World Heritage: Park Guell-Gaudi stamp by Spain

World Heritage: Park Guell-Gaudi stamp by Spain

Few artists have had the same fortune as Antonio Gaudi, who has had eight of his works declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. This architect from Reus has had the same fortune in the attention he has received from Spanish philately: three issues and fifteen stamps, which have been appearing from 1960, motivated by the I International Congress of Philately in Barcelona, up until the two released this year. The first was put into circulation on the second of January and dedicated to the Miralles Estate Entrance, forming part of the Monumental Arches and Doors series. The second, which concerns us now, is dedicated to Park Guell, the most well-known and the most visited of the great Catalan artist's many creations.

This project, once again commissioned by the business man Eusebi Guell, consisted of the development of a residential area on the south-west hillside of Monte Carmelo, better known as Muntanya Pelada, located to the north of the city of Barcelona. The common intention of the developer and the architect was to create a place that was respectful to nature and that would escape speculation. For the latter, Guell offered the potential buyers a long-lease contract, in which absolute respect towards the natural environment was demanded. Gaudi, for his part, influenced by the ideas of Ebenezer Howard on British garden cities, from which the Anglo-Saxon name "Park" came, planned the land dividing it into sixty triangular plots, with only a sixth part available for building, and with housing that could not block the view of the sea or deny sunlight to the neighbors. The rest of the land was dedicated to common areas: caretaking, stables, market, cultural and free-time activities…and an endless number of streets, paths, viaducts, squares, and stairs, which facilitated movement in a place plagued by rocks and slopes.

The work took place from 1900 to 1914, a period in which only one plot was sold to a lawyer from Barcelona, a friend of Gaudis. The architect himself moved into the model house, planned by his collaborator Francesc Berenguer, and one year later Guell used the stately country house, Casa Larrard, as a family home. The purchase conditions did not seduce the Catalan bourgeoisie of the era and the project failed. However, there are failures that turn into success; Guell began to offer the large private garden for public events and in 1922, four years after his death, the Barcelona City Council bought the enclosure, opening it to the public in 1926.

The stamp, circular in shape, reproduces the head of a commemorative two-euro coin dedicated to Park Guell. Both on the stamp and on the miniature sheet a dragon appears, which has become the most popular image from the park, located on the staircase that joins the entry terrace with the Hypostyle Hall. The trencadis technique, mosaics created with ceramic fragments and joined with mortar, was a creation of Gaudi's, adopted by Catalan modernism and used by prominent architects today.


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