Monday, November 7, 2011

BARCELONA - MODERNISM OF GAUDI: PALAU GÜELL

After having spoken about El Raval in a previous post, today I would like to give you more information about a beautiful modernist building you could see in that post: El Palau Güell. 

Barcelona’s Palau Güell was designed by the young Antoni Gaudí and is a wonderful blend of  the architect’s unique exuberant style. The palace, located in El Raval next to La Rambla, was the private residence of Gaudí’s patron, Count Güell.

The wealthy industrialist, landowner and politician Eusebi Güell was Antoni Gaudí’s main patron. In 1885, when the architect was still unknown, Count Güell commissioned him to design his private residence, which would become Barcelona’s Palau Güell in 1890.

Gaudí was aware that Güell wanted to show off his wealth to his friends and acquaintances and he created an unusual, bold architectural project. He made innovative use of traditional building techniques, as well a wide variety of materials, with particular emphasis on more expensive ones such as marble. 



Parabolic arches in El Palau Güell
In Palau Güell, Gaudí combined the typical square structure of Catalan medieval palazzos and exquisite wooden coffered ceilings with innovations such as the parabolic arch, which became a hallmark of his work


Phoenix and parabolic arch
Detail of the parabolic arch, where it can be distinguished the G from Güell


Phoenix rising from the ashes
Phoenix rising from the ashes, the symbol of the Catalan Renaissance



Palau Güell
Antoni Gaudí didn’t just create a palazzo in Barcelona, he created a metaphor too, as the building rises up, like Güell, from poor beginnings, represented by the austerity of the basement and ground floor, to wealth, as embodied by the riot of colour on the roof


Palau Güell
The ground floor, with its simple grey marble, contrasts magically with the interplay of colours and forms of the 20 sculptural chimneys on the roof, which are covered in broken pieces of ceramic tile, marble and stained glass and are the iconic symbols of the Palau Güell

The stables of El Palau Güell
The stables of El Palau Güell, characterised by pillars with mushrooms-shaped capitals

Staircase inside El Palau Güell
This staircase leads to the mezzanine, a floor used to manage the business affaires of the Güell family. At the end, a stained glass window designed by Gaudí

Parabolic archs
Parabolic archs in the first floor of the Palau Güell

Ceiling of the central hall in the Palau Güell
The ceiling of the central hall in the Palau Güell

Wooden ceiling of El Palau Güell
 A highly decorated wooden ceiling of the first floor


Chimneys on the roof of the Palau Güell
One of the sculptural chimneys on the roof of the Palau Güell


Next I give you some useful Information in case you want to visit El Palau Güell:


- Address: Nou de la Rambla, 3
- Phone: 934 725 775
- How to get there: Metro L3, stop Liceu. Bus 14, 59, 91 and 120.
- Web site: www.palauguell.cat
- Opening time:
  • From October to March: from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 5.30pm.
  • From April to September: from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 8pm.

- Free entrance the first Sunday of every month, April 23 and May 18.


Other modernist masterpieces designed by Antoni Gaudí are:


Besides, other modernist buildings you can visit in Barcelona are:


Finally, clicking on the next link you will find more links to other beautiful places in Barcelona.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

BARCELONA: CALL JUEU OR JEWISH QUARTER

The medieval jewish quarter of Barcelona was limited by the current streets of Sant Honorat, El Carrer de la Palla, El Carrer del Call and Banys Nous street in the heart of the Barcelona Gothic Quarter. La Plaça de Sant Felip Neri and La Plaça Sant Jaume are the two natural entrances of the jewish quarter of Barcelona.

I really like walking along the narrow streets of El Call Jueu not only because it still retains its medieval essence but also because of the peace and quiet I can breathe in these streets.

Next you can see some pictures I took during one of my walks through the jewish quarter:


Marlet street in Barcelona
This junction between the streets Marlet and Sant Domènec del Call is, in my opinion, the essence and the heart of the medieval jewish quarter of Barcelona

Synagogue in Barcelona
This medieval synagogue in Barcelona was located beside the previous crossing in Marlet street

Sant Domènec del Call in Barcelona
Sant Domènec del Call, one of the most typical streets of the jewish quarter of Barcelona

Baixada de Santa Eulàlia in Barcelona
La Baixada de Santa Eulàlia, another street of El Call Jueu of Barcelona, located near Sant Felip Neri square. On the left you can see a small chapel


La Volta del Remei inside the jewish quarter of Barcelona
La Volta del Remei street inside the jewish quarter of Barcelona

El Call Jueu of Barcelona
Some of the streets you have seen in the previous pictures appear in this map of El Call Jueu (or jewish quarter) of Barcelona

Caj Chai Tea House inside the Jewish Quarter
Finally, you can enjoy a delicious tea inside the Caj Chai Tea House, located in La Placeta de Manuel Ribé, in the heart of the Barcelona Jewish Quarter (the yellow door you can see in this picture)


In the old city of Barcelona you can also visit other beautiful places:



Maybe, in the jewish quarter, there aren't as many beautiful buildings as in the gothic quarter, but its narrow and quiet streets are worthy of a visit.

You can also breathe the medieval essence walking along two other well preserved jewish quarters in Catalunya: El Call Jueu de Girona and El Call Jueu de Besalú. By the way, Besalú is a charming village and Girona is a beautiful city to visit.

Finally, clicking on the next link you will find more beautiful places in Barcelona.