Martín the Elder, the last king of the House of Barcelona, took up residence at the foot of Tibidabo in 1409, following the counsel of a member of his court, Bernat Metge. In the same place, 500 years later, Antoni Gaudí put the finishing touches on Torre Bellesguard, a work commissioned by a friend and Renaissance man, Jaume Figueras. Now the old refuge opens its doors to the public, as the Guilera family, owner of the modernist building, has decided to share a part of their treasure now they have rediscovered its relevance.
Torre Bellesguard gives a sense of a free Gaudí who was inspired by medieval castles and who used Gothic Revival resources to design a work based on straight lines, broken by reliefs of slate skin and small balconies decorated with stained glass on the façade. The architect built in some of his signature religious symbols and allusions to Catalanism, one of the elements that the research group created for the occasion has studied.
You can get to know the space at your own pace with an audio guide, or join in one of the guided tours of the attic area that also allows access to the roof where, in addition to the tower crowned by the Gaudí cross (and an eye-catching face of a dragon), you can take in stunning views of the city.
Decorative elements are key players in the corridor of the castle – the wrought iron lamp, the tiles that line the walls and the stained glass Star of Venus add richness to the architectural ensemble.
The brick and stone arches in the music room were not left bare for lack of resources. Rather, it is a preservation of the original loft, and a sample of the Gaudí's virtuosity.