Sagrada Familia, Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Sagrada Familia

Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

La Sagrada Familia

The Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia translates as the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family. It is one of Barcelona's most ponient symbols, & the city's tourist attraction with the highest visitor numbers. Though he left it unfinished, it is also the life work of Spain's most accredited architect Antoni Gaudi. Truly unique & often awe inspiring, the Sagrada Familia is definately not to be missed.

Originally inspired by a beautiful church in Loreto (Italy), the Sagrada Familia was the idea of a bookseller; Josep Maria Bocabella. Work was originally started by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar in March of 1882, though then for a very different structure. A dispute soon flared up between him & the council's representative, who reproached him for wasting money & instructed that minor alterations be made to his design. Del Villar sent a letter of resignation to Bocabella, who duly accepted it. It was at this point that the project was handed to the young architect Antoni Gaudi, then only 31 years of age.

Though the work was intended to be a reasonably modest neo-Gothic church, Gaudi had other plans. Incorporating many different styles he gave every part of his design a symbolic meaning. This can be seen everywhere; at the base of its columns in the form of turtles (the Chinese symbol of order within chaos), in the seven chapels that surround the main altar (symbolising the seven pains & seven sins of St. Joseph), & in the twelve towers dedicated to the Apostles, four above each facade. A grand 170 metre central tower was planned for the centre of the building, & another (slightly smaller) above the apse, these were to be dedicated to Jesus Christ & the Virgin Mary respectively. Surrounding them were the intended four towers of the evangelists. These towers were not just designed for their asthetic beauty, they were to be functional bell towers, with great effort made to coordinate the sounds their shape would produce into recognisable musical notes.

The Sagrada Familia's elaborate facades each tell a story; the Nativity Facade incorporates one hundred plant species, & the same in animal species into its design. It boasts 3 doors; symbolising hope, faith, & charity. Biblical themes also feature, including the serpent & the apple, the baby Jesus, & much more. On the opposite side of the building the Passion Facade is to be found; here Gaudi tells the story of the pain & final sacrifice of the life of Jesus, of his crucifiction & those who were present at his agony. The crucified christ presides over the central door. The main Gloria Facade is still under construction; though its intended story is that of the life & end of man. Many types of vocation, St. Joseph himself, & the figures of Adam & Eve all feature alongside the Eternal Father; accompanied by angels & the days of creation. Seven doors will also feature, each of them dedicated to a sacrement.

Gaudi was alway consious (due to the sheer magnitude of his work) that he would not be able to finish it. Rather than leave written instruction he left detailed drawings, which enabled the city to continue after his death in 1926. Though dogged by delays & controversy the building program has progressed in line with Gaudi's design, & still does to this day. Upon completion it could be considered a bible in stone, or perhaps a book of Gaudi; as it incoroporates all his methods of construction under one roof.

Also on the Sagrada Familia site is the Sagrada Familia Museum, & the Sagrada Familia School. Both are open to the public.

Should visitors wish to stay nearby, the following 2, 3, 4, & 5 star hotels are within a stones throw of the attraction; Medium Medicis Hotel, Sagrada Familia Hotel, Eurostars Sagrada Familia Hotel, & a little farther on the Casa Fuster Hotel. For an extensive list of hotels in Barcelona please see the hotels or accommodation links, on the left hand side or bottom of this page.

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Sagrada Familia, Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

 

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