History of Park Guell | Housing for Aristocrats to World Heritage Site

Barcelona is a city suited to all kinds of tourists, whether you are a history buff, a food aficionado, or a beach bum. There is a lot to do in Barcelona and exploring the many gorgeous buildings in the city, and especially the ones crafted by Gaudi is definitely one of them.

Park Guell is one of Barcelona's most-visited attractions, featuring some unique creations of Gaudi and lush gardens. This page delves into the history of this celebrated landmark.

What is Park Guell?

Park Guell History

Located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona’s Gracia district, Park Guell is one of the most popular attractions in Barcelona. Originally conceived as a private residential area for affluent Catalan families, Park Güell is the work of world-renowned architect Antoni Gaudíwho let his imagination go wild on the gardens and architectural elements of this park. His use of natural forms shaped into covered walkways, galleries, and archways beautifully camouflage the artificial structures into the surrounding Mediterranean hillside. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Park Güell is now one of the most enchanting gardens of the world and captivates thousands of tourists every day.

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Origins of Park Guell

Park Guell History

In the 1900s Barcelona's upper class began growing exponentially, while the rest of Spain was struggling economically. The economic crisis created room for the growth of Catalan nationalism, which was focused on the revival of Catalan traditions and national culture. Catalan artists and architects, thus, began being favored. It is this sentiment that allowed for Modernisme to develop in Catalan.

Buildings in this new modernist style came to be seen as not only a sign of patriotism but also of prestige. Aristocrats began to patron artistes of the Modernisme. Eusebi Guell's and Antoni Gaudi's relationship began when Güell saw a window display that Gaudí had planned for glove retailer at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878. That same year, Güell commissioned him to make the furniture for the pantheon chapel at the Palacio de Sobrellano in Comillas. Their association grew stronger and finally, in 1900, Guell gave Gaudí the assignment of designing Park Güell. 

Architects of Modernisme

Park Guell History

Antoni Gaudí

Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, Sagrada Familia, Casa Battlo and Park Guell are some of his most important works.

Park Guell History

Lluis Domènech i Montaner

His works, Hospital de Sant Pau and Palau de la Música Catalana were collectively declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Park Guell History

Josep Puig i Cadafalch

One of his most well-known buildings is his rebuilding of the Casa Amatller in Passeig de Gràcia.

History of Park Guell

Park Guell History, Origin of Park Guell

Origin of Park Guell

In 1883, Joan Martorell, a professor of Gaudí, introduced him to Eusebi Güell, who ended up being his patron. Guell wished to build a housing project for aristocrats of Barcelona on a large estate called Bare Mountain. He was inspired by the British residential parks, which is what inspired the property its name, "Park Guel".

The estate was located on a rocky hill with little vegetation and few trees. A large country house called Larrard House already existed on the site.

The plan for the development included 60 triangular plots that would be used for luxury houses, with a network of roads, viaducts, and stairs that did not compromise the topography of the land. It was also important that the houses would not disrupt the view of the sea or the flow of sunlight into the homes. These conditions were quite restrictive. However, they ensured that not only the existing vegetation was protected, but also introduced new species.

Gaudi and Guell
Park Guell History, Construction of Park Guell

Construction of Park Güell

The construction of Park Guell began in October 1900 with the leveling of the land. By 1903, the two pavilions at the entrance, the main staircase, the waiting area, the exterior fence, viaducts, and part of the esplanade, as well as the drainage system, were completed.

In 1902, Martí Trias i Domènech bought the first plot of land in the park. He commissioned the architect Juli Batllevell to build his villa. Around the same time, Josep Pardo i Casanovas built a show house in the hopes that it would boost sales. The house was designed by Gaudí's collaborator, Francesc Berenguer.

In 1906, Gaudí, at Güell's suggestion, moved into the park. He lived here, with his family and father, until his death in 1926. Interestingly, the house he lived in was not built by him, but by Francesc Berenguer. The following year, Guell himself moved to the development, into the Casa Larrard. By this time, Hypostyle Hall was completely covered and events began being held in the main square. The tiled bench that surrounds it was completed in 1914.

Park Guell Facts
Park Guell History

Housing Development to Public Park

The housing project failed for many reasons. The plots were to be sold using old emphyteutic contracts. The rather exclusive nature of the project as well the lack of adequate transport to the site, also made the project undesirable for prospective buyers. The project was abandoned in 1914 and by this point, only two of the 60 planned houses had been built.

It went from being a housing project to being a private garden. Guell used to allow events to be held here. In 1918, Guell died. His descendants offered the park to the City Council. The Council opened the park as a municipal park in 1926. The house of the Güell family was set up as a public school, and the area to the left of the entrance was used as a nursery. Gaudi's house opened to the public as the Gaudi House Museum in 1963.

It was recognized as an artistic monument in 1969. The glory of the park finally culminated in 1984 when it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.

All Your Questions About Park Guell in Barcelona Answered

Q. When was Park Guell built?

A. Park Guell was built between 1900-1914.

Q. Who built Park Guell?

A. Park Guell was designed by Antoni Gaudi, who had been commissioned by Eusebi Güell.

Q. Where is Park Guell located?

A. Park Guell is located on Carmel Hill in Catalonia. Its address is 08024 Barcelona, Spain.

Q. Are Park Guell tickets available online?

A. Yes Park Guell tickets are available online. You can buy them here.

Q. What is Park Guell famous for?

A. Park Güell is a huge public park that features beautiful architectural elements designed by Antoni Gaudí. These architectural elements blend seamlessly with nature, making it a great place for relaxation just as much as it is a place to explore.

Q. Who lived in Park Guell?

A. In 1906, Gaudi moved to Park Guell with his samily and the following year, Guell moved into the Larrard House in the park. Both men lived here until their deaths in 1926 and 1918, respectively.

Q. Why was the housing development called Park Guell?

A. The project had been inspired by the British residential parks. Park Guell is a reference to this inspiration, as well as to Guell, the vision behind Park Guell.

Q. Why did the Park Guell housing project not pan out?

A. The housing project was abandoned as there were no buyers because of the use of old emphyteutic, the exclusive nature of the project as well the lack of adequate transport.

Q. When did Park Guell become a municipal garden?

A. Park Guell opened to the public as a municipal garden in 1926.

Q. When was Park Guell declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

A. UNESCO declared Park Guell as a Heritage Site in 1984, as part of 'Works of Gaudi', a series of seven attractions created by Gaudi.

Park Guell Tickets

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Sagrada Familia and Park Güell Combo Tickets

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