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The Placa de Catalunya is a very popular tourist attraction because of the amazing and unique architecture.  This is a large town square and is considered as the center of Barcelona.

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Barcelona / So Who was Gaudi Anyway?

When you start planning your trip to Barcelona, and figuring out which sites and attractions you'll visit, you'll come up with the name Gaudi time and time again. So who was Gaudi and what's his connection with Barcelona?

Antoni Gaudi i Cornet was born in 1852 in Riudoms or Reus, Catalonia to a simple family, he was one of 5 children. He went on to study architecture in Barcelona in 1868 at the Convent del Carne. His education was put on hold when he was called up for military service between 1875 and 1878. He suffered from poor health and rheumatism and became a vegetarian, he also undertook regular fasts which were sometimes harmful. He went on to study architecture at Llotja School and the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture. Gaudi was not short of work and soon earned himself commissions to design a variety of projects. It was in 1883 that he began working on his magnum opus the Sagrada Familia.

As an artist he was interested in a wide range of medium, he studied ceramics, metal work, carpentry, stained glass. Gaudi began creating neo-Gothic art, he used some oriental techniques and finally identified with the Catalan modernista movement. He also developed his own style using geometric masses, animated surfaces and fantastical forms. Gaudi developed the trencadis mosaic technique typical of Catalan modernism where the mosaic is created using broken ceramics. As seen at Parc Guell he would cover three dimensional sculptures with brightly colored and irregularly shaped pieces of discarded broken ceramics. His work is typically organic and inspired by nature and also gave his own twist on classic historic art styles.

By 1902 he had developed a structure called "equilibrated" meaning it stood on its own without internal reinforcement. This can best be seen in Barcelona at Casa Batllo and Casa Mila. His work on the Sagrada Familia took up most of his time after 1910 and he even began living on site. At his death in 1929 the church was still unfinished. You'll notice many of Gaudi's works in Barcelona bear the name Guell, Eusebi Guell was Gaudi's friend and sponsor, a wealthy industrialist who commissioned many projects by the artist.

Gaudi in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia  - Perhaps Barcelona's most recognizable edifice soaring 170 meters  above Calle Mallorca the building is truly a work of art. The structure employs elements from the Gothic and Art Nouveau styles as well as Gaudi's own unique architectural methods. It is a UNESCO site and completion is planned for 2026.

Park Guell – This is a large park complex in the Gracia district and home to several architectural features created by Gaudi. Construction took place from 1900 to 1914. Some of the features include the Dragon Fountain; organic looking columns supporting a walk way and an elevated terrace. Within the park is a former home of Gaudi that now houses a museum of furniture designed by the artist.

Casa Milo (La Pedrero) – On Passeig de Gracia this apartment building has balconies which undulate and flow like liquid across the façade although they are made of concrete. On the roof are chimneys and sculptures.

Casa Vicens – One of Gaudi's early projects (1883-1889) this UNESCO property is privately owned and located on Carrer de les Carolines. The yellow tiles were designed by Gaudi and produced in Vicens. The building has an asymmetrical design and distinctive gables and buttresses.

Casa Batllo – Gaudi renovated the interior and exterior of this house at 43 Passieg de Gracia. The tall colorful building with mask-looking balconies at each window and bone shaped columns even has a tower.

Palau Guell – On Carrer Nou de la Rambla this mansion has large ironwork gates and a basement big enough to house animals which would enter down a ramp into the basement stable. Upstairs the walls and ceilings have intricate decoration and small hidden windows overlooking the entrance.

Placa Reial (Plaza Real) – Just off Las Ramblas this square holds lampposts designed by Gaudi.

Guell Pavilions – Located in the Pedralbes neighborhood this group of buildings consists of a stable with a vaulted ceiling, a longeing ring topped off with a dome and ornate lantern and the gatehouse which is a group of three smaller buildings. All are decorated in typical Gaudi fashion.

Casa Calvet – In the Eixample district on Carrer de Casp this property is Gaudi's most conventional work in Barcelona, it has more symmetry than his other works.

There are other less visited Barcelona architectural masterpieces by Gaudi such as Finca Guell, portal of Finca Miralles, Bellesguard, Colegio Teresiano and Crypta Colonia Guell which is 15km from the city.

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