Over the past few months, I’ve been slowly working through Gaudí’s oeuvres. On Monday I finally managed to visit the last of his buildings included in UNESCO’s World Heritage: the Crypt in Colònia Güell.
Colònia Güell, said to be one of the most pioneering purpose-built industrial villages of the 19th century, is located on the outskirts of Barcelona, roughly 50km roundtrip by bike. This is why it took me a while to venture so far out.
Surprisingly, the village is still alive despite the industrial component of it being long closed for business. Looking at old buildings, it never cease to amaze me how much attention to details architects and builders paid in yesteryears compare to today’s strictly utilitarian approach.
Gaudí’s Crypt, another of his unfinished gems, was the testing grounds for some of his most innovative techniques and designs – many of which would later be used in the construction of the Sagrada Família. Contrary to Sagrada Família it is preserved in its unfinished state, just like my friend Katja prefers.
I was one of a handful of visitors there, which suited me perfectly, perhaps because the Crypt is a lesser known of Gaudí’s work, we are in December, and it’s relatively far from the city center. Going there turned out to be almost a whole day trip: I returned around 5pm.
Colònia Güell in numbers:
54 km – distance cycled
1890 – Colònia Güell was founded
7 – Gaudí’s buildings enlisted in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites