Friday, May 12, 2017

Visiting Barcelona [Part 4/5]: Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and Park Ciutadella

As a new day dawned in Barcelona, it was time to hit the streets again and go make new discoveries. This day was full of leisure, though I did end up in the city from 10 in the morning when we left the hotel, to 9 in the evening when we returned. After a somewhat rainy third day we had a great Monday morning in the city. It was Labour day in Barcelona and most of the places were closed, which left us roaming and exploring the many wonderful sights on the outside.

In this fourth part of our Barcelona travel series we will visit two famous buildings (after the Sagarda Familia, which you saw in part one) from the architect Gaudi, which are Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, then our journey will take us to the city park Ciutadella.

This is only a part of a 5-part travel series to Barcelona:
Part 1: Sagrada Familia
Part 2: La Rambla, Old Town and Park Guell
Part 3: Montjuic Castle and Port Olimpic
Part 4: Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and Park Ciutadella
Part 5: Sunset on Barceloneta Beach

Casa Mila

Casa Mila is popularly known as La Pedrera or "open quarry", a reference to its unconventional rough-hewn appearance. It's located on a busy street and you can actually walk by without noticing it (even though that sounds unplausible given how strange the building is). It was the last private residence designed by architect Antoni Gaudí and was built between 1906 and 1910.

Casa Mila consists of two buildings, which are structured around two courtyards that provide light to the nine storeys: basement, ground floor, mezzanine, main (or noble) floor, four upper floors, and an attic.

The building was commissioned in 1906 by businessman Pere Milà and his wife Roser Segimon. At the time, it was controversial because of its undulating stone facade, twisting wrought iron balconies and windows designed by Josep Maria Jujol. Several structural innovations include a self-supporting stone front, columns and floors free of load-bearing walls, an underground garage and sculptural elements on the roof. In 1984, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is currently the headquarters of the Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera which manages exhibitions and other activities at Casa Mila. You can enter the building for a entry fee, which we didn't do since we had so much to see that day.

Casa Batllo

When you walk the same street where Casa Mila is located on, further south, you will come across Casa Batllo. Next to Casa Batllo are more unique looking buildings, but I'm sure one can say that Casa Batllo is the most unusual one. It is considered to be one of architect Gaudi's masterpieces.


Like everything Gaudi designed, it is only identifiable as modernist or Art Nouveau in the broadest sense. There are few straight lines, most of the building is curved, and much of the facade is decorated with a colorful mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles. The roof is arched and was likened to the back of a dragon or dinosaur. A common theory about the building is that the rounded feature to the left of center, terminating at the top in a turret and cross, represents the lance of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia, Gaudí's home), which has been plunged into the back of the dragon.





Walking around Barcelona

At this point I have to say how much we enjoyed simply walking through the city. Especially on a sunny day it's very relaxing. There is a lot of greenery, places to rest and many things to see. The city is best explored by foot, though you will rely on the metro to get you to places as well, since it's a huge city.


Arc de Triomf

Before you enter the Park Ciutadella from the north entrance you will come across the Arc de Triomf.  It was built, by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. The arch crosses over the wide central promenade of the Passeig de Lluís Companys, leading to the Ciutadella Park that now occupies the site of the world fair. It is located at the northern end of the promenade.

Park Ciutadella

For decades following its creation in the mid-19th century, this park was the city's only green space. The 70-acre (280,000 m2) grounds include the city zoo, the Parliament of Catalonia, a small lake, museums, and a large fountain designed by Josep Fontsere (with possible contributions by the young Antoni Gaudi). It's a beautiful place to explore and rest in.


The Cascada (waterfall or cascade in Spanish) is located at the northern corner of the park opposite to the lake. It was first inaugurated in 1881 without sculptures or any meticulous details, and was thereby criticized by the press, after which this triumphal arch was thoroughly amended by the addition of a fountain and some minor attributes, which required six years of construction from 1882 to 1888. It was erected by Josep Fontsere and to a small extent by Antoni Gaudi, who at that time was still an unknown student of architecture. Fontsére aimed to loosely make it bear resemblance to the Trevi Fountain of Rome.


Two enormous pincers of gigantic crabs serve as stairs to access a small podium located in the centre of the monument. In front of it a sculpture of Venus standing on an open clam was placed. The whole cascade is divided in two levels. From the podium on a path leads to the Feminine Sculpture and to the northeastern corner of the park, and upon following the route down the stairs the fountain's pond is rounded and the southern tip of the artifact is reached.



From the top of the fountain you can gaze at the most wonderful sights of the park and the city in the distance. There is a gazebo in the park where people come together to dance. Next to it you will find a small cafe where you can grab something to drink and eat. Behind the cafe there is a small walking path that leads to a pond where you can rent boats and enjoy the nature around you from a different perspective.








I hope you enjoyed the sights in this forth part of the travel series. Next up is the final part and we are going to the beach! It's going to be a sunset-filled finale.

End of Part Four
To be continued...



 

30 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos from Barcelona, Mersad! They are all so clear an chrisp.

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    1. Thanks Marit. Glad you liked them.

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  2. Ich habe ja schon davon gehört, dass Barcelona eine wundervolle Stadt sein soll. Deine Bilder und Dein Bericht belegen das eindrucksvoll. Ich war sogar schon einmal in Barcelona, leider musste ich da aber arbeiten, so dass ich von der Stadt so gut wie nichts gesehen haben. Jetzt verstehe ich erst, wie schade das ist.
    Ich wünsche Dir ein schönes Wochenende.

    Viele liebe Grüße
    Wolfgang

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    1. Dann must Du unbedingt wieder zurück, die Stadt ist fantastisch!

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  3. I love the architecture in Barcelona. Thanks for linking up and I hope you have a great weekend!

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    1. Thank you Michelle. Have a great weekend too.

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  4. Beautiful buildings, I'd love to see this interpretation of Art Nouveau in person.

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    1. I was amazed by it I have to say.

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  5. Ich genieße deine farbenfrohen Bilder!
    Wer ist die junge Dame? Die ist für mich noch neu auf den Bildern. :-)
    Liebe Grüße

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    1. Das ist Belma, eine gute Freundin. Wir waren 3 Familien zu besuch dort.

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  6. I love that rippling building, the Casa Milo. wow and wow on the architect who designed that. all of the photos are amazing to me and like nothing I have ever seen...

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the images Sandra.

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  7. My most favorite city. I would love to visit more time.

    Worth a Thousand Words

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    1. I loved Barcelona. Thank you for visiting.

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  8. That architecture is amazing.It would be an enjoyable time to walk through beauty such as that.

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    1. I have to say it's very enjoyable. Barcelona is full of beauty.

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  9. All of it is quite stunning, but the two casas are absolutely fascinating! Never have seen anything like either of them. Beautiful architecture throughout the city. :)

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    1. Yes they sure are. Thanks Rita for stopping by.

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  10. A great series, Mersad. Gaudi was unknown to me--- I thank you for the introduction!

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    1. You're welcome. He was unknown to me before the trip as well. Knew about the buildings but not about the architect.

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  11. The Casa Milo is so interesting. How does one conceive of such a building, let alone build it? It's beyond me. Casa Batllo is also amazing. Your photos are stunning.

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    1. I was amazed by it as well and was wondering the same thing... Gaudi was a genius.

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  12. Loved the series, Awesome pics.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by.

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  13. The Casas are so fascinating and different! Really wonderful architecture! Love the arch and also the monument with the Cascada. Wow! This city is truly beautiful! Great photos of sis!

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  14. I have seen photos of Barcelona from the many OFW here who are working there, but it really is different, deep, beautiful coming from your lens. I wish i can still see that famous city in the future. I will review the older posts as i've been busy with butterflies these past few days, not able to come here.

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  15. Such fantastic scenery, as usual! The architecture is phenomenal.

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  16. Fabulous stuff! One of the most beautiful cities to visit. I got an insider's tour of Casa Milo when I was there as a guest of the Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera about 20 years ago. Amazing building!

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