Parks are abundant throughout the city of Barcelona, some are small, others quite massive. The Parc de Labirint d’Horta, the Labyrinth Park, was once part of a privately owned estate, currently owned and operated by the city of Barcelona for public enjoyment. Built in 1791 by Marquis Joan Antoni Desvalls of d’Ardena, the modern day park was created to be the gardens for the palace he was building. Desvalls collaborated with the Italian architect Domenico Bagutti, when planning the first part of his garden. This section is known as the neoclassical garden, and is considered by most to be the more unique and interesting part of the garden. Bagutti designed the famed Labyrinth, the namesake of the park, with a statue of Eros, the God of Love as the center and end point of the maze. The neoclassical section also includes three pavilions built in the Italian neoclassical style dedicated to various Greek Gods.
Later the garden was expanded by the architect Elies Rogent who created the romantic section of the garden. Large planters filled with flowers and bordered by trees occupy the majority of the garden, which also includes a waterfall and canal. Combined the gardens cover an area of over 22 acres. When compared to the neoclassical garden, many visitors believe the romantic portion pales in comparison to the more commanding and eye-catching neoclassical piece. During the 1800s and 1900s the Devalls palace including their sprawling gardens were used as a meeting place for society’s elite; the palace grounds have been graced by the visits of three kings. Large events such as celebrations, outdoor theater performances, and games were commonly held in the park. Today the gardens evoke a modern day sense of mystery and intrigue, due in large part to the maze. The park was given to the city of Barcelona in 1967 and was opened to the public in 1971.
As a class we have visited a few parks, one of the largest being the Cituadella park, with its substantial fountain and lake. Because of its mystical aura, however, the class decided to work together to capture the magic of the Labyrinth park gardens in a photo essay. Uniting at the Mundet metro station, the class wandered up the small hill to the top where the park is located. While exploring the park some of us captured the romantic allure emanating from the beautiful flowers and plants. Still, others saw a different side of the garden, a mysterious one in which they were intrigued by a slightly darker side portrayed in the twisting pathways and the labyrinth design. It’s easy to get lost in a city, such as Barcelona, but it’s quite a different feeling to be lost capturing the beauty and hidden aspects of garden. —Akemi Arzouman