1900 Gaudí's patron Eusebi Güell commissioned him to oversee the design of
a garden city development on a hill on the edge of the city, which he envisaged
would become a fashionable residential area. Gaudí was to design the basic
structure and main public areas; the houses were to be designed by other architects.
The wealthy families of the time, however, did not appreciate Gaudí's wilder
ideas, scarcely any plots were sold, and eventually the estate was taken over
by the city as a park. Its most complete part is the entrance, with its Disneylandish
gatehouses and the mosaic dragon that's become another of Barcelona's favorite
symbols. The park has a wonderfully playful quality, with its twisted pathways
and avenues of columns intertwined with the natural structure of the hillside.
At the center is the great esplanade, with an undulating bench covered in trencadis,
broken mosaic - much of it not the work of Gaudí but of his assistant Josep
It was getting late in the day, but Kiko took us to the park for an evening stroll...