Montserrat, Colonia Güell, Gaudi’s Crypt – 10/21/2014

Milly and I planned to visit Montserrat on a tour. We found this tour that also went to the Gaudi Crypt, which was unknown to us and many others. Gaudi Crypt was located in Colonia Güell, an industrial colony that was in operation from 1890 to 1970’s.

We found this diversion into the latter industrial revolution fascinating. Our guide described the colony, it patron, and the 7 day work week of 13-15 hours per day (Sunday’s were 8 hours – time off for church). We found out that women giving birth went back to work after 2-3 days with the “nunnery” daycare taking their new born children.

This Colonia provided good safe working conditions, housing, free schooling to age 11, a colony doctor, bars and meeting places. The patron provided for all the needs of his employees. People were half paid with local currency, usable only in Colony, with the other half in the national currency.

The owner treated his employees well for the time!

This was a history lesson! How quickly our discourse of economics forgets the evils of unfettered capitalism, lack of government regulation and its impact on real people.

Colonia Güell Description

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The construction of the Colonia Güell began in 1.890 by the initiative of the entrepreneur Eusebio Güell in his country estate “Can Soler de la Torre”, located in the municipality of Santa Coloma de Cervelló, region of Baix Llobregat.

The interest of escaping the social conflicts arisen in the city made the new industry to be conceived within the framework of an industrial colony; with housing of the workers next to the mill, within the property, constituting an urban nucleus with its own social and economic life albeit overseen by the company.

In contrast to most industrial colonies in Catalonia, Eusebio Güell worked to improve the social conditions of his workers and applied his cultural patronage in the Colonia, providing it with cultural and religious facilities of a modernist design which were developed by different architects, most notably Gaudí to whom he entrusted the building of the church.

The master builders also left the imprint of their talent in many of the buildings as can be seen in many different facades and cornices.

The industrial colonies where conceived as a socioeconomic organization whose main goal was industrial productivity. The mill took up most of the time of the men and women of the colony, for them it was the guarantee of having a regular income in times of economic scarcity.

Our pictures:

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Gaudi’s Crypt – A Discovered Secret

This existing crypt church is a masterpiece in design. It is very spiritual inside. We have included more pictures than normal due to those people that might want to see more of the architecture details.

That we got the chance to visit here was an blessing. We happened onto this particular  tour by accident.

To get the chance to see the Colony Guell and this crypt was real special.

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 In 1.898 Eusebio Güell commissioned the architect Antonio Gaudí the project of a church for the textile estate of Santa Coloma de Cervelló. When Eusebi told his good friend Gaudi do as you please. He set no limits or barriers, neither in the budget nor in how the construction had to be done, and, as would be seen eventually, not even in the timeframe to build the church.

Over the next few years, Gaudí carried out various preliminary studies which culminated in a model which was placed in a pavilion located in the hill were the building would later be erected.

 The construction of the temple began in 1909. However, the ambitious project which foresaw a church with two naves, lower and upper, topped by different towers and a 40 meters high central dome would remain unfinished. In 1.914 the Güell family decided to stop financing the church and Gaudí abandoned the project. In November 1.915 the bishop of Barcelona consecrated the lower nave, the only one to have been built, which made the church be popularly known as the crypt.

 Even though the church remained unfinished, the church is a culminating point Gaudi’s works. This construction includes for the first time practically all of his architectural innovations.

The Crypt was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005.

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Montserrat, Basilica and Boys Choir

The mountain to valley views from Montserrat were truly spectacular!

The monastery and basilica were very interesting to see and visit. We expected this since many people suggested we come here.

We had the opportunity to get front row seats in a filled church to hear the famous Montserrat Boys Choir. We got into the line to see and touch the Black Virgin Mary statue. We thought we had time to see it and get a seat in the church for the Choir performance. The line was moving a lot slower that was communicated to us. We could also see that the Basilica Church was filling up with tons of school children that had arrived just after we got there. As we made our way through the line, we noticed there were some benches along the aisle where our line was passing. When we got near the front of the church we sat in one while still in line. We were letting people pass us but we had a great view of choir. We also could hear their magnificent voices!

To say we had a good tour day would be an understatement! Once we got back to our B&B, we rested a bit showered and went out for spanish Pizza! Tomorrow we pack and go to visit Milly’s sister Joan in Madrid. Then, it’s to Boston to visit our son Alex, Elena and our grandchildren.

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