SEP 19,2016 - SEP 19,2016 (1 DAYS)
Les Corts and Sarrià-Pedralbes:
Main Attractions: Pedrables Gardens, Palau Reial de Pedralbes, Pavellons Guell, Parròquia de Sant Ot, Statue of Antoni Gaudi, Carrer Major de Sarrià, Plaça de Sarrià, Monasterio de Pedralbes.
Duration: 1/2 day Distance: 9 km. (most of them in ascent) Public transport: L3 (the yellow line) to Palau Reial Metro station Start: Palau Reial Metro station. End: GFC Sarrià station or Monastery of Pedralbes.
Introduction: Les Corts is a district of the small town of Sarrià (now part of Barcelona).
Our itinerary: The Palau Reial Metro station is almost opposite the Pedrables Park. But, you have to cross the bustling Diagonal street ONLY through crossing lights. Head west on Avinguda Diagonal toward Carrer de Martí i Franquès, 140 m. Turn right onto carrer de John Maynard , Keynes, 25 m. Turn right onto Avinguda Diagonal. Find the main entrance to the Pedrables Gardens Park:
Some history: The whole grounds of the palace and the gardens were acquired by the count Eusebi Güell towards the end of the 19th century forming the Finca Güell. The pst existing building was remodeled by the architect Joan Martorell i Montells, who built a Caribbean-style small palace, together with a Gothic-style chapel and surrounded by magnificent gardens. Later the building remodeling was given to Antoni Gaudí. Gaudi designed and constructed the surrounding perimeter wall and the side entry pavilions. Gaudí also partially re-designed the gardens surrounding the palace, placing two fountains and a pergola and planted many Mediterranean plants like palm trees, cypress trees, magnolias, pine trees and eucalyptus. Eusebi Güell gave the house and garden to the Royal family, as a thank you for his noble title of Count given to him, in 1918. The house was then remodeled to become a royal palace. The work was done from 1919 to 1924 by the architects Eusebi Bona and Francesc Nebot. During Francisco Franco's regime it was used as a residence for Franco during his visits to the city.
The gardens at the palace, which are highly acclaimed for their beauty are one of the most beautiful parks and gardens in Barcelona. When you pass through the magnificent forged-iron entry door, a large space will welcome you. There is an elegant oval pond in the middle with the sculpture of a woman in its centre. In front, flower beds and, behind, a slight slope covered with grass and well-tended bay trees and orange trees, replete with a small waterfall - created by Carles Buigas,
the gardens feature palm trees, cypress, cedars, lime trees, fragrant eucalyptus, magnolias, acacias, and flowering plants. The highlight of the gardens is an ensemble of 23 Himalaya cedars (Cedrus deodara), and also pine trees (Pinuspea) located in the esplanade in front of the palace, and a white cedar (Tetraclinisarticulata) very close to the pond in the entrance. You'll discover four exceptionally rare ash trees (Fraxinusornus) and also a savin (Juniperusphoenicea). Other species that we can find strolling through the paths of the gardens: Atlas cedars (Cedrusatlantica), Japanese cedars (Cryptomeriajaponica), incense cedar Calocedrusdecurrens), several pine trees among which are: Pinushalepensis, cypress (Cupressusmacrocarpa), Arizona cypress (Cupressus glabra), white cedar (Thujaorientalis), lime tree (Tilia tomentosa), eucalyptus (Eucalyptusglobulus) and a little forest of bamboo (Phyllostachyssp.). As far as bushes are concerned: big laurels (Laurusnobilis), boxes (Buxussempervirens) and some strawberry trees (Arbutusunedo):
The most interesting sight in the palace gardens is the Font d'Hércules (Hercules Fountain), a fountain designed by Antoni Gaudí (1884). The fountain was rediscovered in the 1980s and was once completely hidden by dense vegetation. It has a bust of Hercules on top of a pillar with Catalonia's shield and a spout in the shape of a Chinese dragon. The dragon head is a spout from which the water bubbles and under is a stone spout with four bars on its front. There is a bench carved from stone on both sides and a marble bust on the pedestal from which the dragon head emerges:
Opening hours: from Nov 01 to Mar 31: 10.00 - 19.00, from Apr 01 to Oct 31: 10.00 - 21.00. Prices: FREE.
Palau Reial: If you continue up the path, the shady lanes will take you to the Royal Palace, located at the back of the park. The path opens up onto a semicircular square in front of the palace, surrounded on both sides by a large balustrade decorated with busts sculpted from white marble. Since the railing is located under the shade of the trees, this is a perfect place to sit for a moment and gaze upon the building:
The semicircular square, in front of the palace, is sunny and presided over by a white marble sculpture of Isabel II holding her son Alfons XII in her arms and a pond in the middle surrounded by flowerpots filled with geraniums:
The Royal Palace of Pedralbes served from 1919 until 1931 as the Barcelona residence of the royal family of Spain. It was the residence for the Spanish royal family when they visited Barcelona. The palace is formed by a central building four stories high, with a chapel on the back side and two three stories high side wings that form a curve with the front facade towards the front. The outside facade is done with Tuscan order columns forming two porches, with round arches and medallions and jars on the top. The interior of the building is of many styles both in decoration as in furniture, going from Louis XIV style to contemporary styles. The Palace own gardens were designed by Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí, from a design that included, in a geometrically decorative area, lots of the trees already present, a pond with many decorative elements, Gaudi's fountain, bamboo benches, three lighted fountains by Carles Buïgas, the same designer of the Magic Fountain in Montjuïc and many statues such is the one of Queen Isabella II with her son Alfonso XII on the front of the palace, a work of Agapit Vallmitjana.
Today two museums are housed here: a ceramics museum (the Museu de la Ceramica) and a museum of decorative arts (Museu de les Arts Decoratives). The building resides in the middle of Pedrables Gardens in the district of Les Corts. The built complex houses also the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean. It houses the famous Tinell room (14th century) which was used by the Reyes Católicos (Catholic King and Queen) to welcome Christopher Columbus following his return from America. The main access to the building from Diagonal Avenue is presided by a beautiful sculpture designed by Eulàlia Fàbregas de Sentmenat, and that bears the meaningful name of Mediterrània.
Museu de les Arts Decoratives: Since 1937 Palau Reial de Pedralbes serves as the Museu de les Arts Decoratives, a museum of decorative arts. The museum has a collection of Catalan and Arabic pottery , Catalan glassware, porcelain, wrought iron, furniture and many utensils from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Thereare, also, works by Miró and Picasso. Opening hours: Monday closed. Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 - 14.00.
Museu de Ceramica: Palau Reial de Pedralbes is also home to the Museu de Ceramica, a ceramics museum. Founded in 1966. In 1990 the Museu de Ceramica was placed at the palace. This museum owns an impressive permanent collection of Spanish ceramic art spanning several centuries, from medieval pieces to contemporary works.
We exit the the Palau Reial de Pedralbes and Pedrables Gardens from the most eastern exit point. We head east, approx, 180 m. Turn left toward Carrer de Pere Duran Farell, 35 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Pere Duran Farell further 150 m. Turn right onto Carrer George R Collins and Pavellons Guell will be on the right after 40 m. Behind the estate's walls - you can't miss the beauty and colour of the giant mythological dragon from the Garden of the Hesperides, a synthesis of Gaudí's symbolism and craftsmanship. During the years 1884 - 1887 Antoni Gaudí landscaped the building and the garden of his patron Eusebi Güell's estate (Finca). From these years Eusebi Güell became Gaudi's main sponsor and patron. Gaudí proposed a fantastic-oriental design, somewhat reminiscent of Mudejar art. Gaudi designed and constructed is caretaker's house, stables and gatehouses. But, the main highlight is the wrought-iron gate in the shape of a dragon, that connects the house and the stables. Finca Güell's gatehouses have a stone base and brick parabolic arches with bright ceramic decorations in geometric shapes. On one side of the gate, a turret, crowned by plant motifs, features a medallion bearing the initials of the owner of the estate and the flower pot on top with an iron plant and flowers. In the centre, the dragon on the gate spreads its wings and its forked tongue. It represents the mythical never-sleeping, hundred-headed dragon named Ladon from the Garden of the Hesperides (the nymphs or daughters of evening), which commemorates Hercules' brilliant plot of stealing apples from the garden. The shape of the dragon corresponds with the position of the stars in the Serpens constellation, because Ladon was turned into a snake as a punishment for Hercules' stealing the oranges. This story was commemorated by the Catalan poet Jacint Verdaguer in his famous poem L'Atlàntida. Over the dragon there is an antimony orange-tree, another allusion to the Hesperides. the gatehouses consist of three small buildings, the central one being polygonal in plan and the others cuboidal. All three are surmounted by ventilators in the form of chimneys, faced with ceramics.
Opening hours: daily - 10.00 - 16.00. January 1st and 6th, December 25th and 26th: closed. Prices: adult - 5 euros, concessions - 2 euros. Guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays: 10:15 and 12:15, in English, 11:15, in Catalan, 13:15, in Spanish. Public transport: buses: 7, 33, 63, 67, 75, 78, H6, L14, L79, L97, Trams: T1/T2/T3-Pius XII direction: Palau Reial-Pavellons Güell. Overpriced site. A bit neglected. Allow no more than 15-20 minutes. Web site: www.rutadelmodernisme.com
Pavellons Guell external walls:
Pavellons Guell dome of the longeing ring:
We continue climbing north-west along Av. de Pedrables. In the first intersection (on your right) with Passeig de Manuel Girona - we find the Dunosti Junior Bar: with 9.60 euros/person you get a full lunch: veggies salad + egg, burger with pommes frites or cow lever and dessert (ice-cream, fruit flan and soft drink. We continue eastward, deep into the Sarriá district, along Passeig de Manuel Girona.
Sarriá is a pretty neighbourhood in Barcelona's and was the last of the independent villages annexed by Barcelona in 1921. It was gobbled up by Barcelona and became the city's new uptown area, not only for its geographical location but also for its more posh homes, shops and restaurants. This former rural village became the place where Barcelona's well-based classes chose to live from the second half of the 19th century, due to its proximity to Collserola woodlands and its unique natural conditions, comprising green areas and springs. This could explain why it retains much of the original flavour and personality of its streets, buildings and local community. It is one of the city's most prosperous districts. Sarriá still retains its own traditional architecture, with its typical food market and century-old shops. They have been joined by the typical summer villas of the Catalan Art-Nouveau, or Modernista period. The most important example is the Torre Bellesguard and its viaduct (Carrer de Bellesguard, 16), which were designed by Gaudí. Sarriá hardly has any tourism, as it houses virtually no hotels or grand tourist sights.
In the 2nd turn to the left of Passeig de Manuel Girona (intersection with Carrer d'Eduardo Conde) - you see on your left the Parròquia de Sant Ot, Passeig Manuel Girona, 25. Entrance by carrer Eduardo Conde, 1. An architectural attraction:
We continue walking EASTWARD along Passeig de Manuel Girona crossing Carrer del Dr. Ferran (on your left). On our left (north) we pass through the Institut Marquès - a private Spanish medical institution specialized in gynecology. Continuing eastward we cross Carrer del Capità Arenas. In the next intersection of Passeig de Manuel Girona with Carrer de Benet Mateu (under the Porta de la Finca Miralles) - we find the famous Statue of Antoni Gaudi (1999) by Joaquim Camps:
WE RETURN BACK WEST along Passeig de Manuel Girona (crossing, again, Passeig de Manuel Girona on our right) and we turn RIGHT (north) to Carrer del Capità Arenas. Further, north, Carrer del Capità Arenas changes its name to Carrer de Fontcoberta. We turn right (east) to Passatge de Senillosa and continue climbing LEFT (north) to Carrer Major de Sarrià. Major de Sarrià is the main street in the Sarrià neighborhood in the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district of Barcelona. Part of the street is pedestrian-only and is fluent with shops and restaurants:
THe ASCENT along Major de Sarrià brings us to the Plaça de Sarrià. On the square is the patisserie Foix, which is considered one of the best in Barcelona. In the square there are several cafes, where you can leisurely drink a cup of coffee. Also, there is the ancient church of Saint Vincent, built in the 10th century:
In the Plaça de Sarrià, Emili Armengol's sculpture, "Portal de Sarrià" (Gateway to Sarrià) (1993), expresses the union between the different villages that make up the district:
In this square you find the sign commemorating the founding of Sarria in year 1886:
With our face to the north - on our left is the Placa Consell de la Villa:
You'll find, also, in Plaça de Sarrià the Santamasa cultural centre and restaurant, Carrer Major de Sarrià 97. Their privileged locationis in a Gothic building from the 18th century in the main square, next to the beautiful church of St. Vincent of Sarrià, adds to the restaurant’s enchanting character. Santamasa offers a delightful menu, combining traditional ingredients with surprising elements; choose a coque topped with smoked salmon with mascarpone or perhaps a Japanese style burger with oriental flavors of teriyaki and sesame. The restaurant also prepares three different sorts of tartars and delicious entrées from hummus to mexican quesadillas:
Also found in the square - an old bakery founded in year 1903:
From the Plaça de Sarrià - you have two options. The first, completing your route, for today, and walking to the closest GFC Sarrià station. From Plaça de Sarrià head northwest on Plaça de Sarrià toward Passeig de la Bonanova, 20 m. Turn right onto Passeig de la Bonanova, 120 m. Turn right onto Via Augusta, 350 m and the GFC Sarrià station is on your right. Another option is extending your day and visiting the Monasterio de Pedralbes (if it is still open.... It CLOSES EARLY in the afternoon). It is 1.1 km. walk to the monastery. From Plaça de Sarrià head northwest on Plaça de Sarrià toward Passeig de la Bonanova, 15 m. Turn left onto Passeig de la Bonanova, 45 m. Continue onto Passeig de la Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 550 m and pass through Placa de la Reina Elisenda as well. Continue onto Carrer del Bisbe Català, 300 m. Slight right onto Baixada del Monestir, 35 m. Turn right to stay on Baixada del Monestir, 60 m. Turn left, take the stairs, 10 m. Walk for 100 m. and head southeast for 45 m. The Monasterio de Pedralbes, Baixada del Monestir, 9, is on your right. Opening hours: TUE - FRI: 10.00 - 14.00 (last admission at 13.30), SAT - SUN: 10.00 - 17.00 (last admission at 16.30), Holidays: 10.00 - 14.00 (last admission at 13.30). Closed on the following days:
1 Jan., Good Friday, 1 May, 24 June, 25 and 26 Dec. Prices: adult - €5.00, concessions - €3.50, children until 15 years (an adult companion required) - FREE, disabled persons: €3.50. Free admissions: 12 February (Santa Eulàlia), 18 May (International museum day), 24 September (Mare de Déu de la Mercè). Free admission with the Barcelona Card. The Monastery of Pedralbes (in Catalan: Monestir de Pedralbes), is one of the most beautiful buildings of the Catalan Gothic in Barcelona. The building from the early 14th century shows the everyday life of nuns. Religious art from the 14th to the 20th century is displayed in the monastery museum. The most famous highlights are: the three-storey cloister and the park inside the monastery. The monastery was founded by Queen Elisenda de Montcada and her husband, King Jaume II. The construction work of the monastery started in March 1326. On May 3, 1327 the nuns moved into the monastery. The monastery was built within just one year. Queen Elisenda chose its location in the village of Sarrià, which back then was far out of the city of Barcelona. The name "Pedralbes" derives from the Latin Petras Albas (white stones), a white stone which is the cornerstone of the apsis. It was not before the 15th century that the third and lowest storey was added to the cloister.
Monastery of Pedrables is a fine example of particularly homogeneous Gothic architecture in Catalonia. The Pedrables church, Cloister and garden are among the coolest sites in Barcelona - during the hot summer days.
On the eastern side of the Pedrables complex stands the church:
It has one nave. Inside the church, on the right side next to a presbytery - a choir:
Inside the church you find the Queen Elisenda's tomb: the sarcophagus is double-sided. On the cloister side Elisenda is figured as a mourning widow, on the church side as a queen:
The first interesting sight is the small St. Michael's chapel on the right-hand side by the church wall. It might be closed due to restorations. Its frescoes from 1343 depict scenes from the lives of Jesus and Mary. Note the three-dimensional quality of the frescoes that remind of the Italian painter Giotto, who was considered the first modern painter in 3D:
There is no direct entry to the interior of the monastery from the church. The entrance is located only a few steps away from the church. You can enter the cloister from there. It is recommended to follow the route that leads through the monastery in an anticlockwise direction:
The cloister is the central structure around which the monastery is organized. Considered the world’s largest Gothic cloister, it has two galleries with twenty-six columns on each side made of limestone from Girona containing fossil remains:
On the north side of the cloister, there are several utility rooms, the nuns' day cells and the staircase to the second floor, half of those can be visited. The refectory, where the nuns had their meals, in silence, is located in the cloister, facing the Fountain of the Angel, where the nuns used to wash their hands. The antechamber, called De Profundis, still conserves the original wall cabinets, covered with tiles from Valencia dating from the 16th and 18th centuries, where the individual eating utensils were kept. This intermediate space was where the first prayer was said, addressed to the departed nuns and benefactors of the community:
The third floor is closed to the public.
The museum is housed in the former dormitory of the monastery. In a tour you can marvel at pieces of religious art as well as everyday objects of the monastery dating from the 14th to the 20th century. In the middle cloister there are several tiny cells in which the nuns used to pray.
Walking downstairs from the museum, you can continue the monastery tour through the lower cloister. On the west side, there are utility rooms, such as the dining hall and the kitchen, and in the basement the monastery's store rooms are located.
One of the store rooms contains a series of dioramas of religious scenes which depict the life history of Jesus.
The monastery certainly wouldn't be as beautiful and impressive without its park in the courtyard. You won't find a quieter place in all Barcelona - except for the birds singing in the trees and the gurgling of the Renaissance fountain in the centre of the courtyard you won't hear a sound:
The simplest way to return to Barcelona centre is via Sarrià GFC subway station. You have to walk 20 minutes to the Sarrià station. From Monasterio de Pedralbes head southeast on Baixada del Monestir. Turn left to stay on Baixada del Monestir. Baixada del Monestir turns slightly left and becomes Carrer del Bisbe Català. Continue onto Passeig de la Reina Elisenda de Montcada. Continue onto Passeig de la Bonanova. Turn right onto Via Augusta and the Sarrià station is on your right. Take Train S1 to Pl. Catalunya (4 stops).