Park Güell--page 3 of 7 pages

Antoni Gaudí

The double staircase has walls on each side with crenelated tops and sides of checkerboard tiles.
Part way up the staircase the head of a serpent is seen against a background medallion with the coat of arms of Catalan.
Farther up the stairway the viewer encounters the famous dragon or lizard with "scales" of tiles. As Rainer Zerbst explains, this creature had already made an appearance in Gaudí's works in the art nouveau wrought iron gate at the Güell estate.

Here Zerbst believes the playful reference has a symbolic resonance: "the dragon represents Python, guardian of the subterranean waters, and Gaudi thus alludes darkly to what is of immense importance for the park, but which escapes the eye: behind the dragon a cistern lies concealed that can contain up to 2,600 gallons of water; it was conceived as a rainwater collector. In this manner, rainwater was channeled into the collector and stored to irrigate the barren parkland, deprived as it is of any natural springs" (153).
A central cavity farther up the stairs provides bench seating. One of the landings part way up the staircase has an art nouveau gate.

Work Cited: Rainer Zerbst. Antoni Gaudí. Köln: Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH, 1985.

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