Monday, April 2, 2012

La Sagrada Família

La Sagrada Família, officially the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, is the best known landmark in Barcelona, perhaps in all of Spain.  Even though it still isn't finished being built, it is already a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2010 the Pope proclaimed it a minor basilica.

Model of the completed church
Construction began in 1882 and Gaudí worked on the church from 1883 until his death in 1926.  Work on the site was interrupted during the Spanish Civil War and began again in the 1950s.  In 2010, construction passed the midpoint and the estimated completion date is between 2026 - 2028.  Over 140 years! No funding for the church comes from the Spanish government.  It is completely financed through donations and admission fees.

I've done quite a bit of traveling since my Euroland adventure began in 2009.  And while I've seen some pretty amazing things, sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming.  Almost to the point where if I see another cathedral I may just scream.  That's definitely not the case here.  La Sagrada Família is simply breathtaking!

Two of the three façades are already complete.  The Nativity façade is to the East and was constructed from 1894 to 1930.  It is dedicated to the birth of Jesus and has very ornate decorations.  There are four towers that are each dedicated to saints.

The Passion façade faces West and is completely different from the Nativity façade.  This side of the church is much less intricate and actually rather austere.  It is meant to show the suffering of Christ during the crucifixion.  Construction began in 1954, based on drawings left by Gaudí.  This side also has four towers.

The Glory façade faces South but it has yet to be completed.  Construction began in 2002 and it will be the largest of the three.  It will represent one's ascension to God.

The inside is incredible.  It's not like any other church I've ever seen.  The galleries should have room for 1,500 singers and five organs.

Courtesy of YouTube, here's the Rick Steves video about the church.

©Rick Steves


  1. Congratulations on your 501st blog post! Your consistency is amazing and much appreciated.

  2. Thanks Karen. Sometimes it feels like I will never catch up with everything I have to write about. Cheers!