Maybe you come to Barcelona without knowing anything about the city, just to let yourself be seduced by its charm; or maybe you come here to visit one of its most emblematic buildings: Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
Sagrada Familia is an icon of Barcelona skyline and a jewel of modernist architecture in Barcelona. Unfinished it may be, but it attracts around 2.8 million visitors a year and is the most visited monument in Spain .It is also the second most visited church in Europe, only behind the Basilica of St. Peter’s Basilica. Do you think Sagrada Familia needs more presentation?
Knowing the Holy Family remarkable elements of architecture
Construction of Sagrada Família commenced in 1882 and Antonio Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Specifically, the most optimistic believe that it will be finish in 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.
Until that time comes, for now we can enjoy the grandeur of the elements that are already built:
Of the 18 towers Gaudí planned for the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia there are presently eight completed; four on the Nativity facade and four on the Passion facade.
Most of all will be dedicated to Jesus Christ, another Mary, 12 of them to the Apostles and 4 more for the Evangelists. Each tower is designed with a different height to represent the religious hierarchy they belong.
You can also visit the Sagrada Familia Towers and enjoy the beautiful Barcelona skyline from there.
The style of la Sagrada Família is variously likened to Spanish Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism and to Art Nouveau or Catalan Noucentisme. While the Sagrada Família falls within the Art Nouveau period, Nikolaus Pevsner points out that, along with Charles Rennie Macintosh in Glasgow, Gaudí carried the Art Nouveau style far beyond its usual application as a surface decoration.
While never intended to be a cathedral (seat of a bishop), the Sagrada Família was planned from the outset to be a cathedral-sized building. Gaudí’s original design calls for a total of eighteen spires, representing in ascending order of height the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists and, tallest of all, Jesus Christ. Eight spires have been built as of 2010, corresponding to four apostles at the Nativity façade and four apostles at the Passion façade.
The Nativity façade
The Church will have three grand façades: the Nativity façade to the East, the Passion façade to the West, and the Glory façade to the South (yet to be completed). The Nativity Façade was built before work was interrupted in 1935 and bears the most direct Gaudí influence. The Passion façade was built after the project which Gaudi planned in 1917. The construction began in 1954, and the towers, built over the elliptical plan, were finished in 1976. It is especially striking for its spare, gaunt, tormented characters, including emaciated figures of Christ being scourged at the pillar; and Christ on the Cross. These controversial designs are the work of Josep Maria Subirachs. The Glory façade, on which construction began in 2002, will be the largest and most monumental of the three and will represent one’s ascension to God. It will also depict various scenes such as Hell, Purgatory, and will include elements such as the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Heavenly Virtues.