Sagrada Familia

Barcelona is the city of Antoni Gaudi, a spanish architect responsible for numerous iconic buildings in the city.  The most grand of which is the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia.  Construction on it began in the 1880’s and continues to this day.  At first we were a little disappointed to think we were going to go see an incomplete cathedral covered in scaffolding and cranes.  Then we thought about it and realized there aren’t many other churches like this still being built today.  So it’s a very special opportunity to see something of this scale and this type of design while it’s still under construction.  I know there are new sky scrapers being built all the time but this is different.  This was designed over 100 years ago, is a mix of different aesthetic styles, and the building itself is a work of art.  I hope to return one day when it is complete to see the final masterpiece.

Nativity Facade-first completed facade.

The first part of the basilica we came upon was the Nativity facade.  It was the first one completed and is the only facade reflecting Gaudi’s true style.  As you can see it’s extremely busy, ornate, and strange looking.  It does not look like your typical European church!  This facade has several scenes depicting the birth of Jesus and  his early life.  There are also the Passion facade depicting the crucifixion of Jesus, and the Glory facade which will represent his resurrection.  Each facade looks extremely different from the other.  The Sagrada Familia has towers upon towers and even has mosaic fruit sculptures adorning it.

Right now the entrance is through the Passion Facade.  When you round the corner and see this compared to the Nativity Facade, it is extremely different.  This side is much more stark and austere.  The figures are sculpted in a very geometric style, it lends itself very well to the feelings of despair that accompany the death of Christ.  These sculptures were not designed by Gaudi but by Josep Maria  Subriachs.  Though Gaudi did leave detailed plans for future architects since he knew he would not live to see the cathedral completed.

Passion Facade.

Walking through the doors to enter the building.

When you enter the Sagrada Familia, the interior can really take your breath away.  It was designed to look like a forest.  The columns branch out like trees and the ceiling is covered in what is designed to look like palm fronds. Gaudi was a lover of nature and this is another way you can see his love reflected in his work.  The other really striking part of the interior is the array of colors reflecting through all the stained glass.

Even little girl was amazed the beautiful ceiling and surroundings!

View of the elaborate and gorgeous ceiling.
Light reflecting from the stained glass.
View of three windows, one of which is still incomplete.
View down the nave from what will become the main entrance when the Glory facade is completed.
Loving our time wandering the cathedral.
Forrest of columns.
Another view of the ceiling.

After spending easily over an hour just in the nave the audio guide led us back out to the Nativity facade.  You could spend hours staring at it and examining all the intricate details.  There is a mosaic “tree of life” in the center covered in doves.  Many say this facade looks as if it is melting.

Model of what the completed cathedral will look like.

Turtle carved into the base of a column.
Somebody had a great time on the tour!

The final area we toured was the museum underneath the cathedral.  There were original drawings by Gaudi, views into the workshop, videos about the construction, photos of the cathedral through various stages of construction, etc.  We throughly enjoyed our day at the basilica.  We spent much longer there than we had planned for.  It really is an amazing sight to see and probably my favorite church that I have visited.  Pictures can not do it justice, and it is so different than any other church you will see in Europe.  If you ever go to Barcelona this is definitely a “must!”