Palau Reial de Pedralbes

Barcelona, Spain

Palau Reial de Pedralbes

The Palau Reial de Pedralbes (Catalan pronunciation: [pəˈlaw rəˈjal də pəˈðɾalβəs]; English: "Pedralbes Royal Palace"; Spanish: "Palacio Real de Pedralbes") is a building placed in the middle of an ample garden in the district of Les Corts, in Barcelona. From 1919 until 1931 it was the residence for the Spanish Royal Family when they visited the city. It houses the Museu de la Ceramica (ceramic museum), Museu Tèxtil i d'Indumentària and Museu de les Arts Decoratives (interior design museum), both part of the Disseny Hub Barcelona and is the permanent seat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).

The palace has its origins in the old Masia (mas or farmer's house) de Can Feliu, from the 17th century. The corresponding land was acquired by the count Eusebi Güell in 1872 that at that time it was already known by the name of Torre Güell, along with the neighbouring Can Cuiàs de la Riera. Together they formed the Finca Güell, an extensive parcel of land (30,000 m2). The Can Feliu building was remodeled by the architect Joan Martorell i Montells, who built a Caribbean-style small palace, together with a Gothic Revival-style chapel and surrounded by magnificent gardens. Later the building remodeling was given to Antoni Gaudí in 1887, together with the construction of a surrounding perimeter wall and the side entry pavilions. Gaudí also partially designed the gardens surrounding the palace, placing two fountains and a pergola and planted many Mediterranean plants like palm trees, cypress trees, magnolias, pine trees and eucalyptus. The Font d'Hércules (Hercules fountain) still exists today on site, restored in 1983; it has a bust of Hercules on top of a pillar with Catalonia's shield and a spout in the shape of a Chinese dragon.

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