La Sagrada Família

La Sagrada Família has been under construction since 1882. It is an expiatory cathedral, meaning that is has been paid entirely by donations–built by the people, not the Church. Though the work was begun by a diocesan architect, Antoni Gaudí was commissioned in 1883 to carry out the project. To quote from the website, “Gaudí himself said: ‘The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people.'” He devoted himself to this project for the rest of his life (1926) and even lived on site for the last few years of his life. In 1926 he was hit by a tram and died 3 days later from serious injuries. Architects since then have been carrying out his original plans. Latest projection is to complete the work by 2060 (but the date gets pushed back on a regular basis).

Gaudí left his mark all over Barcelona, primarily in architecture, but also in planning and landscaping, designing furniture.

My camera couldn’t capture the grandeur, so I invite you to check out the slide show on the official website. You can select the language of your choice from a dropdown list. Even better is a virtual tour. A congregation worships there in a side chapel. Hundreds of tourists come through the sanctuary on a daily basis. Definitely worth the ticket price!

Here are a few pictures I took. I chose one that shows construction cranes on one side. The door, covered with leaves of ivy, also hosts various other insects such as a praying mantis. Gaudí  wanted to acknowledge the creatures that had been displaced by construction. The geometrical shapes were in a demonstration area to show construction techniques.

The final one is an actual workshop (unoccupied when we were there) where contemporary artisans make molds for today’s construction. Gaudí had built his workshop on site and used the most modern of techniques to make construction easier and safer for workers.

3 comments

  1. Susan · October 7, 2014

    Nicely done text and curated pictures. How big is the congregation that worships in the side chapel?

  2. Kathleen · October 7, 2014

    I’m not certain, but I think it’s used for daily prayers. There is an occasional mass, but I don’t know if it’s in the main sanctuary or not. (It was a 5 PM on a couple of Sundays, with no further information.) There is a prayer / meditation area even for tourists–silence, no photos, etc. Also, people can sit in the sanctuary up to a blocked off section for quiet contemplation. There is more hubbub out there, but it’s a very lovely perspective.

  3. Clay Olmstead · October 11, 2014

    An amazing place. It’s ironic that the praying mantises have been replaced by construction cranes.

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