03 Ott BARCELONA’S GARGOYLES: A walk to the past.
We’ve all seen walking through the streets of Barcelona, the various grotesque figures (from dragons to witches), decorating the roofs of some buildings in the city. These elements are mainly found in the el Gòtic and el Born neighborhoods, in what happens to be the Old Town of Barcelona. The gargoyles were mostly built between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries with the intention of becoming the drains on the rooftops of medieval cathedrals. Many of the sculptors who designed them were trying to capture in them their fears and superstitions. Through horrible ways they tried to represent evil, therefore, many of the gargoyles are demons that recall the religious battle between good and evil.
These figures can be found in the Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, the church of Santa Maria del Pi, among other gothic and medieval buildings. As well, they can be found in other places as the Sant Pau Hospital, a modernist building designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, and the Montcada Street, where the Picasso Museum is placed.
If we look closely, we can find a zoo of creatures in these figures: dragons, eagles, lions, dogs, pigs, sheeps, unicorns… The first ones, in this case, are closely linked to the Catalan folklore, thanks to the legend of Sant Jordi.
In the case of the Palau de la Generalitat, the headquarters of the Catalan government, we find the strangest and most beautiful gargoyles of Barcelona. These beasts, unable to be classified anywhere; belong to an invented bestiary by the sculptor, so it’s worth visiting the Pati Tarongers (The Orange Tree Courtyard) inside the building, to observe the diversity of gargoyles that this place owns.
Feel free to explore the beautiful medieval streets of Barcelona during your stay (with us ;)) in the city. It will always be a delight for your eyes! What do these figures inspire you? See you soon!