Author: Anna MacDonald
Did you know that Barcelona is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage sites? It comes as no surprise that seven of them were created by the city’s favourite architect, Gaudi. This post is dedicated to these nine special sites which are definitely worth a visit on your trip to Barcelona!
La Sagrada Familia
Drawing in 3 million visitors a year, La Sagrada Familia is Spain’s most visited landmark. The church which is still undergoing construction 134 years after it began, is truly breathtaking! As straight lines don’t often appear in nature, Gaudi did not want them to appear in his work. La Sagrada is no exception to this and the nature symbolism does not stop there, the interior is supported by tree like columns and there is a turtle at the base of one column and a turtle at the other, symbolising the balance between land and sea.
Casa Batlló, is another of Gaudi’s world heritage sites and was inspired by marine life, even the colours on the outer facade are based on the colours of natural coral. As you make your way through the house you can’t help but be surprised by the level of detail and intricacy throughout. The building consists of a ground floor, a main floor with a courtyard, four further self-contained floors, a loft and a roof terrace. The terrace on top of the house was styled to resemble a dragon’s back with colourful tiles representing the scales of the dragon’s body.
Crypt of the Church at the Colonia Guell
Located further from Barcelona’s centre than the other World Heritage Sites, this magnificent masterpiece lies in the Baix Llobregat region. Gaudí experimented with many architectural solutions here before building the Sagrada Familia. The crypt is located in Colònia Güell, an industrial village which was one of the most pioneering of it’s kind when it was being built! Sadly it was abandoned due to the crisis in the textile industry but it has since been renovated. This is one of Gaudi’s less well known pieces of work which is often overlooked by tourists!
Palau de La Musica Catalana
One of the two World Heritage Sites in Barcelona which weren’t created by Gaudi. This ornate concert hall was designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Although this masterpiece was originally built solely for music performances, it now caters for cultural, social and business events. This concert hall features an Art Nouveau glass skylight inside as well as ornate sculptures, beautiful stained glass windows and an amazing use of natural light. It is truly beautiful inside and out and is the only concert hall to be listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list!
This was one of Gaudi’s first commissions and was built as a family home. Tucked away in the neighbourhood of Gracia, this masterpiece looks less like a typical Gaudi piece than the other more famous Gaudi sites. This is due to its green and white tiles over deep red brick with ridged corners and straight lines, giving it a more Japanese and Indian style. There is however a giveaway sign that this is a Gaudi piece; the wrought iron dragon displayed on the gates. It only opened its doors to the public as a museum this year!
Casa Milà or La Pedrera (the stone quarry) as it is also known as has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1984. It’s one of Gaudi’s last buildings before he completely devoted himself to the construction of La Sagrada Familia. The masterpiece consists of two houses, which are connected only by the facade, the ground floor and the roof. Each has its own courtyard and entrance. Casa Milà is very distinctive and it’s lack of bright colours makes it stand out from Gaudi’s other pieces.
This World Heritage Site is definitely one of Barcelona’s most well known attractions. From here you can enjoy magnificent views of Barcelona as well as admiring the stunning stone structures, quirky buildings and colourful tiling found in the park. Gaudi was commissioned to design this park for the rich, stylish Barcelona aristocracy. The best time to visit this amazing park is in the mornings or evenings, when it’s less tourist filled than other times! It’s also definitely recommended to book in advance. Get lost in the winding paths through this wonderful nature inspired park!
Hospital de la Creu i Sant Pau
The Hospital De Sant Pau is is the other World Heritage Site on Barcelona’s list to not be designed by Gaudi. It was deisgned by Lluis Domenech i Montaner, the same architect to design the Palau De La Musica Catalana! It was built on an enormous 360 acre section of the Eixample district and was designed to be a tranquil setting of flora and organic structures, where patients could heal in a more natural environment. It is still used as a hospital to this day but is also a popular tourist attraction due to its outstanding beauty!
Located very centrally, just off Las Ramblas, this World Heritage Site was one of Gaudi’s earliest works. At the time of its construction it was one of the most luxurious buildings in Barcelona! Palau Güell reopened in 2011 after seven years of reconstruction. It was built for the Güell i López family as a functional palace which he adapted to the family’s needs in both their private life and the intense social life they led. The building contains the essence of Gaudí’s later architectural pieces and is essential to the understanding of his architecture.