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Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

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During our visit to St Cirq Lapopie, France, we met Pablo and Cris, a nice couple from Santa Coloma de Cervelló near Barcelona who invited us to stop by on our way east. They kept insisting the nearby Colónia Güell was a very special place we absolutely had to see.

We found safe parking right in front of their condominium. It seemed that everyone walking by, from 8 to 80, took a picture of the truck. Pablo emailed us later that half the town was talking about our Turtle!

We spent two very enjoyable evenings with them and their friends and did indeed visit the nearby Colónia Güell, a company town founded by leading industrialist Count Eusebi Güell. As a patron of Catalan arts and literature, he hired his friend Antoni Gaudí in 1890 to help him create his vision of a better environment for his textile workers. The factory itself was equipped with the latest technology of that time, and it was famous for velvet and corduroys.

In designing the town, several architects assisted Gaudí but he personally undertook the design of the church.

Only the crypt was finished by the time Count Güell died in 1918 and his sons had no interest in further financing Gaudí’s project. Strolling through the very informative museum, we learned that the crypt incorporated almost all of his architectural innovations which he later utilized designing the Basilica La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The crypt is considered a benchmark for studying the architecture of Antoni Gaudí.

La Colónia Güell today is no longer a factory town but many of its inhabitants are descendants of the original workers. As our friends said, it is indeed a very special place and was well worth the visit.

 

Colonia Guell 01 300x225 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

Cris and Pablo (on right) and their friends Gerard and Ciara prepared a typical Catalan dinner for us. It was a lively evening.

Colonia Guell 02 300x225 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

A church born upside down. This is a simplified reproduction of Gaudí’s catenarian model in search of natural shapes for the temple.

Colonia Guell 03 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

This typical street of Colónia Güell reminded us of England.

Colonia Guell 04 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

A modernistic staircase adorns the outside wall of this house.

Colonia Guell 05 300x225 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

La Colónia Güell sports many architecturally interesting buildings.

Colonia Guell 06 300x225 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

 

Colonia Guell 07 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

Antoni Gaudí’s Crypt incorporates many of his architectural inventions.

Colonia Guell 08 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

This beautiful stain glass window opened its two wings just like a butterfly.

Colonia Guell 09 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

Every way you turned, Gaudi’s Crypt was full of architectural surprises.

Colonia Guell 10 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

Gaudí was a keen observer of nature. The structural columns resemble trees in a forest.

Colonia Guell 11 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

Above the entrance of the crypt were many religious symbols.

Colonia Guell 12 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

Gaudí’s imagination allowed him to create shapes that many would call outrageous.

Colonia Guell 13 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

The decorative grates and screens on the windows were recycled sewing needles from the textile factory.

Colonia Guell 14 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

The building technique of the entrance area was fascinating.

Colonia Guell 15 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

Gaudí chose materials from many different sources including misshaped bricks and slag from a nearby smelter.

Colonia Guell 16 225x300 Colónia Güell, Cataluña, Spain 10/13

 

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