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  • Writer's pictureSpain Walking Tours

Palau Güell, Gaudi's understated masterpiece.

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

A decorative outdoor crest at Palau Güell, designed by Antoni Gaudi
Wrought Iron decoration at Palau Güell

As you approach the Palau Güell, it's hard not to be struck by its bold beauty and magnificence. This masterpiece is a shining example of Antoni Gaudi's architectural genius.

Surprisingly, Palau Güell is one of his more traditionally understated buildings, offering a glimpse into the diversity of his works. However, even in its relative simplicity, it proudly displays Gaudi's signature touches, such as the cast iron decorations on the exterior and the whimsical structures adorning its rooftop, resembling colorful trees.

Unlike some of his later works that display a more surreal and fantastical style, Palau Güell has a slightly castle-like appearance on the outside. Step inside, and you'll be transported to a world of opulence and grandeur. This was a commissioned project for the wealthy Eusebi Güell, also known as "Count Güell," who desired a lavish townhouse for his large family of 10 children and a place where he could host extravagant parties and balls for the elites of Barcelona.

Completed in 1886, Palau Güell is situated in the Raval neighborhood, which, at the time, was one of the city's most run-down and sleazy areas - home to Barcelona's red light district. Interestingly, It was this cheaper area that attracted a young financially challenged, and emotionally burdened Pablo Picasso who lived just opposite The Palau on the same street. He'd just arrived and rented a run-down apartment to live in and search for inspiration. Don't worry, things worked out for him.

It's intriguing to consider why such a grand project was built here, especially when most affluent residents were moving to the up-and-coming district of Eixample. It seems that the Count chose this location due to its proximity to his other townhouse, risking societal snubs for having homes that were not far apart. After all, one wouldn't want their mansions to be inconveniently distant!

The collaboration between Eusebi Güell and Gaudi extended beyond Palau Güell, giving birth to several other famous landmarks in Barcelona, including the renowned Güell Park. It's another must-visit destination, lined with posh houses and an array of Gaudi's artistic creations. A perfect opportunity for some Instagram-worthy moments!

To truly experience the beauty of Palau Güell, you have the option to purchase tickets for weekday visits or a guided tour on weekends. The interiors are a sight to behold, displaying Gaudi's characteristic uniqueness and creativity. An overload of Art Nouveau architecture, later called "Catalan Modernism" - the signature style of Barcelona. Its trailblazing architect and defining figure was Antoni Gaudi.

Explore Barcelona with a Voicemap self-guided audio tour to visit Palau Güell and learn more about the life of Antoni Gaudi.

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