Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sagrada Familia

This photo has been retouched to remove the construction cranes

A highlight of my trip to Barcelona was a visit to the Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi's masterpiece - though it has yet to be completed even though construction began in 1882. 

Gaudi devoted his last years to the project and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete.  Construction of the basilica has faced many hurdles over the years.  Construction was interrupted by the Spanish Civil was, only to resume intermittent work in the 1950's.
Sentinal standing guard by the main entrance

Strike a pose

When I was there it was hoped that Christmas mass could be conducted at the main altar that year.  At this point it is anticipated that the completion date will be 2026 - the centennial of Gaudi's death.

Gaudi's likeness is found in some of the statues adorning the cathedral

The basilica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona - over the intial possibility it might compete with Barcelona's other cathedral - the Santa Eulalia - to the design itself and the recent possibility that an underground tunnel of Spain's high-speed train could disturb its stability. 

The exterior is adorned with a rich variety of Christian symbols

Stained glass window near the altar

Even though the Sagrada Familia is far from finished, the remarkable church is well worth a visit.  You can visit the crypt where Gaudi is buried. There's a museum that tells the story of this great architect and the history of the church. An elevator takes you to the top of a tower where you have a magnificent view of Barcelona - not recommended for those with fear of heights!

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