I was looking forward to seeing Sagrada Familia since I heard about it for the first time few years back. It is funny how your awareness of the world around you suddenly grows when you travel more and more. The way you want to absorb your new surroundings is changing too – sometimes you are in a leisurely mood and all you want to do is just randomly wander around or lie on a beach and sometimes you feel like conquering the world no matter what, see as much as you are physically able to, like you have this fear inside you that there is so much to see and you have limited time to see it all…
We had only 2.5 days in Barcelona, so we were rushing things around, but still manage to get a good feel of the city, since by mistake we get off from the bus from airport to our hotel on a wrong stop and needed to walk for 40 minutes. There you go – from the start nothing was going like we planned, but traveling lightly saved us from getting tired and we had a great opportunity to start our Barcelona trip with a lovely walk.
I did not realize that Sagrada Familia was facing Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau – the place so many people think Antoni Gaudi – the person who have changed the vision for the basilica entirely – died unrecognized until it was too late to save him. I have noticed the fact that Sagrada is facing the hospital only after visiting it. Basilica’s huge shape is growing at the end of the road, looking towards another take on Art Novueau, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner this time.
Antoni Gaudi’s works speaks directly to our senses. He designed not only buildings but landscapes and furniture. Every time he emphasised the importance of Nature influencing his creations. Works on Park Güell and friendship with Eusebi Güell allowed Gaudi to develop his unique style, inspired by organic shapes. New structural ideas which he invented and tried out there were taken and thrived in the interiors of Sagrada. Gaudis ideas visible in Park Güell resembles baroquism in its richer form and freedom from any usefulness – walking under this delicate and opulent tunnels was a lovely experience!
Gaudi went through stages, changing his mind and one day he finally came up with the project of the most unusual building ever build in honor of Christianity. He started with a quite dull project, taking over from Francisco de Paula del Villar in 1883 and letting his talent change it into incredible piece of art, not finished yet, but regardless – beautiful and light.
Sagrada Familia is truly a people’s church, build from donations, not relaying on any government financial help. It’s impressive outside and magically inspiring inside – so light and colourful if you lucky to see the sun playing through the stained glass – were achieved by people’s money and the donations are still greatly received from around the world. Income from the tickets and any guided tours are an important part in a church budget. The hope is to finish it in 2026 marking 100 years since its architect died. Luckily the architects who continued after Gaudi are keeping his vision to the letter.
I must confess I did not expected what I saw when we finally arrived for our Sagrada tour. I have seen many photos and read quite a good deal about the place, but when I was finally there in person, it simply overwhelmed me. My senses practically collapsed trying to take the whole building in – every part is different and amazingly done – starting from the doors in Nativity Façade through rich forest of columns inside, with a unique roof and ceiling, the Passion Façade which when the Sagrada is finished will become the main entrance, and less visible and exciting Glory Façade.
Gaudi made the Art Nouveau style looking poor in comparison with his life-time achievement. He took it and twisted, exploring organic forms to a maximum, using it more excessively than Art Nouveau ever did. Even if you not a great admirer of his architectural style, visiting Sagrada might change your mind, as walking inside is one of the most amazing experience. And if you like traveling, you should not avoid being amazed by one men beautiful mind.
Please, visit and find yourself among many others who are building this beautiful place by buying a ticket and donating that way. You will become a part of an amazing architect vision.