Old Hospital de la Santa Creu, Barcelona
The Hospital de Sant Pau i de la Santa Creu is a 15th-century building in Barcelona, which formerly served as a hospital and hospice.
The foundation stone was laid in 1401 in the presence of the king Martin the Humane. The building, by Guillem d'Abriell, was planned on a grand scale in the form of four two-storey wings surrounding a cloister.
The work was largely complete by 1414, but construction was resumed a century later using more refined construction techniques. During the 16th century, one of the four wings was demolished and another court was built adjacent to the first, and this still retains the monumental stairs that now give access to the Biblioteca de Catalunya.
The ensemble includes a small Gothic church adjacent to Carrer Hospital and a 15th-century house (formerly the Hospital's archive) with a Flamboyant Gothic doorway.
In 1703, Antoni Viladomat, one of the most significant Catalan painters of the Baroque period, painted the chapel of Saint Paul.
By the end of the 19th century the hospital had become outdated because of the growth of the city and the advances that had been made in medicine and hygiene, and so it was moved to a new site at the Hospital de Sant Pau, built between 1902 and 1930. Antoni Gaudí died here in June 1926 after an accident, a month before the hospital was closed down.
In 1926 the building was purchased by the City Council, who began restoring it. It now houses the Biblioteca de Catalunya (since 1939), the Institut d'Estudis Catalans (since 1931), the Escola Massana (since 1935) and two public libraries run by the Diputació de Barcelona. On 3 June 1931 it was declared a Monument of National Historic and Artistic Interest.
This article is adapted from the Catalan Wikipedia.
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