The urbanization works of Park Güell began in October 1900. Eusebi Güell, one of the most influential men in Barcelona at the time, commissioned Antoni Gaudi to design a garden city like those he had seen in United Kingdom. They were the utopias of the moment.
Thus, Gaudi’s and Güell’s intention was to create a world in harmony, in tune with nature. The 17-hectare park was to be divided into 60 plots, but according to Gaudi’s project, about 80 of them came out, all of them with a garden of more than 1,300 square meters.
Respect for nature in 1900
One of the conditions demanded was the respect for existing nature. In the Montaña Pelada, there were many carob trees and olive trees. Therefore, if the owners of the houses decided to uproot or cut down a tree, they would have to pay a fine of 50 pesetas. In those days, this amount was the equivalent of about two weeks of a worker’s salary.
The houses could not cover the sea views of the neighboring houses and although each family could choose the architect they wanted to build them, Mr Güell had to supervise the plans of all of them, so that they would adapt to the global project.
From dream to failure
Unfortunately for Mr. Güell, the park project was not successful: of the plots that Gaudi had planned, only one was sold to the Trias family.
The reason for this failure has often been sought. But in reality, there are many reasons why the project did not succeed. But thanks to this failure, today we can all visit Park Güell and take a walk. It the project succeeded, it would probably remain a private, a restricted area.
Actually, Güell and Gaudi wanted Park Güell to be inaccessible to the public. A kind of closed island separated from the city. Therefore, although it was far from the center of Barcelona, they wanted to keep it inacessible to electric trams.
Among current visitors, perhaps the most striking feature inside Park Güell are the symbols depicted: animalss and mythical signs, such as the houses at the entrance that recall the house of fairy tales; the red and white colors that make us think of the Phoenician navy that must take us to Utopia, where it can only be reached sailing; the three crosses of Calvary at the top of the bill or the famous salamander, which also appears in the coat of arms of Nîmes, where Güell lived for a season, are some examples of all the symbolism we find there.
Do you want to know more about the Park Güell?
If you want to know much more about Park Güell, we suggest our visit on bourgeois modernism. If you want to know other works by Gaudí, take a look at the options you have between our visits to Barcelona. And if you have already visited Barcelona on other occasions and want to visit other Gaudí buildings such as the Palau Güell, la Pedrera, Casa Batlló, Casa Vicens or Colonia Güell, contact us and we will prepare a tailor-made itinerary for you.