Parc del Laberint d'Horta
Photos © Alice Joyce
Near the main thoroughfare of Germans Desvalls is the entrance to the Horta Gardens. Here, the property's semi-restored mansion reflects an interesting pastiche of styles influenced by Moorish and Gothic architecture. The exterior is said to have been covered at one time with frescoes, while the presence of a 12th century watchtower, the Torre Sabiana, reflects the structure's antiquity.
Currently used as offices for the city's Parks and Gardens department, the building stands adjacent to a more contemporary gardenscape, built and enjoyed early-on by the estate's owners. Delineated by boxwood topiary, the setting is now lush with flower beds, mature palm trees and camellias.
Generally one enters the Parc del Laberint d'Horta along the walkway opposite the mansion's gardens. Looking at a plan of the grounds reveals a complex layout, encompassing romantic grottoes, canals, and a bevy of secreted spaces encountered along dense paths through the woods.
If you choose not to approach the maze directly, but take a side path instead, you'll pass through the Porta Xinesa or Chinese Gate, and come upon a secluded spot. The gateway, with its delightful openwork design and peaked roof, sets the tone for a perfectly composed, intimate space embraced by the surrounding woodland. Low, trimmed hedging articulates the geometry of the garden. A space open to the sky, and centered upon a circular pool, and the plashing of a simple waterspout fountain.