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Torre Bellesguard Review
For Gaudí to the last drop, climb up above Plaça de la Bonanova to this private residence built between 1900 and 1909 over the ruins of the summer palace of the last of the sovereign count-kings of the Catalan-Aragonese realm, Martí I l'Humà (Martin I the Humane), whose reign ended in 1410. This homage to the king has a bell arch, tower, gargoyles, and crenellated battlements that are all Gaudí winks to Gothic architecture; the catenary arches and the puzzles of trencadis (broken bits of stone) of colored slate on the facade and over the windows are pure Gaudí. Built of rough slate from the Collserola hills up behind the site, Torre Bellesguard blends into the background in what seems an early example of low-impact environmental design. Look for the stained-glass red and gold markings of the Catalan senyera (banner) on the tower, which is topped by the typical four-armed Greek cross favored by Gaudí. Over the front door is the inscription sens pecat fou concebuda (without sin was she conceived) referring to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, while above on the facade appears a colorful Bell Esguard (beautiful view). On either side of the front door are benches with trencadis mosaics of playful fish bearing the crimson quatre barres (four bars) of the Catalan flag as well as the Corona d'Aragó (Crown of Aragón). Alas, the surprisingly colorful and ornate interior of the residence is rarely viewable.
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