Friday, 11 March 2016

Beautiful Reus, home of Gaudi and Vermut

We learned a lot about Art Nouveau architecture on
Wednesday when we visited the nearby city of Reus. It is the capital of the Baix Camp region and there is ongoing debate as to its origins. The name may have either Roman or Celtic roots. The earliest history we saw mentioned was inscribed on a metal plaque in the pavement: the granting of a weekly market, on Mondays, by King Jaume II in 1310. Nowadays Reus seems to be most famous for its manufacture of Vermut, a drink for which we are both developing a taste, and for one of its sons, the architect Antoni Gaudi. Perversely, although Gaudi was born in Reus, the city doesn't include any buildings of his design so the gorgeous architecture everywhere is by other men.

Reus does acknowledge Gaudi's childhood home which we
Gaudi's childhood home 
walked to. It is still a private house so cannot be visited, but there is a large metal installation outside. We did visit the Gaudi Centre instead. This excellent museum bills itself as an interactive experience and is good value for its €9 entrance fee (€5 for seniors!). As well as details of Gaudi's life and work, it also offers information about what was known as Catalan Modernisme, an art and architectural movement in the early twentieth century which has left its mark all across Reus. Personally, I thought that the interactive angle was the least successful part of the Centre. The audiotour headsets start automatically as sensors are passed, but some sensor ranges overlap and cancel each other out. And when I returned to look at a display or model again, the commentary would restart itself. I find it difficult to concentrate with someone jabbering away all the time so I soon gave up on the audiotour! Several short films are very informative, especially those demonstrating Gaudi's innovative techniques, and I loved the Parc Guell model which illustrated how rainwater is gathered for irrigation purposes. We visited Parc Guell (in Barcelona) a few years ago and I would never have realised all that was going on under our feet! Also fascinating is a photographic display which places architectural Gaudi features next to images of the natural phenomena that inspired him.

I took numerous photographs of beautiful buildings and
the following are some of my favourites and the ones which came out best. Most are examples of designs by either Lluis Domenech i Montaner or Pere Caselles. These flowers are street art in Placa de la Farinerva for which I could not find the artist's name. This Placa has at least a half dozen blue floor tile features too, each one illustrated with a tool used in the grain-milling process, and boasts a superbly decorated bar that still incorporates many of the original features of its former life as a ferreteria (a hardware store).

Casa Gasull by Lluis Domenech i Montaner (1911-1912) 
Unknown architect but I loved the dragon designs 
Estacio Enologica by Pere Caselles (1906-1910) 
Unknown building ornately dated 1915 at the top 



  1. Wow - I love those flowers across the doorway. They lift street art to a new level.

    1. Beautiful, aren't they. I really do love Spanish street art. The artists are so talented!

  2. Reus looks absolutely gorgeous - it's somewhere I've always wanted to travel but I've never quite made it there, but I'll definitely be looking into whether I can hop a train from Granada next time I've over in Spain.

    Sammy xo.

  3. Reus certainly is worth a visit, but is about 13 hours by two trains from Granada. You could justify the trip more by taking in Tarragona too!