Hospital de Sant Pau

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

Even a hospital in Barcelona is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This amazing work of the Catalan Art Nouveau can be seen while going up along Avinguda Gaudi from the Sagrada Familia church. The hospital complex that occupies nine quarters of the Eixample was built by one of the most prominent Catalonian architects, Lluis Domenech i Montaner. The construction of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul) began in 1902 for the donation of a rich Catalonian banker, Pau Gil, and lasted till 1930 when the works were supervises already by Domenech’s son.

The hospital of the Holy Cross existed already in the early 15th century when five clinics were unified. In the 16th century it expanded and by the beginning of the 20th century it was already unable meet the demands of the city population. The new name originated in the process of the construction – Hospital of Saint Paul (by the name of the sponsor).

A tall spire seen from a long distance, marvelous facade decorated with statues, stained glass windows and arches – one can reasonably suppose that this is a museum or a theater, but certainly not a hospital administration block. Behind it there are pavilions of almost the same beauty the number of which was supposed to be 48, according to Domenech’s plan, however there are only 12. These are surrounded by trees making them even less reminiscent of a hospital. Nevertheless it was built with the highest health care standards of the time in mind: the complex is aligned from north to south which gives the maximum amount of sunlight to the hospital pavilions, large spaces between the buildings provide lots of fresh air flavored by aromatic and healing plants of the hospital garden. All rooms and halls are covered with tiles, while the buildings are interconnected by subterranean galleries. All pavilions have the same structure – hospital rooms, resting areas, viewing rooms and consulting rooms – each and every are decorated with plasterwork, sculptures, mosaics and various symbolic depictions.

The hospital operated until 2009 when it became clear that a serious renovation is necessary. After it was finished a museum, cultural center and a library opened here. Some areas can only be visited with a guide (tours in English, French, Catalan and Spanish).

Address: Carrer Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167
Opening hours: April – October Mon-Sat 10 am – 6.30 pm, Sun and holidays 10 am – 2.30 pm; closed December 25, 26, January 1, 6, 25, February 12, April 23, May 9, September 24 and on the first Sunday of each month; free entry
How to reach: metro Sant Pau / Dos de Maig L5
Coordinates: 41.41186, 2.174284