Sant Pau Recinte Modernista Hospital (Barcelona - Spain)

Unlike the earlier posts, this site under UNESCO was not designed by Antoni Gaudi but by Lluís Domènech i Montaner who was also a Catalan Mordernist (Spanish counterpart of Art Nouveau) like Gaudi.


To begin with, this place was a functioning hospital till 2009 and it totally confused me. I followed a map and I ended up at the actual Hospital i.e., the present functioning hospital complete with its ambulance. There were no boards that showed any direction to the old building. So, I had no option than to just get into the new hospital and ask one of the staff there on the whereabouts of the old building. Guess what, I wasn't the first one to do it. They have a bunch of printouts of a map from the new hospital to the old hospital and its a 5 minutes walk! By the time this confusion got sorted, the guided tour that I had opted for had already started! Thankfully they allowed me join in.

A hospital has been here ever since 1450. It was originally a building that brought together 6 health centres that were in Barcelona. The construction of this building began in 1401 making this the oldest hospital still standing in the world today! It was then called Hospital de la Santa Creu which means Hospital of the Holy Cross. After 5 centuries of non stop usage, in 19th C, the building couldn't withstand any more and had to be rebuilt.
It was around this time when the rich banker Pau Gil i Serra died and left a major portion of his wealth to rebuild the hospital. The new hospital was built in 1902-1930. In 1997 it came under UNESCO. 

The first room is an underground room with arched ceiling and imposing pillars called the Hypostyle Hall. This was originally the first point of contact at the hospital from where patients were transported to various rooms, galleries and pavilions. Later in 1990s this place was converted to Emergency Ward. Next to this is the tunnel. When the hospital was functioning, the whole floor had several colored lines to direct people to various places like red for blood bank, blue for emergencies etc.
Halfway through the length of the tunnel were the gardens. Beyond this was the central courtyard. In the building opposite side of the courtyard is the Operation Theatre! Its exactly in the same place one atop the other in 3 floors are the 3 operation theatres! Its circular in shape and the observation deck for the interns was along the edge. It has no walls at all, just pillars & glass. So the whole place gets all the light from the nature!

The next section was the St.Rapheal Pavilion. This originally had a row of beds for in-patients. Since this was funded by Rafael Rubel, there's an R denoted in the ceramic designs atop the windows. The walls of this room is fitted with ceramic tiles which is easy to clean, so hygiene is at a good standard. Very similar to this there are 7 other pavilions which are not open to public. Each also has a dome atop with red and yellow solid colored ceramic tiles but placed to form different patterns in each dome!

Similar to Gaudi, his style is also very colorful and the usage of broken mosaic tiles to beautify surfaces, multicolored solid tiles that form pattern upon roof etc can be seen here too! Also the typical Art Nouveau elements of being inspired by nature was also visible at many places with ducks, rabbits, and geckos depicted!

In the first floor is a huge seminar room like space filled with seating arrangements with a pavilion. This is sky lit with a huge circular stained glass work on the ceiling! This particular piece of art is beyond exquisite!!! This is surrounded by the typical broken mosaic tile patterns. This was the predecessor to the much more exquisite 3 dimensional dome shaped circular stained glass with more complex patterns in his other creation Musica Catalana, which is also under UNESCO! Sadly I didn't have time to see that.
There's passage from here leading to the next room. The ceiling here is also gorgeous. But what's much more interesting is the light that passes through the colorless clear glass on the windows here. I was lucky enough to see this on a bright sunny day! See the texture difference??? The original glass of the yesteryear were handmade and blown which gives it its unique texture. However during renovation the damaged glasses were replaced the regular clear glass! 



The next room is the Chapel. The view from here of the whole site is one splendid sight.
Here's a tip, if you're opting for a guided tour, look for the schedule & language. There are only about 2-3 tours per day per language. Check the timing and join on time.

To Get There:
Nearest metro station: Sant Pau | Dos de Maig
Nearest bus stop: Cartagena-Av Gaudí & Av. Gaudí-Castillejos
Entry fee: €19.00 (20% off with Barcelona Card) 
Can be bought online on their website.

P.S: I was invited by Barcelona Turisme - Barcelona Card to experience the city for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

40 comments:

  1. That's funny you went to the real hospital, that's probably what I'd have done! At least you didn't miss your tour! Great tip about the 20% discount with the Barcelona card, that card sure is useful. So many UNESCO sites in Barcelona, from the outside the hospital photographs so well too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful architecture! I am off to Barcelona in April and have read all about the unique buildings in the city. Looking forward to getting there - I shall try to check out the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista Hospital. Informative post with lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I live in Spain and never knew the oldest hospital standing till date is located in Barcelona. So much we've to learn about our neighbors and surroundings. This was really useful, thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Barcelona has so many hidden gems! A hospital dating back to 1450 is remarkable. I enjoyed Barcelona while I was there and it is so much MORE than just the Segrada Familia in the middle of the city centre. The architecture is just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love that so many people go searching for this that the new hospital has maps! I loved Barcelona for these hidden gems. Looking at your amazing photos I wish that I'd gotten to see this hospital too. Ah well, another added to my long list of places to go.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The architecture there is so beautiful. Thankfully so much has survived.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I absolutely love all of the ceramic and mosaic tiles! They are so intricate and colorful!! Barcelona looks like it has so much history to offer!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beautiful architecture. I can't believe that was a church before.I would love to visit Barcelona.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I meant "hospital" (human error). But I truly did enjoy your piece. Hospitals are usually a place I avoid, but I would definitely not avoid this one. I would love to visit Barcelona one day.

      Delete
  9. Well, that has to be the nicest hospital I've ever seen. And I think when you mention Barcelona, you hear more about Sagrada Familia or Parc Guell or other Gaudi works and probably seldom hear about Sant Pau Recinte Modernista Hospital. I was in Barcelona just a few years ago and no one mentioned about the hospital at all. It looks pretty immaculate for being over 600 years old and the architecture looks really intricate.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Barcelona always have been high on my list. Somehow I keep getting dragged to other destinations first and leave it always for another time. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can't believe that this used to be a hospital. Those architectures and mirrors are so divine. If this will be a hospital again, it must be housed with high-end hospital facilities, and should be the most elegant.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Barcelona is a verry interesting city speaking of architecture, I really loved St.Rapheal Pavilion. but I think I'll have to go back soon!

    ReplyDelete
  13. There's a lot of similarity of the churches in Barcelona and the Philippines. It was Spain who brought Christianity to our country.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Too bad I did not know that this place existed when we went to visit Barcelona. I would have wanted to visit old hospitals. You've given me an idea to do this in cities I visit in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a fascinating place to visit. I love the architecture of building and the beautiful windows.
    I really did love Barcelona when I visited but missed this wonderful place. Great tips about the Barcelona card. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  16. That structure is just sooo beautiful! I love the colorful stained glass and mosaic tiles. I hope to visit Barcelona too someday. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. wow! this has been i think the third time i saw photos about spain this week.. i guess it might be time for me to prepare my passport and visit the place.. totally love these photos here

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was wondering why there would be a hospital review here and was expecting you had a speedy recovery thanks to awesome nurses, LOL. We've been to Barcelona last year but I feel bad now not knowing about this place! I agree about the style very much like Gaudi with the vibrant colours and varying textures.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lol I totally would've done the same thing and gone to the present-day hospital instead. What a beautiful place with such intricate details, it's hard to believe this used to be a hospital! Barcelona is still on our list- we'll make sure we stop by with a Barcelona card when we do visit.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a beautifully designed building. Modern day hospitals could learn a lot from the Sant Pau Recinte! Somehow I completely missed this on my last trip to Barcelona, but it will be on my list of places to see for sure when I return. Thanks for sharing about this.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would have done the exact same thing and would have ended up at the functioning hospital too! This is perfect, I'm headed to Barcelona next month and I'm looking for some "unusual" places to visit... I reckon I'll check this out. Haven't heard about it before :) so thanks for included a little note on how to get there! Such stunning details in the design...

    ReplyDelete
  22. That's possibly the most beautiful hospital that I've seen but probably the creepiest too since it's the oldest in the world. Lol. It's funny that you went to the real hospital, I wonder how many times a day do they get lost tourists in it. :p

    ReplyDelete
  23. I went to Barcelona back in 2012, and visited mostly touristy spots... but I'm hoping to go back again, and when I do, Sant Pau Recinte Modernista Hospital will be on my list! Like others have said, it's one of the most beautiful hospitals I've seen. I'm glad that the staff at the real hospital have a good sense of humor about visitors coming in looking for something else - I certainly would have been one of those people! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. this is a VERY beautiful hospital. I would be completely overtaken by the beauty of this place instead of getting actual treatment if i was a patient. I am very impressed. I went to Barcelona last year and I was not aware this existed. Now i know! Thank you for this post

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a gorgeous building with so much history. I love the detailing - if only my local hospital could look like this!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love the modernist art era and it is great to see a post about Lluís Domènech instead of Gaudi. Love the detailing on this hospital - the facade is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is the first hospital I am seeing as a UNESCO heritage site. So well preserved. The colorful mosaics look like they have life. Spain does have a some good architects to be proud of!

    ReplyDelete
  28. That structure is just sooo beautiful! What a fascinating place to visit. I love the architecture of building and the beautiful windows.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Woha! A hospital as a UNESCO heritage site? I think this probably is the only hospital in the world with called heritage site! It does look beautiful but as they say every building in spain is remarkable!

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a beautiful place,I think the hospital is really cool hope i can go there in the future

    ReplyDelete
  31. wow! This is the most beautiful hospital i have ever seen!
    I can't believe i went to Barcelona and skipped this one! Thank you for sharing this one... Only Barcelona would have a UNESCO site that no one talks about...

    ReplyDelete
  32. Barcelona is a fabulous destination and I think every traveler has it in his/her bucket list. Amazing pictures and write-up. :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I wished I could get a closer look on the painted tiles of the windows! They are so gorgeous. Couldn't see what drawings are they :(

    ReplyDelete
  34. wow. i cant believe what i have read on this! lol. very interesting!! i would like to visit that and see it with my own eyes!

    - Elizabeth O

    ReplyDelete
  35. This does not look like a hospital at all! Must be interesting to be confined in such a place when sick. I would enjoy it hehehe

    ReplyDelete
  36. I really love the design of the building, to be honest I didn't think it was a hospital till I read the post, I hope I can get to see it someday

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wow, such an old hospital...Whenever I hear of old hospitals and all, I feel that there must be something creepy out there. But this looks indeed heritage.

    ReplyDelete
  38. The architectures in Spain are truly beautiful and amazing works of art.. Getting a Barcelona card seems like a great idea to get discounts in different historical places.

    ❀Grace ❀

    ReplyDelete
  39. Whenever I think of famous people attached to Barcelona Gaudi is number one of the list so to find something as stunning as this designed by someone else is a great find.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting...!
Why not leave a comment.?
And tell your friends..!!!

cookieassistant.com