The Temple Expiatori Sagrada Familia is One of Barcelona’s Great Wonders:
Think of Barcelona and Antonio Gaudi easily comes to mind. Whilst Gaudi did not create Barcelona, he most certainly is Barcelona’s patron architect. Much of the city bears his stamp and nowhere is this more evident than in his unfinished masterpiece, Temple Expiatori Sagrada Família (The Temple of the Holy Family), or simply La Sagrada Familia.
The Magnificent Sagrada Familia
Work on this magnificent Gaudi cathedral began in 1883 but halted after the architect’s untimely death from a tram accident in 1926.
On its way to becoming as tall as nearby Montjuic mountain (564 feet/172m), this tribute to the architect’s passion is one of Barcelona’s great wonders. Over a 125 years later, this Gaudi cathedral is still actively under construction, and is scheduled to continue for the next 30 years.
Amazingly, the very expensive construction of La Sagrada Família has been financed mostly from donations and the contributions of millions of people over the years.
Sagrada Familia Towers
The exterior is a series of spires surrounding a narrow portal that admits visitors to the interior. When the church is completed, it will have 18 towers, as planned by Gaudi – 12 dedicated to the apostles, one to Jesus, another to Mary and 4 to the evangelists. The towers will be of varying heights, according to the symbolic hierachy they represent.
But before going in, take time to marvel at the hundreds of small friezes that adorn the facade. There are figures of saints and ordinary folk alike, all done in a fantastic modern style unlike any other church. At times, they appear almost cubist.
Note the many high-arched windows that surround Sagrada Familia, shedding light to the interior of the church that glows like a candle on a sunny day. Higher above them the slits in the spires are still more narrow, bringing the eye up to the top and then the sky.
A Wonder to BeholdOn the ground floor there are several reconstructed scale models of the work as Gaudi envisioned it. Most of the originals were destroyed.
Photographs show the progress of construction as the building has gone through several stages. There are some of Gaudi’s funeral, as well. Visitors who look closely at them can see many reflections of elements in the building. The Nativity scene, the story of the serpent in the garden and many others are easily visible at the base of the central column of the Portal of Charity. The column itself is a work of sculpture unlike that found in any other city, with a complete genealogy of Christ.
Yet even the relatively plain columns are a wonder to behold. Starting out with simple Greek-style fluting they arch seamlessly high above the visitor’s head where they branch out like living trees. Joining them are a series of organic-looking flowers in stone.
Nearby is the Portal of Faith with scenes of Jesus preaching as a teen, surrounded by religious symbols such as grapes and wheat. The Portal of Hope on the other side shows animals and plants from the Nile, another site with religious significance. Sculptures of Joseph and Mary sit beneath a sculpted boat piloted by St. Joseph.
With Gaudi’s idiosyncratic architecture, La Sagrada Familia is easily the most famous building and a top tourist attraction, in a city which has many of them. The Temple Expiatori Sagrada Família could consume a day on any visit to Barcelona. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours musing among the hundreds of items to see. Audio guides are available as are guided tours.
Barcelona has a great range of hotels to choose from however if you want to be close to the Sagrada Familia, Ayre Hotel Rosellón is only 200 metres away. Dailyflats Rosselló apartments are modern apartments that are also 2 minutes walk to Sagrada Familia. For the complete list of Barcelona hotels see Here.
See Sagrada Familia photos at Travelsignposts photo gallery HERE.
Calle Mallorca 401
What questions does this raise for you?