Friday, 3 February 2017

Barcelona - Sagrada Familia

I have been warned by more than one person not to expect too much from the Sagrada Familia, a few even suggested that it's not worth the lineup or jostling with the crowds.  I have met at least one couple who was in Barcelona several times but never went to the Sagrada Familia for those very reasons - they visited the casas instead.  I have to say while the casas are interesting architecturally, they have nothing like the ambiance or the grandeur of the Sagrada Familia.  I am certainly very glad I visited (with my online ticket)! Gaudi's masterpiece was worthy of all the hype.  While the outside was a little bizarre in places, the inside was phenomenal!  I was completely awe-struck and dumbfounded.  

The temple was light-filled and uplifting - emanating a sense of effervescent joy that was not often seen in cathedrals.  Entering through the Nativity facade and walking through the temple was like walking through a forest, celebrating nature in its many manifestations.  The Passion facade, done by sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs, was in a completely different tone but the sculptures were very powerful as you can see below.

Yes, the site was crowded but most of the time the visitor would be looking up anyway, so it did not bother me.  I had less trouble taking photos here than I did at Park Güell!  So if you are debating whether to visit or not, please don't miss this stunning Gaudi creation.  To find out more about the history and the architecture, visit the official site - there is some interesting background information there.

While waiting for our turn to enter, we stumbled upon this reflecting pool in the park across the street from the basilica

The Nativity facade of the Sagrada Familia

Closeup of scenes from the Nativity façade    

The view upon entering

The vault with Gaudi's catenary arches, each column a tree with branches, each branch supporting a part of the vaulting

Sculptor Subirach's bronze doors with the "Our Father" in Catalan at the exit to the Passion Façade

I found the sculptures in the Passion Facade very powerful - Subirach's style was in stark contrast to Gaudi's

The "screwdriver" spiral staircase.  According to the iconography of Gaudi, helicoids (spirals) represent the rising movement that links the earth with heaven.

The beautiful organ

Sculpture of St. George above the Senior Portal 

Portal of Chairty bronze door installed in 2014, created by Japanese sculptor Etsuro Sotoo, inspired by nature, like the rest of Gaudi's Nativity façade 

We spent the morning at the temple and then proceeded to the Sant Pau hospital a short walk down the shady boulevard Avenue de Gaudi - also a great place for lunch.  More in the next post on the Hospital and the Palau de la Muscica Catalana, both designed by architect Lluis Dominech i Montaner.  Barcelona is a treasure trove!

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