La Sagrada Familia - Spain
It’s easy to see why La Sagrada Familia is the most visited monument in Spain. And by every possible interpretation, this is no ordinary church. It’s hard to believe it was first commissioned to be a simple, neo-Gothic style church. Thankfully Antoni Gaudi, Catalan architect and cultural legend of the city of Barcelona, took over its design and construction in 1883. Ever one for pushing the boundaries of design, the genius spent forty years of painstaking deliberation and planning to create the marvel that now stands in the heart of Barcelona. La Sagrada Familia bounds skywards thanks to its eight stunning towers. The church is still under construction, and a further ten towers will be added as per Gaudi’s instructions, who sadly never could see his masterpiece come to fruition. The marvel continues to unravel the closer you get, with a number of intricate facades adorning each side of the church that are filled with religious symbolism and meaning. Prepare to have your breath taken away when you walk into the great hall, whose great ceiling is supported by immense hand carved columns, which resemble the trunks of trees in a forest designed to reflect Gaudi’s intense love of nature. Light pours in through stunning stained glass windows, revealing one of the most striking churches on earth.
Where is it?
The huge Roman Catholic Church is located in the Eixample district of the city, the Modernist quarter of Barcelona famed for its art nouveau buildings.
What is it?
La Sagrada Familia is one of the best examples of a personal interpretation of gothic architecture ever attempted. It is an expiatory church, meaning that since the outset it has been built solely from donations. Gaudi, who reportedly donated himself towards the end of his life, worked religiously on the building for the last forty years of his life. He famously replied when asked why construction was taking so long; “my client is not in a hurry.”
Best time to visit?
Visit in April and May to avoid the busiest summer tourist period, as Barcelona becomes extremely busy during the summer months, not to mention very hot.
Everything in La Sagrada deserves to be seen, but for essential viewing take an elevator (or the stairs) to the top of the inside of the Nativity Facade and Passion Façade. From here you can enjoy stunning views of Barcelona through intricate latticed stonework, carved sublimely in Gaudi’s honour.