Hospital de Sant Pau: a Healing Site.

We’ll visit the Hospital de Sant Pau every time we go to Barcelona. Well, we will while it remains the city’s secret treasure: uncrowded, simply beautiful and offering balm to the soul just as it did to the patients who were – and are – cared for there. I wrote a little about its history last year.

I won’t repeat myself. Instead, I’ll try to convey something of the peace of this city site: something of its space, its lush greenness which was such an important part of its design. Doctors heal the body: gardens heal the mind.

I call it a city site, and these days, so it is, situated on busy main roads surrounded by buses, taxis, cars, shops, city workers, tourists. When it was built, it was outside Barcelona and rather hard to reach, along rutted tracks and surrounded by fields. The area looked like this:

We made another discovery on our visit this time. Nobody seems to mention the church on the site. We stumbled across it by accident, and I’ve had real difficulty finding out anything about it. But the modernista Esglesia de l’hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau is definitely worth a detour. Pillars soar heavenwards. Austerely plain walls are broken up by horizontal bands of blue tiles. Stained glass is in earth-and-sky colours. Most astonishing of all are the two – yes two – pulpits. One is borne aloft by the bull who is the symbol of Saint Luke; and the other by the lion who symbolises Saint Mark. Do visit it. You’ll have the place to yourself.

Most people pass the doors of this church without thinking to pop inside.

Click on any image to view it full size.

This is an entry for today’s RDP Challenge: verdant.

19 thoughts on “Hospital de Sant Pau: a Healing Site.”

  1. The stained glass windows are really striking, as well as the bull and lion sculptures. And it does look quiet and peaceful, and healing. In a way, I hope these spots remain secret and serene.

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  2. The photo through the window, the one with the stained glass decorating the top sections and showing the ornate architecture behind, captures a serene quality. You can imagine a patient pausing to gaze through and being gently soothed by the combination of glass and view. After spending two weekends in two different hospitals (UCH and Ipswich) with family members (minor stuff), I think some enhanced beautiful views would have been very welcome.

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    1. I agree. Malcolm’s recently had two spells in hospital, and the experience was definitely ameliorated by his having a window-side bed in each case, one with a view of the park, and the next with trees. A bed in Sant Pau might have been even better!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, ‘verdant’ is not often something one associates with a hospital. The church too is remarkable. The brick columns are impressive and I also like the bands of blue tiles.

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  4. Wow! The church looks amazing, Margaret! We were in awe of the hospital, still behind fences when we visited Barcelona. I doubt we’ll go back but we have some great memories 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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