If you are visiting the beautiful city of Barcelona, you will find that it is a great destination for lovers of art and architecture. Gaudi’s Lizard is just one of the city’s many cultural or artistic attractions, and certainly not one to miss while you are in Barcelona. www.travelrows.com
Who Was Gaudi?
Antoni Gaudi was a Catalonian architect renowned for his individualistic, idiosyncratic and quirky architectural style. He was born in 1852 in Reus, Spain, and died here in Barcelona in 1926. Barcelona is graced with many of his greatest works, including the breathtaking church of Sagrada Familia. Amongst his other accomplishments, Gaudi also collaborated with Josep Maria Jujol to create this famous lizard sculpture.
Gaudi’s lizard, known locally as ‘El Drac’ (The Dragon), is located within Park Güell. The park is some distance out of the city centre but you can purchase a pass on one of the bus tours around the city and you will be dropped off just a few blocks away from the entrance to the park.
The Park was designed by Gaudi, and built between 1900 and 1914. It officially opened as a public park in 1926 and was declared a World Heritage Site under ‘Works of Antoni Gaudi’ in 1984.
Gaudi designed the park during his naturalist phase, implementing structural solutions that showcased his organic style. Its origins were as a commercial housing development – inspired by the English garden city movement. Ultimately, only two homes were built. Gaudi himself lived in one of them with his family and his father. This is now the Gaudi House Museum. Converted into a municipal garden, there is now an entrance fee to visit the Monumental zone, (which includes the main entrance, terrace and parts containing mosaics) though entrance to the park remains free.
As you pass through the park gates you can see this colourful mosaic ‘dragon’ – usually surrounded by a crowd of tourists and street vendors. It is a location that can be particularly delightful at sunset, though it can be a great place to visit at any time of day. El Drac guards the main entrance to the park. Sadly, it was vandalised in 2007, but fortunately has since been restored.
Once you have seen this lizard, one of the attractive features of the park’s monumental zone, you should also be sure to make your way to the main terrace, where you can see the beautiful mosaic work of the sea-serpent bench. Though often attributed to Gaudi, much of the work on this and other mosaics was done by Gaudi’s often overlooked collaborator, Josep Maria Jujol. Another skilful architect, Jujol was born in 1879 and died in 1949. He worked with Gaudi on many of his most famous works.