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Glorious Gaudi, in Barcelona
Appreciating the best of Gaudi's architecture in Barcelona
I was hardly aware of Antoni Gaudi before my first trip to Barcelona. But when I started reading up on the city, I quickly realized that no trip was even close to being complete without visiting at least a few of his architectural marvels. His architecture, or at least the influence of his architectural style, is everywhere in this Spanish city—in the buildings, the souvenirs, and the fashion.
Here’s a list of must-see Gaudi buildings in Barcelona; a beginner’s glimpse into his awesome other-worldliness.
La Sagrada Familia
From street level, I was impressed (despite all the scaffolding) by Spain’s most-visited tourist attraction, a church known as La Sagrada Familia. Combining Gothic and Art Nouveau styles, the cathedral’s 560-foot-tall spires ascend overhead. Elaborate facades depict the life of Christ.
Once I entered this Roman Catholic church, I was astounded by the sheer beauty and size of the Basilica—largely considered one of Gaudi’s most famous works. The vaults reach as high as 250 feet each, and the stained glass windows add color and light.
Expected to be finished in 2026 (the centennial of Gaudi’s death), this masterpiece already has been 130 years in the making. When complete, it will hold 13,000 people.
Viewfinder Tip: It’s difficult to photograph entire buildings well; instead, look to capture small, manageable features.
Also known as Casa Mila (for the family who commissioned it), this Modernist building is actually two structures that come together around separate courtyards. Meant as a mixed-use building, the structure was erected as living space for the owners and their servants. Now, however, it mainly holds office space and serves as a tourist attraction.
The building is recognizable as a Gaudi by its wave-like stone exterior. But the most interesting part might be the apartment on the fourth floor, recreated and decorated as a typical bourgeois home from the first part of the 20th Century. Today the apartment features odd-sized, angled, and curved rooms. Oh, how I would love to live there!
This building was a remodel of a previously built house, and is nestled between two newer buildings. It’s easy to pass if you’re not looking for it (I actually walked by it a half-dozen times before realizing its significance).
Like La Pedrera across the street, Gaudi created the facade of Casa Batllo with billowy curves. He also inset the exterior with broken mosaic tiles. The building truly is magical.
You’ll think you’ve entered a fantasy land when you visit this public park that originally was developed as a gated playground for the rich. It now stands as a much-loved (and visited) park and garden for all.
There are a number of ways to experience this gorgeous spot. Meander the grounds and marvel at all of the Gaudi eye candy. If you prefer, take a seat at one of the many undulating benches encrusted with colorful shards and simply take it all in.
Wherever you go in Barcelona, Gaudi is a part of the experience. Learning to appreciate the architect only will make your visit more memorable.
From which types of architecture do you draw inspiration while traveling?
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