Barcelona has a few very famous buildings by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, several of them visited by up to almost a million people per year. But did you know about the less famous crypt at Colonia Güell outside Barcelona? The site is a perfect day trip if you love architecture and a perfect opportunity to visit this hidden gem, that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1990.
Colonia Güell is located in Santa Coloma de Cervelló just 23 kilometres outside Barcelona. A famous wealthy businessman from Barcelona, Eusebio Güell, wanted to move his textile mill from the city to his country estate and establish an industrial colony there. Güell was very dedicated to the well-being of his employees, and in addition to the mill he also wanted there to be shops, a school, terraces housing and gardens for everyone to enjoy.
Güell commissioned Gaudí to build a church in the colony. He planned it for more than 10 years, and finally the construction began in 1899. You can see plenty of Gaudí´s special trademarks in the church: centenary arches, leaning pillars and inspiration from nature. The colours in the tiling reflect the colours found in the surrounding nature. Unfortunately in 1914, when the church was still in construction, the Güell family stopped funding it.
The textile mill in the colony was sold to another family in 1945, but the production continued until 1973. Now the colony has been refurbished by local architects and made visitor-friendly. The buildings and the streets and squares maintain their beautiful Modernista charm You can easily reach the colony by taking the FGC train from Plaça Espanya, it takes only about 20 minutes.