An Excellent Fail: Parc Güell

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Defies description? Perhaps. But I’ll try.

 

Parc Güell is an oasis of green above the city of Barcelona. It is also the most unusual municipal park I’ve ever roamed.

 

Antoni Gaudi’s whimsical touch transformed this rocky hill (originally “Bare Mountain”) into a blending of art, architecture and gardens. A place to both wander and wonder. A space filled with artistic revelations and superb surprises.

Intended to be a commercial housing development back when it was conceived in the early 1900’s, the project failed for lack of buyers.

But it was ultimately a splendid success. The property was converted into a city park filled with Gaudi’s nature-inspired architecture and art. Exploring Parc Güell was like walking into a fantasy world of twisting, melted and yet ordered geography. Part of it reminded me of the worlds I’d imagined as a girl in the far-off mountains and cliffs beyond my back seat car window. Only now they were real.

 

Forests of columns formed tunnels or provided support for overhead bridges. Gaps became windows that previewed the next discovery. Overall, it was about the unexpected around each corner. About following trails and tunnels that could lead anywhere. About anticipation. And beauty. And finding footing for imaginings that were no longer merely imaginary.

Artistic merit often lies in eluding the obvious. Gaudi defied it.

Antoni Gaudi’s fanciful works including the massive Sagrada Familia (begun in 1882 and with estimated completion to be around 2026) are scattered throughout Barcelona.  

 



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