I'm back home, in Prague, after the visit to Barcelona, Spain last week! My husband and I had a great time, though we only had a couple of days to try to see the sights. We literally walked 11 hours one day...about 8 hours another day! Needless to say, we are pretty tired out from the trip, but it was worth it!
Today I would like to tell you about one of the most famous buildings in Barcelona--Temple Expiatori de La Sagrada Familia. This is a famous cathedral that was begun in 1882, and is still under construction to this day, 126 years later! This sounds extraordinary, but its true, and when you visit this place, its also understandable why the building of this beautiful cathedral is taking so long. This project was taken over by Antoni Gaudi, also known as "God's Architect." Gaudi was inspired by nature and used Nature's designs in his creations. This is clearly evident when visiting la Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
La Sagrada Familia is intended (by Gaudi) to share the complete story of the Christian faith in stone. Viewing the Sagrada Familia truly is like reading straight out of the Bible. Gaudi used nature and symbolism to help tell the story in ways that are awe inspiring. I have never seen anything quite like this before in my life. I had a wonderful Spanish teacher in my senior high who taught us not only the Spanish language, but also about the culture. She introduced us to Gaudi, Picasso, Miro, etc. So, I had some idea of who Gaudi was and what he did. I have seen some pictures of his works, but the pictures do not do justice to Gaudi's creative mind. La Sagrada Familia is one of the most well-known of Gaudi's works, but Barcelona is filled with many buildings that he made. Gaudi was a very prolific and creative man. I realized this when viewing la Sagrada Familia in person.
We were able to view two of the facades of the building--the Passion and the Nativity facades. The Nativity facade was done by Gaudi...and it was build with rock from Montserrat. This facade shows the Annunciation, the Nativity, with angels announcing Christ's birth, and even the story of Herod's cruelty when he ordered all the male babies to be killed in Bethlehem. This is all beautifully done. The Passion facade is done in a completely different style, but it is also very moving and dramatic. This facade shows the complete story of Christ's Passion. The art is done in a Cubist style, which is not my favorite, but here, it is done very movingly. The details are amazing, right down to the rooster that crowed three times. The work for this facade has been done by Josep Maria Subirach. Gaudi died before he could work on this facade himself.
The inside of la Sagrada Familia is also as astounding and moving as the outside facades. There is much construction going on inside, but you can still see much symbolism here, too, and also aspects of Nature. One of the most splendid aspects of the inside are the pillars. When you first look at them, you notice they are very beautiful. As your gaze wanders upwards, you begin to see that the pillars are actually trees holding up a leafy canopy! The canopy has windows in it that allows for light to come through, just as a real canopy in Nature does. The trees resemble the plantains you can see all over Barcelona! The middle area of this canopy is done in gold...very pretty.
When we were finished viewing the interior of the Sagrada Familia, we wandered outside and found the museum entrance. The museum was really interesting, too, as it showed some of the drawings and plans and models for the cathedral. There is also a picture of Gaudi--he is buried in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia. The projected date for finishing the Sagrada Familia is in the year 2026.
The whole experience of viewing this cathedral left such an indelible mark on me. It is somehow very moving, in person, and very powerful...it is truly difficult to put into words what feelings come from this place. I wish it would be possible to visit la Sagrada Familia again when it is finished...it will truly be an even more awesome sight in that time.
That's all for today...in my next post, I'll talk about some of the other sights we saw in Barcelona. You all have a great day!
(c) 2008 by czechoffthebeatenpath
Photos property of S. A. Vacik