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Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is the full name of this Barcelona landmark in Catalan.  Translated, it is essentially the Holy Family church.  It was consecrated and proclaimed a basilica by the pope in November 2010.  Construction started in 1883, Gaudi – the architect died in 1926, and the work has been continuing up to now.  The estimated completion date ranges from 2017 to 2026.

I visited this place in the late 1980’s and the interior of the church was non-existent. The picture above shows the Nativity Facade – one of the three entrances, the earliest completed entrance.  We used the new Passion Facade to enter this time while the third Glory Facade is still under construction.  Below is the door of the Passion Facade.

The inside is another world. Fantastical to say the least.  It is neither modern nor traditional; it is enigmatic.

The layout is traditional but the interior architectural elements are radical –  there is an interesting mix of Gaudi’s signature biomorphic styling, modern geometric floral shapes, traditional stained glass windows and arches.  No doubt that this is recognizably a church but it is full of surprises.

Looking up at the ceiling … the effect is mesmerizing !  I think the word kaleidoscopic does sum up the experience pretty well.

On one side of the transept is a stainless steel-glass elevator with exposed shaft and a stack of spiral staircase.  I think it can be used without much re-work as a part of an alien mothership in a sci-fi movie.

A closer look at the symbols on the ceiling – they are modern but I’m sorry, they reminded me of those symbols on tarot cards.

The alter is fenced off and above it is suspended a crucifix and a technicolor parachute.

So much has been written about the architecture and the history of this church so I will not repeat them here.
All I can say is that this church is awe-inspiring.  I will come back in another 20 years to see if it is finished.

One Comment

  1. Gorgeous! I’ve been here before! Don’t you just love this city a lot? Very chilled and relaxing.

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