Barcelona – Day 2 – Gaudi: Sagrada Familia

July 24, 2010 (cont’d – I’ve decided to have one post for each Gaudi site we visited, since I took so many photos at each place!)

Next we walked east toward the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s famous unfinished

Sagrada Familia spires from a distance

cathedral. Gaudi was a very religious man and envisioned building a grand monument to Christianity. The completed church is to have 12 towers, one for each of Christ’s disciples, and a taller one in the center for Christ himself. This tower will not be taller, however, than Montjuic, Barcelona’s tallest hill, because Gaudi believed that only God could build taller structures as part of the natural world.

Backtracking a bit…we were tired and hot and stopped a few blocks before the church in a surprisingly empty cafe, on a large street but that was not crowded with tourists. There I had very good gazpacho and a main dish of chicken and fried potatoes. I think we had taken a street less traveled, because on the street parallel to this one, a block south of it, we encountered a stream of people walking to and from the cathedral.

Another Gaudi-designed building, on route to Sagrada Familia

36 years ago, on my first visit to Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia had no roof and only one facade. That facade, with the theme of the birth of Christ, had traditionally sculpted figures and the overall effect of these plus the other decorative items and the original towers made it look like a sand castle, as if wet sand had been dripped slowly to create the towers and the rest of the facade. Now the building has another facade, which is what you come upon first when you arrive at the church and pay your entry fee. This one has the theme of the life of Christ and the sculptor’s vision was quite different. The statues are modern and angular. Although the overall effect is very striking, it didn’t seem congruous to me, with the vision and artistry of Gaudi’s work. Gaudi left models of the entire church and how it should be built, but not the specific artwork to be included on the facades.


Since the church is still under construction, the audio tour was a bit confusing and we ended up just sort of looking on our own, listening to some of the explanations (we had to share a headset this time, because it cost extra) and stood in contemplation of the interior. The stained glass windows are beautiful and the colors are in perfect harmony with their location and function in the building, but many had to be viewed through screens of cloth and scaffolding.

The pictures show some of the things we saw on our audiotour.

Front entryway

“Wet sand castle” facade

Interior: windows & ceiling

Outside (back) again

There are bunches of fruit on these pointed rooftops!

Next stop: Parc Guell!

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