The Sagrada Familia is really impressive. Even if you do not have much time, you can not leave without seeing it! It is the work of a life of the city’s favorite child, Antoni Gaudí. The magnificent spiers of the unfinished cathedral tear up the sky with its rounded lines inspired by the holy mountain of Montserrat. They are encrusted with sculptures that look alive in the stone. Gaudí died in 1926 before his major work was completed and the rest of the construction is still controversial. Nevertheless, the south-west façade (Passion) with more than four towers, is almost completed and the nave, begun in 1978, is underway. Some say that the structure should have been left as such as a monument in honor of the architect, but today, the chief architect Jordi Bonet defends the idea that this task is sacred, the church being intended for to expiate sins and to ask God’s mercy for Catalonia.
The Sagrada Familia basilica is a symbol of Barcelona. They have been building it for over a hundred years and are due to complete it in 2026, the 100th anniversary of the death of its creator, the architect Antoni Gaudi. Several towers will be added and the whole building will stand out even more from the skyline. La Sagrada is the largest and most famous work of the artist, who left his mark on Barcelona more than any other architect on such a large city.
Gaudi worked on his project for 43 years and his idea was to build the perfect temple. The church has three facades, the Nativity, the Passion and the Glory. In its final form, the Sagrada is to have 18 towers. Twelve are dedicated to the apostles, four to the evangelists, one to Mary – who will be crowned with a star (symbolising the Dawn), and the highest one of 170 metres ending with a cross to Jesus.
Gaudi only managed to partially complete one of the three facades designed before his tragic death. This is the Nativity façade (which faces the Plaça de Gaudí and its pond), with its characteristic green tree of life and doves symbolising the faithful.
On the other side of the basilica is the Passion façade. Since Gaudí’s original design was partially destroyed, the contemporary artist Josep Maria Subirachs was asked to create this part of the church.
In the courtyard of the Nativity façade is the portal of the Virgin of the Rosary, to which an amazing bronze door with beautiful floral motifs leads.
Here, every element is worked on in great detail. Another outstanding contemporary artist, the Japanese Etsuro Sotoo, worked on the design of the door.
The interior of the temple, especially the nave, resembles a huge forest with large tree trunks from which smaller branches grow. In the background there is an altar with a sculpture of the crucified Jesus, hanging from a canopy that reminds some people of an umbrella.
In this part there are also seven chapels and a crypt where Gaudi’s remains are buried. The interior of the temple is very impressive for its size. The basilica has a surface area of 4,500 square metres, and can house around 12,000 worshippers. In the basement there is a museum dedicated to the history of the creation of the basilica. There are plans, drawings and models. The stained glass windows play an important role in the church, illuminating the entire interior with colour whenever the sun’s rays penetrate it.
How to get to the Sagrada Familia?
Entrance ticket: 26 euros ($31), children under 11 years old (free)
Opening hours: November to February from 9 am to 6 pm. March from 9 am to 7 pm. April to September from 9am to 8pm. October from 9am to 7pm.
Metro: Sagrada Familia station and take the line L5 or the line L2
Buses: 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, B20 i B24
Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona