It has been over 30 years since I have been in Barcelona and it has grown stronger as a melting pot of different races. One has only to walk around Las Ramblas to witness the thousands of people who have come from different parts of the world to have a taste of Spanish culture.
One of the major attractions in this Spanish City is the Basilica known all over the world as the Sagrada Famila. Officially known in Spanish as Templo Expiatorio De La Sagrada, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic Church that is shaped like a Latin Cross. There is no known church or building like the Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia is a unique and a grand masterpiece that is located in the heart of Barcelona.
The monumental church is dedicated to Jesus, Mary and Joseph, or the Holy Family, which the church has derived its name. Jesus, Mary and Joseph are considered the most important saintly figures in all of the Catholic pantheon.Construction of this magnificent church was started in 1882 under architect Paula de Villar who resigned a year later. Antoni Gaudi, a Catalan Architect, took over as the Chief Architect. Gaudi‘s artistic vision was a mix of Gothic and Art Nouveau, with curvilinear forms, which is how the Basilica appears today.
The church‘s construction history is not replete with changes. Historical background of the church records more than a few obstructions of its construction. These include the death of Gaudi in 1926 with only about 25 percent of the church complete; an interruption of work during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 which had caused the destruction of Gaudi‘s plans and workshop by the Catalan Anarchists and, in 2011, an arsonist started a fire in the sacristy. Despite all of these unfortunate events construction of the Basilica continues today under the direction of Jodi Fauli as Chief Architect. It is expected that the Basilica will be complete in 2026.
The Church has three important facades: The first is the Nativity Facade which faces east.
The Passion Facade is well oriented facing west.
The Glory Facade faces south.
The images below are full of symbolism. The symbol that they represent can be best explained by someone well versed with the story of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the lives they led.
There are architectural details that can escape the eye and can only be appreciated if one is up at the observation tower. The following can then be seen up close from that vantage point.
As one enters the church from its eastern entrance, one could not miss the colorful bronze door of the Portal of Charity of the Nativity facade. The door was created by the Japanese Sculptor Etsuro Soto. Inspired by nature, Etsuro Soto adorned the door with Flowers, Ivy leaves and insects.
While standing on the middle of the central nave, one eyes pans upward on the large columns to reveal the most magnificent vaulted ceiling. The design was intended to mimic trees and reveals Gaudi’s love of nature.
A crucified Christ is suspended from the ceiling with a decorative umbrella over it.
The stained glass windows are central to Gaudi’s design to allow natural light to illuminate the interior of the church. The impressive stained glass windows are as high as a two story building and stands for some christian symbolism. The window at the transept area represents the Resurrection of Christ while others represent different saints and religious figures.
One of interest is a holy water font that is attached to a wall. The font is a big sea shell and the information about it reveals that it was donated by the Philippine Government. I did not notice whether there are more of this sea shell but I must admit that I have not seen anything like it in size.
There are more beautiful and artistic impressions that are woven with religious symbols that are in this magnificent church. Photographic images, such as in this page, do no render them justice. One may only appreciate the beauty of the vision of Antoni Gaudi by visiting the church in person. I hope you do.