Barcelona City Council will allocate nearly €4.5 million for the maintenance and restoration of Park Güell’s architectural heritage and its surroundings so as to better manage the influx of visitors to the garden, the only one in the city recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Antonio Goudi’s world-famous Park Güell, Barcelona

Antonio Goudi’s world-famous Park Güell, Barcelona

Barcelona Councillor for Architecture, Daniel Mòdol, stated that the project is funded in part “thanks to revenue from park ticket booths and the tourist tax.” Since October 2013, people visiting Antoni Gaudí’s monuments in Park Güell have to pay an entrance fee.

The Councillor of Gràcia District in Barcelona, Eloi Badia, explained that the remodelling seeks to regenerate the daily life of the neighbourhood as well as the cultural and commercial activity in the area. “We want local people to understand that they can access the gardens for free, and we want to recover the cultural and daily activities,” he said.

According to the data, following the introduction of an entrance fee of €7 in 2013 the famous heritage gardens have seen a decrease in visitors, from approximately 9 million in 2012 to 2.7 in 2015.

Specifically, the work to be done will affect the ‘Sala Hipòstila,’ a chamber in the enclosure composed of 86 columns. Its restoration will cost €1.2 million and includes plans, among other undertakings, to restore its inner domes and to remodel and open the ‘Font de la Sarva,’ a fountain hitherto closed to the public. Construction work will last 16 months.

Also, €944,000 will be spent to repair the waterproofing and the system for collecting water from the Plaça de la Natura (Square of Nature), which in turn acts as the roof of the Hipòstila Sala. This will be done through a new drainage system that will be installed in six months.

Regarding the work outside the enclosure, the City Council will revamp the stairs of Pompeu Fabra Avenue, costing nearly €173,000. It will also set up the Glòria slope, well known for its mechanical stairs. These parts of the restoration, which in some cases include the burial of surfaces currently visible, will require about three months of work.

The project also wants to improve access to the entrance and the revival of this part of the park as a recreational space. To this end, the City Council will spend €390,000. It is expected that the work will be completed in four months. As part of this increased accessibility, according to Badia, the Municipal Government is looking for ways to facilitate entry for Barcelona residents bearing in mind that this is an area “saturated” and that it requires combining local public free access with the existence of a hosting capacity. Access to the Monumental Zone of Park Güell is limited to 400 tickets every half hour.

Read the full story in the CNA