Gaudi’s Torre Bellesguard, with its spectacular views across Barcelona, is unique in so many ways. Originally it was the residence of Martin I ‘the Humane’, King of Aragón, last monarch of the House of Barcelona, between 1409 and 1410 and some of that original construction is still visible on site.
Clearly having a ‘royal’ connection didn’t help keep the original building in a good state of repair, so when Catalan businessman Jauma Figueres bought the site in 1900, he really was just purchasing a view and some rubble! He then made two decisions, one of them brilliant and the other disastrous (well, for him anyway).
He hired Antoni Gaudi to build a summer-house for his family on the site (brilliant) and then told him he had the free reign to do what he wanted (disastrous). The Catalan master was all to aware of the historic nature of the site and proceeded to design and construct a homage to a medieval castle incorporating the remaining original elements and adding his inimitable style to the rest.
As with so many of his buildings, Gaudi had little interest and regard to costs and timetables, by the time he started his now trademark mosaic detailing, Señor Figueres had died and his widow was up to her ears in debt.
1909 saw the completion of a truly amazing building and a fascinating insight into Gaudi’s development as an architect, unfortunately the Figueres were bankrupt and had no choice but to sell the house outright. They never had the chance to live in it.
Their loss was most definitely our gain and due to the generosity of the current owners, the visitor can now enjoy exploring this fantastic building. From the intricate ironwork to the iconic Catalan dragon on the roof, this really is one of Gaudi’s gems you do not want to miss. As an added bonus, it is not that easy to get to via public transport, so it is never heaving with tourists, in fact when we did the guided tour, there was the tour guide and well . . . just us! Fabulous!
There are three main ways to enjoy Torre Bellesguard. You can enjoy the outside and the grounds, with or without an audio-guide. Book and do the full guided tour, inside and out (highly recommended) or enjoy on of the many events, from music to markets that run during the year.
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