Friday, 21 June 2013

Barcelona Take Two - Sagrada Familia


Outside of Sagrada Familia.
I had to lie on the floor to take this.

Full Name: The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família
Location: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
For Opening Times and Costs Visit Website:
Visited: July 2012
Sagrada Familia at a distance.

I will start by saying the Sagrada Familia is one of the most stunning things I have ever seen; it is difficult to believe that the complex architecture and ornate carvings are ones which were started in the 19th Century, previous to the technological advances we have now.

Contrary to popular belief the concept was not a one originated by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi; however his involvement was paramount to the project from 1883. The idea of the church was that of Josep Maria Bocabella; it was to be a church by the people for the people - a church of The Holy Family. Initial architectural work was began by Francisco de Paula del Villar and took over by Antoni Gaudi in 1883 combining both Gothic and Art Nouveau design. Suffering a varies set-backs including funding issues; Spanish Civil War and fire, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is due for completion in 2026.

Inside of church is full of meaningful intricacies for which reason I advise investing in an audio guide on arrival. Some of which are featured below:

The Crusifiction of Christ
"I am the true vine"

Holy Trinity

Representation of The Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit by the triangle and covered by a circle showing the them as eternal.

The Evangelists - Matthew

The Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have dedication in the form of the pillars which form part of the architecture of the church.

Stained Glass Windows

The Lord's Prayer in Portuguese

The doors to Sagrada Familia features The Lord's Prayer in 50 languages; this is continued within the church, the prayer being displayed in entirety on banners. The many languages highlight that Christianity is universal.

The three entrances to the church represent the three virtues of faith, hope and love; each featuring an individual façade dedicated to a point in Christ's life.

The Passion Façade

The Passion Façade is dedicated to Christ's suffering; representing the time leading up to betrayal and crusifiction. The façade aims to show the sins of man; Gaudi intending on people to feel fear on looking at it.

The Nativity Façade

The Nativity Facade is possibly the most ornate part of the church and the first façade to reach completion. Representing the birth of Christ and symbolising life the façade features the traditional nativity scene of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and Angels. The majority of the outside architecture is uncoloured; however the tree of life (below) shows a flicker of colour with white doves of peace landing on it.

The Tree of Life

The Glory Façade, on which construction started in 2002 will show the road to God the Father through Death, Judgement and Glory. Not neglecting the other side of things being hell and thus depicting the seven deadly sins.

The museum attached to The Sagrada Familia features of Gaudi's plans and artistic interpretation of the how the church will look on completion, which is scheduled for 2026. A particularly novel idea of Gaudi's was the way in which he worked out the structuring for arches and towers within the church. Gaudi made upside-down models of the buildings with weights hung to represent the bearings and fitted a mirror above to see the correct-way-up version (below).

Gaudi's Novel Idea
This has been somewhat of a whistle-stop tour of The Sagrada Familia and I couldn't possibly cover everything; in order to fully appreciate it you MUST take a visit there and spend a good few hours appreciating the beauty of it.


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