A Walk In The Park: Why You Should Visit Park Güell
(Image courtesy of The Walt Disney Company. The image is from the 2006 film The Cheetah Girls 2,directed by Kenny Oretga and written by Jodiss Pierre and Bethesda Brown. In this image, The Cheetah Girls (Galleria (Raven- Symoné) Channel Simmons (Adriennartist's), Dorina Thomas (Sabrina Bryan), and Aquanette Walker (Kiely Willaims) singing Strutt with Angel (Peter Vives) at Park Güell. The image was found https://twitter.com/mrwackoh/status/1254543366777376776)
In 2006, The Cheetah Girls introduced my generation Barcelona's beauty. The film highlighted Park Güell'Gaudí'svistas and colorful architecture as The Cheetah Girls strutted through the city's landmarks. Seventeen years later, I am still fascinated by Barcelona. If a city's architecture represents its ethos, Barcelona is the epicenter of creativity and imagination. I had the chance to speak with Park Güell's visitor center to learn more about why you should visit this UNESCO world heritage site.
(Image credit: Jorg Greuel. The image was found on https://www.cntraveler.com/activities/barcelona/park-guell)
1. Why should someone visit Park Güell?
Park Güell is an emblematic space in the city of Barcelona. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984, the work of the renowned modernist architect Antoni Gaudí is one of the prominent examples of the Catalan artist's work.
(The image depicts Antoni Gaudi in 1878. The image is the public domain.)
In short, a monumental site where architecture and nature merge to create an environment dotted with colors, shapes, and elements such as the salamander, the trencadís bench, and the hypostyle hall.
(© Sylvain Sonnet/Corbis. The image can be found on https://media.cntraveler.com/photos/53e2f2c3dddaa35c30f66169/master/w_2580%2Cc_limit/parc-guell-barcelona.jpg)
An important place to learn about the city's history, modernism, and the creative capacity of Gaudí's genius.
(© Getty Images / iStockphoto. The image was found on https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/barcelona/gracia-and-park-guell/attractions/park-gueell/a/poi-sig/374905/1320687)
2. How did Park Güell come to be?
Eusebi Güell gave Gaudí the assignment of drawing up plans for developing an estate for well-off families on a large property he had acquired in the zone known popularly as the Muntanya Pelada (bare mountain). Its location was unbeatable, in a healthy setting and splendid views over the sea and the Plain of Barcelona. Güell wanted to recreate the British residential parks, which is why he named it Park Güell in English.
October 1900 saw the start of work on dividing the site into levels, with building wBarcelona'sing quickly. The first person to buy a plot in the Park in 1902 was a friend of Güell, lawyer Martí Trias I Domènech. At the same time, the works contractor, Josep Pardo I Casanovas, Gaudí's show house designed by Gaudí’s assistant Francesc Berenguer to encourage sales. Gaudí himself moved there in 1906 to live with his father and niece. In 1907, Eusebi Güell converted the old mansion (Casa Larrard) into his usual residence.
The complex conditions for selling the plots under old emphyteutic lease contracts, the lack of a suitable transport system, and the highly exclusive character of the development all made it unviable. A lack of buyers led to the works being abandoned in 1914, with only two of the sixty houses envisaged having been built. The park thus became a large private garden, which Güell allowed to be used for public events, while it began to appear in tourist guides to Barcelona as one of the city's attractions.
Eusebi Güell died at his house in 1918, and his heirs offered the park to the City Council, which agreed to purchase it, at its municipal plenary meeting on 26 May 1922. It was opened as a municipal park in 1926. The municipality converted the Güell family house into a school named after the Catalan pedagogue Baldiri Reixac. At the same time, the zone to the left of the entrance was turned into a nursery of ornamental flowers for the City Council.
Park Güell thus became a public park much appreciated by Barcelona’s inhabitants, as well as a significant focus of attraction for visitors.
( © Archer All Square / Shutterstock. The image was found https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/barcelona/gracia-and-park-guell/attractions/park-gueell/a/poi-sig/374905/1320687)
3. How does Park Güell honor its past but embrace innovation?
At Park Güell, we believe that the best way to honor Gaudí's legacy is to protect, divulge and promote his work.
For this reason, we control the capacity in the most sensitive areas, carry out continuous restoration work, and, with the return of the entrance fees, finance improvements to facilities both inside the park and in the surrounding neighborhoods, as combining tourist use with the daily use of the space by the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods is also a priority factor in the management of the park.
We also have an educational program that aims to disseminate our heritage among the schoolchildren who visit us through specialized guided tours, activities, and other collaborations.
( © Lena Serditova / Shutterstock. The image was found https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/barcelona/gracia-and-park-guell/attractions/park-gueell/a/poi-sig/374905/1320687)
4. What is the future of the park?
The future of the park necessarily involves deepening the already underway measures and others that reinforce the values, objectives, and motivations mentioned above.
The protection of the heritage and its dissemination, the ability to combine tourist uses with neighborhood uses and bringing the space closer to the citizens. At the same time, it becomes a benchmark in terms of quality visits would be the objectives that we at the park propose to develop, improve and establish as guidelines for the future.
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)