Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona
No one likes a trip to the hospital, especially whilst on holidays; but a visit to the Hospital de Sant Pau is a ‘must stop by’ experience in Barcelona. Moreover, counting with an incredible location in THE DISTRICT OF EIXAMPLE, near the SAGRADA FAMILIA; it is hard to guess that this stunning set of buildings and gardens were recently a working hospital!
Declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997, the hospital was started by the funding of a Catalan banker; who declared in his will that a new hospital would be built and that it should be ‘the best’ in terms of architecture, healthcare and technology. However, it took nearly 30 years to build. Even so, the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner produced an unique and revolutionary design incorporating gardens and separate pavilions into the site.
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This spectacular site is another example of the amazing modernist architecture in Barcelona; and further epitomizes the progressive, charming and diverse city that Barcelona is. If only every hospital was like this!
Above all, it appears more like a modernist village than a hospital; and at the time it was a revolutionary idea to work in open spaces. On the other hand, the requirements were not only meant to be aesthetically pleasing but also a functional and hygienic hospital environment. Each pavilion serves its own specific purpose and is connected by underground corridors making it subsequently easier to move between them.
The origins of the Hospital date back to 1401, being one of the most visited hospitals in the city of Barcelona at the time. The mission was to form one large institution to be governed by representatives of the city and the Church. This association could work through a body known as the Very Illustrious Administration, still in place to this day. This is how the hospital originated as an unequivocal example of the civil Catalan Gothic period.
Subsequently, at the end of the 19th Century, the country underwent an economic and social transformation. The healthcare’s focus took a turn towards scientific medicine and embraced hygiene principals. And above all, due to the growth of the city, this hospital outgrew its premises and the construction of a new building was proposed.
The hospital in current times
In 1990, the Catalan government enter its place in the Hospital’s Board of Administration; moreover, since that moment the Board has been made up of two representatives from the Cathedral Chapter, two from the City council, and two from the Generalitat; all of them committed to building a new hospital.
In the same vein, in the year 2009, the hospital inaugurated its new premises! Including a healthcare complex in a separate building to the far north-east of the Art Nouveau wings. In addition, the new hospital includes five almost independent wings that meet at a great lobby that facilitates movement and communication around the entire complex.
What to see in the Hospital de Sant Pau
Either if you choose to participate in a solo-tour or the guided one, you must end up knowing the emblematic pieces of this building. First, every visit begins in the hypostyle hall, originally home to the Hospital’s emergency service. Then a series of the tunnels leads to the Sant Salvador Pavilion; this was the first operational building in 1916. Here, you’ll learn about the history of the old hospital.
Certainly, don’t forget to visit the gardens. As you walk among the plants and flowers, you’ll see the reason why nature was a source of inspiration for the Art Nouveau; and above all played a vital role in helping patients to recover.
If you want to learn more about the old times of the hospital, for instance, visit the Operations House and the Sant Rafael Pavilion. Counting with a historical recreation and the exhibition Patient and Doctor, from Narration to Objectivity. And for last, all the tours end with the Administration Pavilion. This is the most outstanding building on the site; certainly it integrates the various heritage spaces, full of light, color, mosaics, sculptures and a wealth of decorative detail.
Today you can certainly admire the magnificent modernist architecture by taking a guided tour of the site, for instance. At the moment, the hospital is under further renovations and in a restoration process; but you can still take a tour around the construction site to see the works in progress. As the area is currently under renovations, the itinerary of the tour may change accordingly.
- Self-Guided visit – 15€
- Guided visit – 20€; Children under 12 – 5€
- Audio guide – 4€
- Main entrance of the hospital: Monday to Friday from 06:30 to 22:00
- Tour schedules: Monday to Friday from 10:00-14:30; Weekends and holidays from 10:00-17:00
Times of daily tours in each language
- English – 10:00; 11:00; 12:00; & 13:00
- French – 10:30
- Spanish – 11:30
In the same vein, for more information about the tours visit the official website.
How to get to Hospital de Sant Pau
Moreover, if you are visiting the Sagrada Familia you can easily walk down Avenida Gaudí to the hospital within minutes!
Address: Carrer Sant Quintí, 89 08026 Barcelona, España.
Metro: L5 (Sant Pau/Dos de Maig), L4 (Guinardó)
Bus: 15, 19, 20, 45, 47, 50, 51, 92
So, if you are looking for comfortable accommodation to relax in after a visit to one of the emblematic places in Barcelona: the Hospital de Sant Pau; visit BARCELONA-HOME for a great variety of apartments and studios.