put them there for their colourful beauty. He also wanted them to reflect the light onto the walls and columns in various shades of the rainbow.
What a magical wonderland. With urbanization in mind, Eusebi Güell assigned the design of the park to Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect and the face of Catalonian 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. Park Güell is the reflexion of Gaudí’s artistic plenitude, which belongs to his naturalist phase. During this period, the architect perfected his personal style through inspiration from organic shapes found in nature.
Even the ceilings are beautiful!
Check out the groovy fence.
Plaça d’Espanya and Montjuïc
Also known as Plaza de España in Spanish, this 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.
Close to Plaça d’Espanya is the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (or MNAC) on Montjuïc. Because I arrived on November 23 which seems to be during the period of their annual shutdown, the fountains weren’t working (boo). Fortunately, my father had arrived a week earlier and he was able to see them in all their glory and share some of his photos (thanks daddio!).
The fountains are even more impressive at night time.
As you can tell by the sheer length of this post, it was (another) full day and one that left us with a lasting impression. The sights we took in were something you remember for life and I truly hope you have the opportunity to visit Barcelona and experience these gems for yourself.