When talking of the Catalonian capital Barcelona (Barca); it is impossible not to mention Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi and Barcelona are inseparable.
Antoni Gaudi was a very famous Spanish Architect of the Catalonia region. His works are known for his unique style. When thinking of Gaudi the keywords that come to mind are-beautiful, unique, colourful, mosaic, tainted glass, imitation of nature in his work, concept, story. I am no architect or a person having knowledge in this field. But even for a person like me- it was possible to gauge the concept behind some of Gaudi’s works. The concept for each of Gaudi’s creations is a story in itself which guides you through all his works.
In my recent trip to Barcelona I had the opportunity of seeing the following of Gaudi’s creations:
1. La Sagrada Familia
2. Casa Batllo
3. Park Guell
There are other eminent works of Gaudi across Barcelona ,but I could talk about only these works as I did not see others during my visit.
LA SAGRADA FAMILIA
It means the Holy Family. It is a Catholic Basilica in Barcelona. If I were to describe it in one word, it would be’ breathtaking”. The construction of La Sagrada Familia initially started in the year 1882 and is still in progress . From the beginning, progress was slow and was further slowed down due to the spanish civil war. Gaudi was not the initial architect for Sagrada Familia. After changing hands several times he got the opportunity to be the architect in the year 1885.
La Sagrada Familia shows the perfect relation between, god, nature and human beings. The design of the whole church is based on the pillars which depict the trunks of the trees. The roof of the basilica is depicted as branches spreading out from the tree . The view inside the basilica is magnificent. The story of Jesus Christ is depicted beautifully in the basilica. The basilica will take you right from the nativity till the crucification of Jesus (Passion of Christ). There are also beautiful statues of the holy family and the four arc angels. The beautiful class tainted windows, the roof, the main altar, the fine intricate details will render you speechless. One special thing about the place is its serenity. Even during busy tourist season, with herds of tourists inside the basilica one can feel such peace and calmness. Seeing the Sagrada Familia gives a very holistic and a satisfying feeling.
The main Altar
The interior- with pillars depicting tree trunks branching at the top
Facade depicting crucification
Glory Door- with Lord’s prayer in 51 Languages
There are two very important lessons that we can learn from the Basilica
1. Work (the task at hand) is more important that the individual person and for any amount of greatness collaboration and teamwork is required.
The construction of the Sagrada familia could not be completed during the lifetime of Gaudi because of several reasons. But Gaudi, or no Gaudi, the construction is still in progress.
2. Do your best, be exceptional and your work will speak out for you
A lot of work done by Gaudi on the Sagrada Familia was destroyed during the Civil war. But in Gaudi’s honour all the future architects have followed Gaudi’s design and the ongoing construction is as per Gaudi’s. As an ultimate honour to Gaudi, the Spanish government wants to complete the construction of the basilica by the year 2026- the centenary year of Gaudi’s Death.
Some important points:
1. It’s preferable to take an Audio guide for the Sagrada Familia. It tells the whole story line and concept behind the construction. It is not possible to properly appreciate the beauty without someone telling you the details about the basilica.
2. Some portions of the basilica are not included in the normal tickets. To access those areas you will have to buy a special ticket.
It is a marvel in itself. One will just wonder that how can anybody take a piece of land and convert it into something so beautiful. Park Guell is a perfect blend of nature and architecture. It has a very amazing appeal to one’s aesthetics. It is the outcome of Gaudi’s friendship and collaboration with Eusebi Guell. It was originally started as an estate for the privileged families but due to non viability the project was halted in midway. Later the whole area was handed over by the Guell family to the City Council of Barcelona, which later opened it as a public park.
There are nine points of interest in Park Guell. The structure that Gaudi had built in the park beautify the place further. They even make the nature look more beautiful. Overlooking the sea there are a few view points in the park which provide beautiful vies of the city.
Some important points:
1. Park Guell is around a four-hour visit if you want to enjoy it at leisure.
2. Put on your walking shoes because you will be required to walk a lot inside the park.
3. Although there are a lot of restaurants and cafes outside the park but there are none inside.
4. It’s a perfect place to be on a sunny day
Both- La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell are declared as world heritage sights by UNESCO.
Casa Batllo is also one amongst the mater creations of Gaudi. It was a residential house build in the city centre which was purchased by the Batllo family. Now it is open to public. Casa Batllo is another modern designs of Gaudi. The rooms inside the house have no corners. The rooms are designed in a way to represent the ripples of water and windows representing the fins os fish. The fireplace inside the house is shaped like a mushroom. Every single window of the house is beautiful and colourful. At many places inside the house there are many visual effects. One of the other major attractions of the house is the roof. From the outside it is shaped like the back of a dragon. The exterior of te house is very colourful. The balconies are designed to appear like skulls with open mouths. It feels as if a very colourful house from the fantasy world has come to reality.
Beautiful coloured tiled work in the garden of the house
The famous central room depicting waves with windows like fish’s fins
Rooftop shaped like a dragon’s back
Some important points:
1. In order to understand the concept of the building and fully appreciate the wonderful techniques used by Gaudi – Audio Guide is a must.
2. The entry ticket may seem too costly, but it is worth the visit.
3. It’s better to go on a sunny day. The colourful exterior of the house looks more vibrant in the sunlight.
After seeing the creations of Gaudi, I was in awe of this great architect. His every single work is unique. No construction of his is abstract. There is a concept in everything. Gaudi’s interest in nature and religion is clearly reflected in all his works.
His work provides a special character to Barcelona and further enhances the charm of this beautiful city.