Barcelona: FACING THE DRAGON (1)

My first day in Barcelona! Took a long breath and glanced through the window, rushed down for breakfast, than back up to my room to take the camera and the book I bought the night before. Gaudi, here I come!

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Colorful ceramics on the ceiling

Took the bus that was going up and up… “I have really considered to go on foot all the way up to the Park Guell?! It would have taken me a day just to climb up there!”, it crossed my mind.

By the way, did you know that Antoni Gaudi loved to walk? Was just reading about him, while sitting in the bus. He took long walks because of his health condition, and that is how he discovered the spectacle of Nature, that is why his creations were later known as “organic constructions”.

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Famous undulating bench

In 1878, when Gaudi was 26, he met Euebi Guell, rich industrialist and patron, who was going to protect his projects until the end of his life.

Private urban project

Park Guell began as a private urban planning project (1900-1914) assigned to Gaudi by Guell in accordance to the style that was popular in England at the time. Never the less, only two of 62 projected parcels were sold and thus the project was not a success. Mainly because it was considered to be too far from the city center, too solitary and “up the hill”.

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Gaudi’s house turned into a museum

Still, Gaudi finished his work and now we have the legacy of one of the most popular architectural achievements. The whole area was declared as an Artistic Monument by the local government in 1962 and it later became UNESCO heritage sight.

So, only two houses were built and sold and one of them was bought by Gaudi himself.

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Always bustling with tourists

He lived here up until 1925 when he has set up an accommodation in Sagrada Familia he was working on. It is possible to go inside, it is now turned into the museum with Gaudi’s belongings and his furniture decorations.

Forms that imitate nature

It is astonishing to see how Gaudi projected pathways for pedestrians, curious arched paths with local stones, looking for the forms that imitate the surrounding nature. There is the famous wavy bench in the large plaza, supported by columns.

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Lizard-fountain at the entrance

Looking from downwards, there are beautiful ceramics’ collages decorating the ceiling between the columns, created by Gaudi’s disciple.

One of the most eye-catching aspects is that there are a lot of curving and undulating shapes, and also – dragon details. It is one of Gaudi’s preferred topics, immense dragon defeated by St George, patron saint of Catalonia with its symbolic transcendence of Good overcoming Evil. (We were just in Cappadocia, remember – the place where St George was born. Just love when details fall into place!)

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Pedestrian path in the Park

Tha famous dragon

So, there is going to be a terrace resembling a dragon’s jaw or a passage way that looks like a jaw with huge teeth, and of course, there is a lizard-dragon covered in mosaics, in vivid colors, located at the entrance, being a huge recognizable fountain.

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Fairy looking house

Though I like dragon symbolism, and even though my family celebrates St George (in Serbian Orthodox Christian tradition this celebration is called Slava and each family inherits a a particular saint to celebrate), I am not that fond of dragons and lizards.

But still, I could not resist the charm of ceramics collages and those beings represented by Gaudi! It was just another creator of nature, in all of its (Gaudi’s) creativity. Just had to get me one. So now I have one colorful lizard-magnet covered in ceramics, climbing up my iron book stand next to the desk. They say, it should always be faced upwards, for good luck and prosperity. Not sure why, but at the end of it – a little of that Gaudi’s magic is still with me, to this day!

Next: WASP NEST AND 18 SPIRES (2)

(Published in Serbian media in 2010. The article was modified or rewritten for blog purposes.)

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20 thoughts on “Barcelona: FACING THE DRAGON (1)

  1. Barcelona has so many amazing places in it. which tells alot about the history, culture and the amazing art makes you fall in love with the city more and more. you have clicked some amazing photos here it looks great from your lenses. Thanks for sharing this piece! I loved it! Cheers! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! That was fabulous. Gaudi is one of my heroes. Imagine how he must have seemed a hundred years ago, a wild-eyed lunatic making buildings that were so far from the conventional.

    Loved your photographs. What a delightful, rich, joyful day you must have had!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a landscape architect, I always admire ‘different’ design, including architecture. I love Gaudi design – it is definitely ‘out’ there and different than the rest of the pack, but that’s exactly why I think it is cool. Thank you for sharing your post with beautiful photos – I will be back to Barcelona someday and experience more of this beautiful city!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have been to Barcelona a few years ago and I actually did climb the hill, all the way down from Sagrada Familia to Parc Guell. And guess what? The next available tickets were for 5 hours later. So unfortunately I just walked around and tried to peak inside to see Gaudi’s artwork. Due to my limited time in Barcelona I didn’t have a chance to return but that’s a reason to go to back to Barcelona one day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am a huge fan of Antoni Gaudi’s work! During my visit to Barcelona last year, I managed to visit many of his famous works and Parc Guell was one of them. It is incredible how he sought inspiration from nature and designed the park. A true genius architect!

    Liked by 1 person

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