JUL 31,2014 - JUL 31,2014 (1 DAYS)
Barcelona - Col·legi de les Teresianes, Park Guell, Sant Pau Hospital - Part I.
Barcelona - La Segrada Familia, Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer, Casa de les Punxes, Casa Comalat, Palau del Baro de Quadras, C/ del Rosselló # 248 and # 279, La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, Casa Amatller, Casa Lleó Morera, Passeig de Gracia Modernista houses, Palau Guell - Part II.
Duartion: 1 day. 15-16 km.
Weather: Never walk this itinerary in very hot or rainy days.
1. Barclona hotels are expensive. Most of them are NOT a good value for your money.
2. Barcelona is easily walkable. Avoid using any kind of transportation - as possible. See next two comments...
3. Barcelona is concerned, sometimes, with steep hikes.
4. Take water with you to Park Guell, as the hike is worth it but you will be thirsty during the summer months! Do not make long walk if the temperature exceeds 28-29 degrees.
5. The admission fees to every kind of attraction ARE EXPENSIVE. Your daily budget for more than 3-4 sites can, easily, pass the 50 euros/person budget !
6. Plan in advance. Most sights seeing is involved with long queues of waiting. Long lines for the toilets too. It won't take time to book your tickets on internet and it will save you 2 hours.
Catalonia was marked by the so-called ‘Modernisme' (or Modernista) , a movement that extended from ca 1880 to the First World War, parallel to currents such as Naturalism, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau. It was motivated by return to traditions as an expression of national identity, as well as by the introduction of modern techniques and materials as part of progress.
It found expression in literature and music, as well as in painting, sculpture, decorative arts and architecture. The best known Modernisme architects include Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
The Modernisme movement was centred in the city of Barcelona, though it reached far beyond, and is best known for its architectural expression, especially in the work of Antoni Gaudí, but was also significant in sculpture, poetry, theatre and painting. Although it was part of a general trend that emerged in Europe around the turn of the 20th century, in Catalonia the style acquired its own unique personality. Its distinct name comes from its special relationship, primarily with Catalonia and Barcelona, which were intensifying their local characteristics for socio-ideological reasons after the revival of Catalan culture and in the context of spectacular urban and industrial development. It is equivalent to a number of other fin de siècle art movements going by the names of Art Nouveau in France and Belgium, Jugendstil in Germany, Sezession in Austria, Liberty style in Italy and Modern or Glasgow Style in Scotland, and was active from roughly 1888 (the First Barcelona World Fair) to 1911.
The earliest example of Modernista architecture is the café Castell dels tres Dragons designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner in the Parc de la Ciutadella for the 1888 Universal Exhibition. It is a search for a particular style for Catalonia drawing on Medieval and Arab styles. As well as combining a rich variety of historically-derived elements, it is characterized by the predominance of the curve over the straight line, by rich decoration and detail, by the frequent use of vegetal and other organic motifs, the taste for asymmetry, a refined aestheticism and dynamic shapes.
Antoni Gaudí is the best-known architect of this movement. Other influential architects were Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and later Josep Maria Jujol and Enrique Nieto.
There are about 30 Modernisme works spread around Barcelona. Only the main, the 10-11 most important are explored here. Mainly, due to their proximity and accessibility for a-pied walkers.
Col·legi de les Teresianes - This isolated, elegant and sober building, which looks like an unassailable fortress, is the amazing convent school designed by Gaudí for a community of nuns from the Order of Saint Teresa of Jesus. This imposing building stands behind railings and among gardens, and has been used as a school ever since it opened.
Park Güell - A garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of el Carmel in the Gràcia district, built in the years 1900 to 1914.
Hospital de Sant Pau - A complex built between 1901 and 1930. It was a fully functioning hospital until June 2009, since when it has been undergoing restoration for use as a museum and cultural center. In 1913 it received an award for the best building of the year from the Barcelona City Council.
Sagrada Família - An immense basilica that has been under construction since 1882 and will be under construction for the next 25 years. It is one of Barcelona's most popular tourist attractions and considered Gaudi's masterpiece.
Casa de les Punxes - Casa de les Punxes (House of Spikes) or Casa Terrades is a building located on Avinguda Diagonal constructed in 1905, commissioned by the Terrades sisters. The house includes different ceramic panels illustrating patriotic motifs. The best known depicts Saint George and with the following legend: “Sant Patró de Catalunya, torneu-nos la llibertat” (“Holy Patron of Catalonia, give us back our freedom”).
Casa Milà - Casa Milà or " La Pedrera" is a building located at Passeig de Gràcia Avenue, built during the years 1905–1910. It is probably Gaudi's second most popular building in Barcelona.
Casa Batlló - A slender building originally built between 1875 and 1877 and remodelled in 1904-1906 by Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol.
Casa Amatller - A building originally designed as a residence for chocolatier Antoni Amatller and constructed between 1898 and 1900.
Casa Lleó Morera - A building originally constructed in 1864 but renovated in 1902. In 1906 it received an award for the best building of the year from the Barcelona City Council.
Palau Güell - A mansion designed for the Catalan industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell and constructed between years 1885-1900.
Palau de la Música Catalana - A concert hall in Barcelona built between 1905 and 1908 for the choral society Orfeó Català. In 1909 it received an award for the best building of the year from the Barcelona City Council.
Casa Bonaventura Ferrer, Passeig de Gràcia 103 - Build in 1906. Since 1979 it has been listed as an historical and artistic heritage of Barcelona. In 2010 the building was remodeled and converted into a luxury boutique hotel under the name of "El Palauet".
I stayed only one night in Barcelona. I stayed in Portugal for 3 weeks and returned to my country through Barcelona. It was far cheaper to fly from Barcelona (with Vueling) and the flight from Porto (Portugal) to Barca costed me just 80 USD with Ryanair (efficient, punctual and spartan) (100 USD including my 18 kg. backpack).
I'll start with my hotel choice. I booked a room in a last-minute process - one day before my arrival.. Hotels in Barcelona, especially in the centre - might be expensive. You can find good deals if reservation made several months before your booking date. Do not expect to find a double room with attached bath in a price less than 80 euros/night. In most of the hotels the noise, during the night, is inevitable. Staying out of tourist traps is highly recommended. The only hotel with a sound mind price was Hotel Catalonia Castellnou, C/ Castellnou 61, 08017 Barcelona. Reasonably priced. Good value for money. The hotel is clean, silent, respectable, very convenient and cozy. It is 3-5 min. walk from the Ferrocarrils Catalonia (FGC) stop (NOT METRO) Les Tres Torres. The ride to Placa Catalonia takes 15 minutes and costs 2.15 euros. There is a train every 10-15 minutes. The same price as the Metro. It is in an residential area. If you want to have nightlife around your hotel - it's not the right one. There are some bars and restaurants around (10-15 euros for dinner). I booked a single room with a terrace (room 600) on the 5th + floor (45 euros). Double room will cost you 63 euros including breakfast. Breakfast was 9 (!) euros but worth every penny. It is a buffet style with a rich selection of pastries, fruits, juices and diary products. Taking a breakfast in a near bar, cafe or restaurant will cost you 6-7 euros at least. Internet connection, in the lobby, was working good. Good wifi. 12 - 13 minutes from supermarket on foot. A/C worked well. TV had English news channels (all in all 43 channels).
The view from the terrace:
Another important fact, from my experience: Barcelona is walkable. It is 45 minutes (3 km.) from my hotel to Park Guell. This the longest section in our daily route along the Modernista architectural sites. ALL OF THEM ARE NORTH TO Placa Catalonia.
The shortest route is (extracted from Google Maps): Head southeast on Carrer de Castellnou toward Carrer del Rosari, 77 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Rosari, 290 m. Slight right onto Via Augusta, 80 m. Turn left onto Ronda del General Mitre/Ronda General Mitre, 1.3 km. Slight left onto Carrer de Ballester, 550 m. Turn left onto Av. de Vallcarca, 150 m. Turn right onto Baixada de la Glòria, 350 m (the most difficult, inevitable section). Turn left onto Av. del Coll del Portell, 250 m. Turn right, 6 m - Park Güell.
I did a longer and a bit different way which should take about 60-70 minutes. The main point, in this route, is Jardins del Turó del Putget or Park Putget (Putxet). Every route chosen is involved with section of steep climb (especially, to Park Guell itself, via the Beixada de la Gloria stairs). High above it all and nestled on Putget hill, these spacious and open gardens offer one of the most privileged viewing points of Barcelona. These gardens are much more accessible than they may initially seem, since there are more unobstructed paths than flights of stairs. Except for access to the highest part of the hill, the Park Putxet gardens can be crossed from one side to the other without stepping on a single stair.
From Hotel Catalonia Castellnou I headed north-east to the Plaça de Joaquim Pena and Carrer del Milanesat. Turn right to C/ Vergos and continue eastward along Via Augusta (where the Les Tres Torres FGC subway station is located). Turn LEFT to Ronda del General Mitre (a bustling, but, still, elegant street) and take its left pavement. On the first cross-road turn left to the Col-legi de les Teresianes, Ganduxer, 85-105. In 1887, a community of nuns from the Order of Saint Teresa of Jesus decided to build a school in Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, a village in the north of Barcelona. An unknown architect had already laid the foundation stone and established the floor plan of the building when Gaudí took over the project. He altered the actual structure of the building and left his own highly personal imprint on the ensemble. Unlike his other projects, Gaudí had to work with a limited budget and this explains the use of austere materials, such as brick and reconstituted stone, or the plaster walls inside.
Return to Ronda General Mitre. Now walk on the right side (shaded) pavement and continue eastward. Here, starts our adventurous section. Turn left to Carrer de Balmes. The Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC) line runs under Carrer Balmes, where you'll find Plaça Molina, Padua and El Putxet FGC stations. Turn right and continue climbing on the LEFT LEG of Carrer de Bertran. Turn right (2nd turn) to Carrer del Pare Fidel Fita. Here you climb up approx. 100 stairs and turn left to Carrer Roca i Batlle (a steep climb uphill). Turn right to Carrer de Marmellà. On your right is the Centre Esportiu Municipal Putxet. We arrived to Jardins del Turó del Putget. El Putget - often written El Putxet - is a small peak between Vallcarca and Sant Gervasi, which was first documented as the site of a chapel in the 17th century but whose history only really dates back to around 1870 when, owing to the dreadful sanitary conditions in Ciutat Vella, bourgeois Barcelona families began to build summer homes there. At the time, El Putget was one of the three neighborhoods, along with La Bonanova and Lledó, that made up Sant Gervasi. With the arrival of the Sarrià railway in 1863, the metro in 1924 and the tram, the summer homes in El Putget gradually became permanent residences. Just like in Sarrià or La Salut above Gràcia, fine houses, many of them Modernista, were built around the hill and some can still be seen particularly along Carrer de Mulet or Carrer de Puigreig. Usually is a very quite park, with some cozy resting places, and it has a huge variety of plants. As it's located on a hill, some of its roads and stairs are quite stepped, but it's a lovely park with seating areas, smalls squares and even a playground.
The views from this park are really wonderful. BUT, I think the best scenery is during the afternoon hours when the sun shines from the west with Park Guell to the east of this park. So, don't expect to have the best views, from this park, at the first half of the day... In case you decide to climb to the top of Putxet Hill, through the park's stairs - it will consume another 15-20 minutes of your time. The park contains taps, rest rooms and picnic benches.
You leave the Jardins del Turó del Putget by following the signposts pointing to C/ Manacor. You exit the park, at one of its eastern exits, along Carrer de Manacor, You walk down along Carrer de Manacor and see, almost, immediately, the steep road leading to Park Guell. The road slopes down and changes its name to Carrer d'Agramunt. You cross three roads on your way down: Av. Argentina, C/ Bolivar and Av. Valcarca. At last you arrive to the famous stairs leading to Park Guell - Beixada de la Gloria. It is a series of escalators (and a bit of a manual climb in parts) that lead you to Guell Park. Although the buildings inside are pretty interesting to look at, it's worth the visit for the fantastic views across the city. You'll find benches around, to rest, before the ascent to Park Guell.
Before the SECOND series of escalators, you have a very steep section of climbing on foot:
When Park Güell began to be built in 1900, Barcelona was a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis whose economy was based on the strength of its industry and which had over half a million inhabitants. Its walls had been knocked down nearly half a century earlier and the new city, the Eixample planned by engineer Ildefons Cerdà, had grown spectacularly from 1860 onwards, in what was the largest 19th century city development project in Europe. From the 1860s, the construction of the Eixample gave Barcelona’s architects many professional openings for expression, endowing the city with one of the continent’s richest and fullest repertoires. The first attempts at Modernisme were brought into its wide spectrum of historicist and eclectic architecture at the end of the century. When art nouveau finally triumphed at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1900 - the most significant architects within Modernisme, such as Domènech i Montaner and Gaudí, went very much further in their original interpretation of art nouveau, based on the paradox of having to be modern without renouncing tradition. The association between entrepreneur Eusebi Güell and architect Antoni Gaudí began when Güell saw a window display that Gaudí had planned for glove retailer Esteve Comella at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878. In 1886 Eusebi Güell entrusted Gaudí with building his new house, the Palau Güell in Nou de la Rambla street in the old quarter of the city. Later, in 1895 Gaudí built a winery in Garraf county in collaboration with Francesc Berenguer. In 1898 he planned the church for Colònia Güell, home to the workers at the large textile factory that the industrialist owned on the outskirts of Barcelona. And finally, in 1900, Gaudí was given the assignment of designing Park Güell. Güell understood better than any of his contemporaries the meaning of Gaudí’s architecture. The relationship between the two men was not simply that of an artist and his patron, but a real story of friendship. For many years the Güell family lived in the large family house (now a school) that stood on the land where the development was located, while Gaudí lived in one of the two houses that were built there. In the businessman’s own lifetime, the park was already considered to be one of Barcelona’s great tourist attractions, and the large square was often let for staging Catalan events, traditional Catalan Sardana dancing and other civic and social events. Gaudí planned and directed the construction of the park from 1900 to 1914 as infrastructure and facilities for an English-style garden suburb, planned to accommodate sixty single-family residences. The project was a financial failure and became city property in 1923. Although it was never fully completed, it is one of Gaudí's most colorful and playful works. Be sure to check every corner of this beautiful place for a multitude of architectural surprises. A highlight of Barcelona.
While the entrance to the Park is free, there is an entrance fee to visit the monumental zone with the architectural sights, and a separate fee to visit Gaudi’s house, which contains the furniture he designed. Gaudí's house, "la Torre Rosa," — containing furniture that he designed — can be only visited for an another entrance fee. There is a reduced rate for those wishing to see both Gaudí's house and the Sagrada Família Church. Opening times: Autumn-Winter from 27 October to 23 March: from 08.30 to 18.00, Spring-Summer from 24 March to 30 April: from 08.00 to 20.00, from 1 May to 26 October: from 08.00 to 21.00. General ticket € 7 (on-line) or € 8 (ticket office on-site). In addition, consider that now a limit is set on visiting the park. Only 400 tickets go on sale every half an hour. When buying tickets online, you need to clearly state the date and the time of your visit, and most importantly, not to be late, because in this case the ticket will be canceled. Remember: A limit of 400 tickets per 30 minute increments has been set to control the crowds ! Slots are limited. Although this route is planned as a full-day one, from morning till evening - I recommend going to Parc Guell (the Catalan name) just before sunset so that you can watch the sky light up as the sun sets and begin to see the city lights twinkle. It is also often less crowded at this time so you don't have to deal with as many tourist crowds. Don't forget to take your camera! Park Güell is one of the best photo opportunities in Barcelona, and an absolute must see for those visiting the incredible city. Beautiful architecture and mosaics can be found hidden (and in plain sight) all throughout the park, creating a surreal and magical feeling, almost as if you have walked into a fairy tale world. I wandered through Park Guell for a few hours and felt like I could've stayed for a few more. I'd definitely recommend bringing a picnic and spending some time on one of the many beautiful mosaic benches and watching the world go by. Yes, it's a very touristy attraction, but also incredibly peaceful and relaxing. The views are simply unreal and the park is bustling with life.
Two metro stations, Vallcarca and Lesseps, are situated within 20 minutes of walk from the park. Consider that in order to get to the park you have to surmount quite a steep ascent. You can take the underground metro to the station Lesseps along L3 and follow the signs towards Park Güell. better way is to take the bus, as it drops you right outside the park. Bus 24 goes from Plaça de Catalunya (it goes through Universitat area towards La Rambla), straight through Passeig de Gracia towards the park. You can see many of the attractions along the way, and experience Gracia quarter on the bus. A bus No. 116 goes from the metro station Lesseps directly to the park – stop L’Olot.
The paths within the park wind round the hill, up towards the highest point where you can see a complete view of Barcelona and the bay in panorama. We come, first, to these two point, the Mirador Villarco and the Turó de les tres creus. These are two gathering points that offer great views:
El Mirador - view to the west:
Las 3 cruces (Turó de les tres creus): This is the highest part of the park, from here you can see most of Barcelona. Currently there are three crosses on top of a hill of stone, named "Calvari". Two of them indicate the cardinal points (N-S-E-W), and the other pointing skyward.
From these two highest points we slope gently into the park having wonderful overview of the whole park:
We don't enter the park from its main entrance. The main entrance to Park Güell is on the south side, on Carrer d’Olot, from which visitors can enjoy the spectacular view of the stairway (see later).
The navigation in the park is easy and, in every intersection - you see signposts directing you the various attractions. we shall refer to the main highlights in Park Guell.
Gaudí's multicolored mosaic salamander, popularly known as "El Drac" (The Dragon), at the main entrance, as restored after the vandalism of February 2007. This is the famous lizard, which is normally Confused with a dragon. Probably one of the most photographed, easily identified Gaudi pieces:
The Dragon Stairway: double flight of steps from front entrance up to the columns room. The stairs lead to a hall with 86 columns under an ornate ceiling. Besides supporting the huge terrace above, this area was intended to become the market of the complex. This is the most famous part of the park, has become a symbol of Barcelona as the "Sagrada familia", and other more modern constructions (Agbar Tower ...). Above the main entrance is a grand staircase leading to the Hipóstila room divided by a number of water sources:
wall leading up the stairs:
The Greek Theatre (or the Main Terrace): Right at the centre of the monumental zone of Park Güell is the large esplanade which the original plans called the Greek Theatre and which has more recently been rechristened as Plaça de la Natura (Nature Square). Following the stairs you go through a large porch that have eighty-six columns that supports a large square. The roof is covered with brittle and white uniform, but it is not plain, is sinking between column and column. In the middle there are fourteen brittle, spread unevenly. In spaces where there is no brittle medallions. The columns are also covered with white brittle at the bottom. Bird nests built by Gaudí in the terrace walls. The walls imitate the trees planted on them. A 100-meter-long unbroken bench, adorned with colorful mosaic, skirts the platform. Its shape resembles a twisting sea serpent that has got out of the deep in order to bask in the sun. Shady lanes and observation areas revealing the greater part of the Catalan Mediterranean seashore are situated throughout the park. Park Güell, which was intended as a commercial project, ended up being a real masterpiece of the landscape art.
Another name to this attraction is Hall of Hundred Columns. In spite of its name, the hall has only 86 columns of Doric Order. Its important element is the vaulted roof, on which rosettes symbolizing seasons, solar and moon cycles are situated. Thanks to its unusual structure the hall has wonderful acoustics. Musical concerts and performances are often organized here:
Hypostyle Room (columns room) - conceived as a covered space to be used as a market for the estate:
stairs leading to the Main Terrace or Greek Theatre (Nature Theater):
Serpentine bench the wraps around 3 sides of the esplanade:
No lack of decoration – multi-colored tiles make the Main Terrace a vibrant place:
The Main Terrace walls (with the "birds' nests"):
The Austria Gardens: What we now know as the Austria Gardens was one of the zones to be used as plots in the estate. When the Park Güell was turned into a public park, however, the zone was used as a municipal plant nursery. This part of the precinct has a completely different look to the rest of the park, and it got its name through a donation of trees from Austria in 1977. Most of the viaducts (photos - see below) are located, formally, in the Austria gardens. These areas were originally meant to be divided into residential plots but was instead a plant nursery. It was officially made into a public garden in the 1960s designed by Lluis Ruidor:
There are ceramics everywhere, even on the park's walls:
The Roadways, Paths and Viaducts: Outside the monumental zone of the central part of the park, running east towards the Carretera del Carmel exit, is the Pont de Baix, bridge, the first of the viaducts of the network of paths that help overcome the topography and connect the various parts of the park. Gaudí planned three viaducts with a width of five metres, snaking their way up the mountain, to lead carriages from the main entrance on Carrer d’Olot up to the high part of the estate, the Turó de Tres Creus (Three Crosses Hill). They are known as the Pont de Baix, the Pont del Mig and the Pont de Dalt (lower, middle and high bridges), names that already appeared on the first postcards of the park. They are suspended on a structure of sloping columns and vaults made from unhewn stones taken from the site itself. On their upper parts, the balustrades are crowned by plots with vegetation.
The Museum: The house, designed by Francesc Berenguer i Mestres (Reus, 1848 - Barcelona, 1914) was built between 1904 and 1906. In 1906, Antoni Gaudí bought the house and became his residence. A few months before he died the year 1926, Gaudí left his residence To Park Guell. The Museum is the only thing that not really worth it in the park. While it gives you a deeper introspective to his works, it was still very small and honestly not worth the admission. OPENING TIMES: October-March: from 10.00 to 18.00, April-May: from 10.00 - 20.00, June-September: from 09.00 to 20.00. ADMISSION PRICES: 5.50 euros, reduced - 4.50 euros.
Same sculpture elements that adorns a portion of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia:
Gaudi often designed furniture to compliment his architectural work.
The main entrance to Park Güell and the porter's lodge pavillions: it is formed by an iron gate, and two pavilions, a warehouse, a shelter for the carriages, and a main staircase. It covers an area of 400 sqm. Currently one of the pavilions and the warehouse is business tours, gift shop (Casa del Guardia) and bar. The main entrance is in C/ OLot.
The two pavilions at the main entrance of the park:
the interior of the porter's lodge:
View from the main entrance in C/ Olot:
There are many musical gathering points around Guell Park:
You exit Park Guell from its eastern entrance in Carretera del Carmel. With your face out - turn RIGHT to a narrow road/path - C/cottolengo del padre alegre sloping down to the east. On your right a house for sick poor people (Cottolengo del Padre Alegre) and on your left a green wall. Along the asphalted path there are proverbs of Antoni Gaudi like: "Anything created by human beings is already in the great book of nature.", "Nothing is art if it does not come from nature". In the end of the descent - turn LEFT (on your right and left - tennis courts) - Riera de Can Toda. You descend in this road and cross Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Salut. On your left a Chinese restaurant Ta - Tung. Turn left onto Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Salut, 28 m. Turn right onto Carrer del Secretari Coloma, 54 m. Turn left onto Ronda del Guinardó, 200 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Sardenya. On your right is Sardenya Centre Esportiu Municipal and Holmes Place sport hall. Here, you can find (on your right) a simple, straight-forward bar/restaurant with filling lunch at 9-10 euros (Menu'-del-dia). DO NOT continue with Car. de Sardenya. Take the most left street - Ronda del Guinardo and walk along this road, on your left Parc de les Aigües (A green island that audibly and visually separates part of the homes of the Baix Guinardó district from the intense traffic from Alfons X el Savi square) and, later, crossing C/ de Padilla:
Ronda del Guinardo # 49:
Here starts a nice avenue of palm trees (on your left). You cross Carrer de los Castillejos. Continue walking 2-3 minutes and the Hospital de Sant Pau is on your right. The formal entrance is further east along the bustling street. I recommend turning right and finding a way to enter the hospital from its back. Hospital de Sant Pau is actually two distinct sites. This site can be accessed FREE without security controls if you come from the back of the hospital. Sant Pau is still a working hospital, but the original Modernista buildings at the front (west) have been converted into a museum, The more western complex of hospital buildings is already a tourist site with admission fees of 8-14 euros. The largest, and in many ways the most impressive, of the Modernist sites in Barcelona, indeed in all of Catalonia, is probably also one of the least known and visited. The appearance is stunning to see and the impressive architecture is very interesting. A visit to this hospital is a pleasant activity. Make a visit and be amazed.
Sant Pau, is the world's largest Art Nouveau site. It is a complex built between 1901 and 1930, designed by the Catalan modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. In 1401, six hospitals in the city of Barcelona merged to form the Hospital de la Santa Creu, a fine example of civilian gothic architecture. With the growth of the city and the advances in medicine in the 19th century, the centre was unable to meet the demands of the time and construction of a new building was proposed. Thanks to the legacy of Pau Gil, a banker, the first stone of the new building was laid on January 15th, 1902. "Sant Pau" was added to the old name of "la Santa Creu" to honour the wishes of its benefactor. The architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner was commissioned with the project. Over the years, the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau became the most significant public building in Catalan modernista/Modernisme. The architectural complex of Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau is an unmistakable landmark in the culture and heritage of Barcelona city in particular and in Catalonia in general. Its architectural and patrimonial value extends beyond its urban location and the site has won European and international acclaim. In 1997, together with the Palau de la Música Catalana (one of the world's leading concert halls), the Hospital was declared World Heritage by UNESCO for its singular architectural and artistic beauty. It was a fully functioning hospital until June 2009, it is currently undergoing restoration for use as a museum and cultural center. As of July 2014 there are still tours of the hospital being given several times a day (in the western part of the complex). In 2003 a new hospital building was erected to the north of the Domènech i Montaner's Modernista pavilions.
First, we take the FREE section of Sant Pau hospital and spend here 15-20 minutes taking photos of the fantastic buildings around:
The west site of Sant Pau hospital cannot be accessed free of charge. Opening time: November – March: Monday to Saturday, 10.00 to 16.30. Sundays and holidays, 10.00 to 14.30, April – October: Monday to Saturday, 10.00 to 18.30, Sundays and holidays, 10.00 to 14.30. January 1st and 6th, December 25th and 26th, closed. Guided Visits: Monday to Saturday: Catalan, 11.30 and 12.30. Spanish: 10.30 and 13.30. English: 12.00, 13.00 and 16.00. French: 11.00. Sundays and holidays: Catalan, 11.30 and 12.30. Spanish: 10.30a and 13.30. English: 10.00, 12.00 and 13.00. French: 11.00. Admission fees: Self-guided visit: 8€, Guided visit: 14€. Concession ticket: aged 16 to 29, over 65, disabled, Self-guided visit: 5.60€, Guided visit: 9.80€. A bit pricey considering that most of the buildings are not restored or, if restored, not open to visitors. 11 stunning building, 4 of which you can enter. Others are still under renovation. Allow a good hour and a half, two hours, as the details and the place are just amazing. The Sant pau is so much quieter than the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell and you can really take your time and appreciate the beauty of the hospital.
This visit begins at the Administration Pavilion, in the exhibition space, where a video, an interactive touch table and other elements introduce you to the monumental and artistic heritage and its significance, the historical evolution of the institution and its contribution to medicine. Undoubtedly, the entrance will be not indifferent to the visitor.
Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau – Entrance Hall:
Trencadís (broken tile shards) is a widely used technique in the Catalan Art Nouveau architecture, which can be found again and again in the old Sant Pau Hospital and particularly clearly in the Main Terrace in Park Güell. The tour continues with steps leading to a hallway with large windows and the Art Nouveau ceiling so beautiful and so worked, which confirm that the visit has been worthwhile:
Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau – Chapel:
In order to get to the other buildings you head down into the basement and then along part of the network of underground passageways that unite all the separate parts of the original hospital. You can’t explore all of these as the pavilions that are out in the garden are either used by different organisations or have yet to be restored. Nonetheless you do get an idea of what Domènech i Montaner was aiming for, keeping all the servicing of the hospital’s requirements underground and creating the ability to get to all the pavilions without having to pass through or disturb any of the others. Following the route indicated by this pavilion you will pass by different chambers, all with stunning Art Nouveau details. In some rooms there are monitors projecting information about the restoration of the old Hospital de Sant Pau and its transformation into the new Art Nouveau Site. Once traversed the halls of the Administration Pavilion that are truly amazing, if the official route is followed, you will go down stairs leading to the tunnels of the old hospital, through which workers moved and carried the stretchers. The route through the tunnel leads to the modernist courtyard of the site, from which you can visit the rest of the pavilions. Each of these pavilions had its particular function in the old hospital. The largest, the Administrative Pavilion, as said before, is also part of the tour. Its facade glows with mosaic murals telling the history of hospital care, and inside the building there are beautiful columns with floral capitals and a luxurious, dusty pink tiled ceiling:
Walking on through this superb setting you come to the Sant Rafael Pavilion, whose lovingly restored interiors are once again as they were conceived at the start of the twentieth century. You can also visit the Main Hall of the Administration Pavilion, the Pau Gil Room and the Lluís Domènech i Montaner Room, one of the main spaces of the building. The recommended tour finishes in the Sant Jordi Pavilion, a completely refurbished space that hosts temporary exhibitions. At the moment only eight of the buildings have been fully renovated. The initial plan, for which a budget of €100 million has been allocated, takes in 12 buildings and they are those around the central building of the garden as well as the administration building itself:
Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau – Main Stairwell:
If Art Nouveau interiors of the Sant Pau Site are awesome, the facades of the different pavilions composing the old hospital are equally astonishing. The site is still under restoration (Summer 2014) and it is easy to find fencing surrounding the areas that are not visitable. There are toilets and running water in the visiting areas:
Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau – Pau Gil i Serra:
In Part II of this blog - we continue to La Sagrada Familia and other Modernista monuments - north of Placa de Catalonia.