Throwback Thursday: El Drac
El Drac (The Dragon) guards the entrance to Park Güell. While the Sagrada Familia church is considered Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterwork, I find Park Güell even more impressive. While there are no rides, the place feels like it was designed by Walt Disney on LSD.
While Art Deco was about to percolate in 1900, Gaudi was tasked by Count Güell with creating an exclusive neighborhood and park at the edges of Barcelona on the abandoned Muntanya Pelada (Bare Mountain). With his style influenced by Moorish, Oriental and Gothic, Gaudi designed a fantasyland of shelters, stonework, roads and tiled mosaics that took 14 years to build. But things didnt go as planned: 58 of the 60 exclusive plots were never built on. Count Güell lived in one house and Gaudi barely scraped together enough to buy the other. The family lived here until Gaudi’s death in 1926.
Meanwhile, El Drac was vandalized in 2007. Now fully restored, ironically the guardian of Park Güell reportedly has his own guards to keep the vandals away.