La Sagrada Familia (the Church of the Holy Family) is one of Gaudí's most famous works - and is also one of the most visited and popular places in Barcelona. Construction started in 1882, but the design of the Basilica is very complicated, and is not expected to be completed for between 30 to 80 years! As Gaudí is known to have said: "My client (God) is in no hurry..."
I have heard mixed opinions about La Sagrada Familia, but I found it to be a very interesting and magnificent building. Detailed facades, impressive towers and spires, and a breathtaking interior with high ceilings, stained glass windows, many huge columns, and much more...
I took the lift up the towers and enjoyed the view from the top. I also visited the museum which tells the history of La Sagrada Familia; here are scale models, photographs showing the development, and a few other items. And just outside the Basilica is the Sagrada Familia School which is open to visitors. It was built by Gaudí for the sons of the men working on La Sagrada Familia, and also holds a couple of exhibitions.
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is the famous church designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
This temple is the main symbol of Barcelona. Wiliar began the construction of the building in 1882, but this year he was replaced by Gaudi. The temple was erected exclusively on private donations. As financial assets constantly did not suffice, the construction was stretched for many years and is not finished till now. The temple has been conceived by Gaudi as a symbol of expiation of sins of whole Barcelona. It have been started to build in the center of one of the poorest areas of the city. When Gaudi was asked about termination dates of the construction, he answered "My customer (the god) does not hurry up."
The architect has devoted realization of the grandiose project all his life, but has not finished it.
Now - rough termination date of construction - 2020.
You can watch my
2 min 32 sec Video Barcelona Sagrada Familia part 1 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
3 min 10 sec Video Barcelona Sagrada Familia part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
Construction on the Sagrada Familia started in 1882 with another architect, but it wasn’t going well (too much money, not much progress) so they fired him and hired Gaudi in 1883. He worked on it until he died in 1926, and others carried on afterward. It still isn’t finished—they hope for a completion date of 2026, the centennial of Gaudi’s death. Funding is private—there is no government money or official church sponsorship involved—so that slows the work. (Ticket money from tourists is the major funding mechanism now.)
Whether you love it or hate it, there is nothing anything like it anywhere. Most of the exterior is the fussy, too much of everything, 'no plain stone anywhere' sort of style. Inside, it is totally different—sleek pillars that look like tall trees lean inwards, and there is a crucifix that looks like He is parachuting.
There are 3 different facades—the Nativity façade is in the fussy style and the statues in it are traditional. The Passion façade has carvings that are modern, unadorned, and very expressive. The third façade is still being constructed, and I didn’t see it.
One interesting exhibit on our tour—computers and autocad were before Gaudi’s time, so he made a big frame and hung little blocks on string. By measuring the strings he could determine that he had the proportions correct.
This Basilica is fantastic. Gaudi's crowning glory that is still being completed.
I was on the Hop on Hop off bus and when we arrived, everyone exited the bus.
It has to be seen to be believed.
You do have to queue to get in, but it is worth the wait
For an extra 4Euros you can purchase an easy to use Audioguide which provides an excellent summary of the main points of interest about this amazing building. In my opinion the audioguide is invaluable because, as a visitor, you will probably be overwhelmed by the pure spectacle of the place but when you discover from the commentary how most of the Basilica's architecture holds symbolic meaning as well you will will be in total awe of the architectural genius of its creator Antoni Gaudí.
We also managed to receive a small discount on the price of the guide because we had a voucher from our bus tour taken on the previous tour. The audioguide is available in 9 languages and even runs some video clips on the small screen for additional interest.
Having queued for about 80 minutes I wish we'd had the foresight to try to buy tickets online from ticketmaster. It may have cost an extra booking fee and we may not have been able to secure the small discounts for the audioguide but as our time in Barcelona was short we could have used that time more profitably.
With the online ticket purchase you have to state the hour of the day and the date of your visit, which for some people may be a restriction, but apparently there are always long queues. My son tried to buy the tickets using wifi from the queue but the signal was poor and he didn't want to use 3G on his phone.
At least you get a good opportunity to study the outside of this magnificent building by standing in the line. I particularly liked the white doves flying out from the leafy tree with leaves painted in green.
This amazing church takes the breath of any person who visits it. The amazing details and the complex geometry take you to another dimension. Both the interior and exterior complexity make you admire Gaudi more. The three facades are called : Nativity, Passion and Glory. Each facade has 4 tall towers and with the additional 6 towers, the total number will reach 18. The construction began in 1883 and Gaudi took over the project in 1891. Gaudi improved the plans and put all his creativity until he died in a tram accident in 1926. After his death, the construction continued with the revised plans of Gaudi. At the moment there are several rumours about the completion date of the church. As it is a matter of financing as well as dedication, this can take years. This impressive church is a must see place in Barcelona and there are so many details to look at. You can easily spend 2-3 hours here. The entrance fee is 13 Euro per person. You can get combined tickets which also gives you access to Gaudi's museum in Parc Guell for 16.5 Euro per person. You can also visit some of the towers with an additional cost of 3 Euro for the elevator. No credit card is accepted so make sure you have enough cash with you. In the basement level, you can see the models and videos about the church. The queue for entrance may sometimes extend upto an hour. If you don't want that, online booking is an option. As we have taken many pictures with my wife, I put the rest in the travelogue section plus some videos.
Being visually impaired years ago meant not being able to enjoy some of the wonders of the man made and natural world. Accessibility was indeed very limited.
In Barcelona it was interesting to observe how much progress has been made to make sites accessible to the visually impaired. In the case of the La Sagrada Familia it must be even more difficult because the site is continually under construction.
The La Sagrada Familia contains at least one tactile model, has audioguides, and has places such as the front doors where the lettering of the church is provided in braille. La Sagrada Familia also has an educational office that is devoted to accessibility. That office's link is [email protected] According to that site those that are at least 65% visually impaired are admitted to the temple for free.
The principal tactile model is located on the ground floor of the temple. It shows in some detail the layout of the first floor of the temple. I had the experience of watching a blind person using the model. He had a smile on his face. I did not speak to him and I did not take his picture.
Your guide book will probably have Sagrada Familia (pics 1-2)on the cover, you have also seen it many times in movies, books and magazines but it’s one of the “must see” things in Barcelona. Some people got surprised that this roman catholic church is still under construction! Gaudi (at the age of 31) started to built it in 1882 (actually F.Villar designed a neo gothic church one year earlier) and his was totally obsessed with it the last 15 years of his life till his death in 1926.
Based on Gaudi’s scetches and models (unfortunately most of them got lost during the Spanish civil war) the church will be probably completed the next 30 years (who really knows…). Have in mind that when Gaudi died only one façade and one tower were completed! If it will ever finish it will have 18 towers (12 apostles, 4 evangelists, Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ)
A lot of tourists visit the church every day so you better come here early in the morning. You can visit the crypt where Gaudi is buried, see models of his work at the museum and also take a lift and many stairs(and narrow too) up to a tower if you want a view of Barcelona. The church is open daily 9.00-18.00 (arpil-september till 20.00) and the entrance fee is 15 euro (the lift ticket, -3euro- isn’t included).
Many people refresh themselves at Placa de Gaudi (there is a kiosk next to the lake) but I preferred to walk on Passeig de Gaudi (pic 3), a nice partly pedestrian street that leads to the hospital of the Holy Cross & St Paul(pic 4). On the street you will find many cafes with tables on the terrace and you can enjoy the sun with a nice view of the church. We relax for a while and we visited the hospital de la Santa Creu I de Sant Pau (pic 5), It was built in 1901 by Montaner (he also designed the amazing Palau de la Musica Catalana). He choosed this spot for the hospital because he wanted it to face Sagrada Familia.
This is possibly Barcelona's most famous and probably most controversial building.
Gaudí's original design calls for a total of eighteen spires, representing in ascending order of height the Twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists, the Virgin Mary and, tallest of all, Jesus Christ. Eight spires have been built as of 2010, corresponding to four apostles at the Nativity façade and four apostles at the Passion façade.
Though construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882!!!!, Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style—combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. One projection anticipates construction completion around 2026, the centennial of Gaudí's death—while the project's information leaflet estimates a completion date in 2028.
The main nave was covered and an organ installed in mid-2010, allowing the still unfinished building to be used for religious services. The church was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI on 7 November 2010 which was just after we visited on the 11 October 2010.
For me, the building is a construction site and disappointing. While there are many architectural marvels and a grand design, the surrounding cranes really detract the image. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to visit again after 2026!.
I went to look at the construction work of this place and found it overpriced. They also charged an extra for using the elevator up into the towers. For those not interested in architecture this will be a bit disappointing since it was nothing to see except the workers when I went inside Nov. 2009. Maybe work ha proceeded since then...
One of the most attractive design elements that I saw on the interior was this spiral staircase, it just seemed to flow upwards, defying the effect of gravity.
The second photo shows a design element that did not seem to "fit", have not idea what it might represent (or not).
The third photo seems to be, or at least looks like, the Zodiac sign of Leo, but with wings...
The fourth and fifth photos show Gaudi in full flower with these ostentatious "blooms" on the roof.
One of the first things that I look at when I enter a structure is the windows, or more properly you might say the light that is entering and how it interacts with the interior. In most religious structures you have the addition of stained glass, an element which can seriously add or detract from the beauty. Many stained glass windows seem to create darkness, but here in Sagrada Familia they admit light while "staining" it in multi colors that enhance the interior.
Looking at the stained glass windows in Sagrada Familia, you are sometimes almost fooled into thinking you are in a "regular" church. That is until you notice the design of the window frames, the way some of the glass subjects are almost abstract in structure and the surroundings bring you back to where you truly are.
A point that is made when you learn of the windows is that they are composed of differing darknesses of glass, the object of which is to allow light in at varying degrees of intensity. It seems that Gaudi wanted to admit more light, not less. Some glass elements are combined with sunlights to admit and gather sunlight and utilize it as the lighting element as opposed to artifical light.
The structure is still under construction and nothing seems to make that more obvious than the scaffolding outside, but inside you have two things that remind you also. The first and most obvious are the sounds of construction, you may hear a saw or a grinder working away at the structure. But you also have an entire side wall of "stained glass windows" with NO STAINED GLASS", nope, no stained glass, at the moment they are just plain clear glass, waiting for the moment when they will be changed.
These huge columns support that arching roof WAY over your head. The Audio Guide gives you a number, saying it is so and so HIGH...but the numbers do not translate into what your eyes see, this ceiling is REALLY HIGH. The simple colums with few or no decorations on the lower sections seem to slim to support such a ceiling. Some branch out at about 3/4 of the way up, they look like a tree with the lower branches missing. Some of the columns support walkways or balconies, but others reach all the way up to the ceiling that seems such a vast distance. This may be a function of the amount of light, Sagrada Familia is designed to let in light. Many older structures look gloomy, Sagrada Familia does not, even with its huge size, maybe "welcoming" would be the word I'm looking for.