Carl Faust: the founder

The founder of Marimurtra Botanical Garden, Carl Faust, was born in Hadamar, a small town near Frankfurt am Main, in 1874. The house where he was born still remains in a street dedicated to him. Although he showed a clear penchant for natural sciences from a very early age, his family pushed him to focus on commercial activities which brought him to Barcelona, where he and a business partner founded the company Faust & Kaufmann, SA, which still exists to this day.

Faust never forgot his passion for nature, and so he started looking for the ideal location to create a botanical garden. He chose Blanes and in 1924, when he was fifty years old, gave up his managerial tasks in the company and devoted himself to consolidating the Marimurtra Botanical Garden.

Faust was a humanist influenced by the thinking of his compatriot Johann W. von Goethe and wished to do something useful for mankind. He was strongly attracted by the Mediterranean lands, the classical world, and his dream was to create “an Epicurean republic of young biologists”, where scholars and students could work amid “an interesting garden, an ideal atmosphere and a Hellenic landscape”.

He started organising the Garden and the acclimatisation of exotic plants advised by recognised European and Catalan botanists: Josias Braun-Blanquet, Eric Sventenius, Pius Font i Quer, Carlos Pau and Josep Cuatrecasas among others.

From very early on Faust was concerned with helping young scientists who worked in the Garden and its laboratory, such as Ramon Margalef, who later became a world renowned marine ecologist. An exceptional figure in the Catalan scientific world, his role as a patron of biological sciences also became evident when he took an important part in organising the SIGMA (Station Internationale de Géobotanique Méditerranéenne et Alpine) trip in 1934, which began the phytosociology in Catalonia. No less noteworthy was his altruism, which became manifest especially during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and the Second World War (1939-45)

Faust died on 24th April 1952 in Blanes, in his house at Marimurtra, and was buried in the town cemetery. A bronze statue on the promenade pays homage to this life and work.

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