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Pavellons Güell

Pavilions guarded by the dragon of the Hesperides

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Only Gaudí could make two pavilions and an entrance gate into a true work of art, replete with mythological details. The Güell pavilions at the entrance to the Güell family estate on Avinguda de Pedralbes, decorated with a spectacular combination of oriental style elements, are guarded by an iron dragon with glass eyes.

Why visit the Pavellons Güell?

This intervention at Count Eusebi Güell’s estate on Avinguda de Pedralbes was the Modernista architect’s first commission from his main patron. From 1884 to 1887, Gaudí erected two entrance pavilions for the porter’s lodge and the stables. The porter’s lodge consists of a central building with a polygonal floor plan and a hyperboloid dome and two smaller buildings, which are all capped with ventilators in the form of chimneys with a ceramic finish. The walls are exposed brick in red and yellow tones featuring coloured glass. The stables have a rectangular base with a series of masonry vaults sustained by catenary arches, while the lunging ring is square with a dome finished with a lantern.

But the stellar element of the complex is undoubtedly the railing of the entrance gate, which features an iron dragon with glass eyes that represents the mythological dragon guardian of the Garden of the Hesperides. The gate opens onto the gardens of the Hesperides, recreating the poem "L’Atlàntida", by Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer, forming a single narrative with the Hercules Fountain in the Pedralbes Gardens. Above the dragon there is an antimony orange tree, another allusion to the Hesperides. On one side of the gate, a tower crowned with plant fantasies bears a medallion with the initial of the name of the owner of the land.

In 1969, the pavilions were declared a Historic and Artistic Monument of National Interest, and until 2008 they served as the office of the Royal Gaudí Chair of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

 

How do you get to Pavellons Güell?

Hop off at the Palau Reial – Pavellons Güell stop on the Blue Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic and turn onto Avinguda de Pedralbes.

 

For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? The imposing dragon on the gate is in the shape of the Serpens constellation, into which Ladon was transformed as a punishment for the theft of oranges from the famous mythological garden according to the poem of Verdaguer. Five stars of the Hercules constellation, located just below Serpens, are represented by spherical spikes on the dragon’s claws.
  • Local’s tip: On its way to the Palau Reial – Pavellons Güell stop the Blue Route of Bus Turístic actually goes past the dragon-themed iron gate on Avinguda de Pedralbes. Pay close attention!
  • A must: For fans of architecture and mythology.