Antoni Gaudi’s Mosaic Realm: Park Guell

Park Guell, perched on Carmel Hill of Gracia district, is Antoni Gaudi’s mosaic realm — a creation of fairy tales and wildest dreams. We explored, admired and fantasized in the artistic park. From real-life gingerbread houses to a maze of colonnade, we appreciated Gaudi’s modernisme (Catalan modernism) work.

Construction began in 1900 for Park Guell, but it didn’t open as a public park until 1926. Now, it attracts people from all over. We thought by going during low-season, and on a weekday, we would avoid the crowd. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. With the masses of iPhones, tablets, and selfie-sticks shoved in our face, it couldn’t have been worse. I couldn’t imagine how bad it gets during high-season!

The Ramp
Our exploration began at the Ramp, a spiral ramp with helicoidal columns that connects an upper and lower balcony together. The stone structure that aligned together reminded us of dinosaur scales. Some of the columns looked like spikes of a dinosaur’s tail.

Nature Square
Pass the ramp and on top of the Nature Square is a wide-open area used for open-air shows. Characterized by undulating benches and pieced with mosaic tiles, the view of the city spoke out to me. In the sunlight, the crescendo of colors bled out into the calming blue coast and put me at ease.

Hypostyle Room
The room beneath the square was a delightful amble. It felt like a maze where mosaic-dome ceilings in wave-like forms called for my attention. Part of me felt like playing hide-and-seek behind the maze of colonnades, but the other part of me wished to be closer to the ceiling so I could touch the ceiling’s mosaic skin.

Monumental Flight of Steps
The entrance to the Hypostyle Room is, unfortunately, a flight of steps packed with too many tourists trying to get their picture taken with the famous mosaic lizard. I did the best I could to capture my version of the reptile on camera without any photobombers.

Entrance and Porter’s Lodge
You may notice our tour was a bit backward. But with many entrances to Park Guell, we entered from St. Josep de la Muntanya. The park’s main entrance through iron gates, flanked by two pavilions that form the porter’s lodge, reminded us of fairytale land. The pavilions looked like real life gingerbread houses. The light brown stones looked like gingerbread, the mosaic touches on the rooftop resembled white icing, and the details accentuated like gumdrops and candies.

Gaudi House Museum
This romantic pink fairytale-like house is one of Gaudi’s several houses in Barcelona. This is separate from the ticket purchased for Park Guell. To view the house, you must purchase a separate ticket for a guided tour. We admired the house as we strolled through the Austria Gardens.

Mosaic Tiles
We had an appreciation of the mosaic tiles present at Park Guell. Here is just a small sample from the visit.

Park Guell is not to be missed. Although we missed it on our first trip to Barcelona, we made up for it this time. If you can visit, do so during low-season and on a weekday if possible. Even though we did this, the place packs in a lot of tourists, which makes me think high-season is pretty bad. We did not enjoy the crowd, but Park Guell’s allure proved its worth.

If you’ve visited Park Guell before, how was the experience for you?

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