When you hear for the first time “Linnaeus temple” surely one question comes to mind: Who is Linnaeus? Well, this great man was a distinguished Swedish scientist and naturalist. So what does the name of a Swedish botanist have to do with the name of a temple on the Costa Brava? Most likely, once the attention falls on this small structure, part of the Marimurtra Garden, the mind will focus on the huge beauty of the place. Because this simple temple gives us one of the most impressive postcards of the entire Costa Brava. Pure Mediterranean in Blanes, Girona.
If you’re a bit of a biologist, like Linnaeus, you could say that you can’t understand the part without the whole. Thus, this temple is part of a botanical garden. It was precisely botanics that Carolus Linnaeus devoted himself. His main contribution also has to do with naming, since he is considered the father of biological taxonomy. This is the science that organizes living things, so inventing it was not a minor advance. In fact, it was a major one.
Back to the main topic, as said the complex containing the Linnaeus or Linné templet is the Marimurtra Garden. It is the philanthropic work of a German commercialist, Karl Faust. He was an heir to the romantic thinking so brilliantly condensed by Goethe in the work of the same name, Faust. As the 20th century began, he made his fortune and his destiny took him to Catalonia. Once he became rich he focused on what he liked the most: knowledge. That is why he chose this spot on the Costa Brava to set up a garden that would condense the wealth of plants from all over the planet.
It took him a long time. From the mid-twenties until the end of his life he fought fervently to make his dream come true. His contacts and tenacity ensured that the bombs did not devastate the place during the Civil War. He also managed not to lose it after the confiscations to Germans derived from World War II. Finally, just before his death, the foundation that would protect his legacy was made official. The Marimurtra garden and, with it, the Linnaeus temple, had their future assured.
Karl Faust’s admiration for knowledge is appreciated throughout the Marimurtra Garden. Its streets and avenues are tributes to Western philosophers, artists and scientists. It is obvious that Linnaeus was held in high esteem, given the space he named in his honor. Within the sector that embraces the Mediterranean vegetation, the temple is located on the cliffs of the Costa Brava. From there it looks directly over the sea that formed the soul of the West.
It has a classical Greek style. The exquisite simplicity of the bandstand and its columns clearly shows the mentality that guided Karl Faust. He wanted to create an idyllic environment that would allow his fellow scientists to sublimate their thinking. And he succeeded. The views provided by the Linnaeus or Linné temple play in the first division of Mediterranean balconies. One almost expects to see Odysseus passing by in search of the elusive Ithaca.
The temple is reached from another key point of Marimurtra: the stairs of Epicurus. The Greek philosopher developed a measured hedonism, which sought pleasure from restraint. It is no coincidence that his school in Athens was a garden. In fact, it is called ‘The Garden‘, with a capital letter. There he opened himself to all, slaves and women included. Faust drew on its model for his creation, which aspired to be nothing less than an epicurean republic, a center of thought beyond nations. As for the staircase, it is flanked by specimens of the species Drossanthemum floribundum. The ephemeral sea of flowers that they generate in spring competes in beauty with the temple and justifies how difficult it is to pronounce its name thanks to taxonomy.
The combo of the Epicurus stairs and the Linnaeus temple is surely the highlight of the Marimurtra Garden. But the complex itself, managed by the Carl Faust Foundation, is enough for a whole morning, even if you are a botany lover. The Mediterranean wing is complemented by the temperate and subtropical wings. The aura that the whole place has, fruit of the mere intention of doing Karl Faust good, can be appreciated almost physically.
Blanes is the urban center where Marimurtra and its temple are located. Opening of the Costa Brava, summarizes the attractions of the Catalan coast. Beaches and coves of great beauty, seafaring spirit, hard cliffs and heritage in abundance. El Convent, the castle of Sant Joan or the church of Santa Marina are clear examples of this. The harbor and the main sandy area of the town offer a variety of sea activities.
The proximity of the AP-7 and C-32 highways allows you to move quickly to the north and south. Depending on what you want to cover, you can reach the capital Girona or the cosmopolitan Barcelona. Closer are the countless possibilities of the Costa Brava. Lloret del Mar or Sant Feliú de Guíxols are just a stone’s throw away, with coves, hiking trails and even golf courses. In between, the local gastronomy cannot be underestimated, especially the seafood rice dishes. As you can see, enough for a getaway or a whole holiday set.
The Linnaeus temple brings together, in a tiny space, the aesthetics of the body of water that originated the European thought. All this in a garden that concentrates the five continents and raised by the mere fact of doing good. Practically speaking, the views alone justify the trip. Spiritual and prosaic reasons come together in the most philosophical Weekend Getaway imaginable. One that could well be titled, paraphrasing film director Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty.