HOSPITAL de la SANTA CREU i SANT PAU. ..When I travel, I like to go with a small list of "must see" items. I really must see the short list items, but anything else is extra dessert. This hospital was definitely extra dessert with a whole lot of whipped cream. After the vast hoards of people at Park Güell, the quiet at this hospital was a welcome contrast.

I'm not up on my UNESCO Heritage Sites around the world, but I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't the only hospital to make the list. And, it truly deserved that honor. Europe's second oldest hospital was started in 1401. Back then, its name ended with Santa Creu. However, in 1902, a wealthy banker named Pau Gil left a substantial amount of money for the hospital to build more pavilions. And, Sant Pau was added to the name of the place.


The designer for this project was Lluis Domènech i Montaner, the same man to design the Palau de la Música Catalana. Whereas Gaudi usually worked on private commissions, Domènech constructed buildings for public use. The original plans called for 48 pavillions, but only 18 were actually constructed. All 12 created by Domènech are classified as World Heritage sites. The new project covered nine city blocks, allowing plenty of rooms for gardens in each block. Domènech wanted lots of sunlight as well as gardens with aromatic and medicinal vegetation to help patients recover while at the hospital.


Copyright 2009 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.