Basilica de la Sagrada Familia

Whew! That was definitely a mouthful to say………….or just call it Sagrada Familia like most do. It is the largest, unfinished Roman Catholic church and ‘related’ to other buildings in Barcelona. One of my first Barcelona blog posts mentioned a gentleman named Gaudi. This was his largest and most involved project – and it’s not done – yet.

Crowds are so big, arrival reservations are needed to space out the people. We were actually late. 😦 Earlier that morning, we got on the subway, and waited and waited and waited. An announcement came on and everyone that understood, got off. Finally someone explained it to us. It had broke down and no immediate fix was coming. We started walking.

Time for a few quick photos outside of the church before heading in. There is soooooo much detail on this facade. You could look at this for hours, look away, then start over again finding many more things you missed earlier.

Everyone enters the basilica through these doorways, with the entrance called the Nativity Facade facing the rising sun.

Enter those portals and you’re greeted by this. It is an amazing sight.

Construction was started in 1882. At one point Gaudi himself took over the construction project and devoted the remainder of his life to it. He is buried in the crypt, below the pulpit. At his death one quarter of the basilica was complete.

Right above this was one of the organs in the church having 1492 pipes, placed 2010. To overcome the unique challenges of this building and size, several organs will be placed in other parts of the building. They will have the capability to be played separately or simultaneously with over 8000 total pipes when complete. That is a lot of sound!

As found in all religious buildings, there was an abundance of stained glass. This takes it to a whole different level.

Construction for the basilica passed its midpoint in 2010 with 2026 an anticipated completion date. Covid will have an impact upon that, pushing it back several years. No updated timeline has been shared – that I could find.

The unfinished building could be used for religious purposes beginning mid-2010. Here is a shot from the back, looking toward the pulpit, the focal point being the gold ‘umbrella.’

This was another amazing shot. The ceiling. Taken from the center of the building.

Even the staircases were uniquely designed. I counted at least four that were obvious.

In another corner, we noticed stanchions and a line. What could that be????? Could it be a way to reach the rooftop viewing? YES!!! We were directed to another window to purchase an upgraded ticket which gave us that option. S.C.O.R.E. There was a small elevator taking approx 6 individuals up at a time. Guess who went up?

Adrienne was there also, but somehow, I missed a shot with all of us. Being up this high gave me chance for an overarching view of the Barcelona skyline.

Turning 180 degrees around we saw these sculptures up close. They were a bit odd. Yes, those sculptures represent grapes and wheat. One thing I read was that people of Barcelona either love or hate this building. It is very, very different.

Before going up, you are warned……… must walk down a narrow staircase. They weren’t kidding. Yikes!!! Not all of the staircase was this well-lit. 300+ steps, down and down and down.

I did see these fun and unique ‘gargoyles’ or downspouts. Not really gargoyles per se’, but they serve a similar purpose.

Eric commented several days afterwards he could still ‘feel’ the unused muscles screaming from walking down the 300+ steps. Did I mention how many steps? Yes, yes I did. 300+

Before leaving the building, wanted to share this brief video of the church.

Walking outside and looking up, you are greeted by this sight. The exit portal is called the Passion Facade. It is striking for the gaunt, tormented characters.

It faces the setting sun, indicative and symbolic of the death of Christ. The facade was intended to portray the sins of man.

One of the things I read about included the ‘magic square’ seen behind the sculpture below. The rows, the columns or diagonal lines have sums all adding up to 33 – the age of Jesus at his death.

Stepping out a little further, the austerity was more prevalent. The pyramid pediment was sculpted to appear bone-like, furthering the look of suffereing.

It culminates in a large cross with a crown of thorns.

While not likely we will be visiting upon completion, inside was another exhibit sharing a virtual view of the temple completely finished. It will be a site to behold.

There will be a total of 18 towers. The central tower will be the tallest, dedicated to Jesus Christ.

The visitor and entrance fees finance the construction budget for this huge project. It was never intended to be a cathedral, but a large building for events. Go figure. Completion of the spires will make this the tallest church building in the world and an impressive site. I can’t wait.


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