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Spain: Sagrada Familia

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Sagrada Familia | Spain | Europe

[Visited: August 1985, May 2002, December 2006]

In this city of Gaudí, the Sagrada Familia is the biggest project of the famous architect and artist. It can easily be called his masterpiece, because he worked over 40 years on it. The most interesting part of the story is, of course, that it has never been finished. In fact, while visiting the site, workers are busy everywhere, and you inevitably see huge cranes as if they were additional bell towers to the temple. At first, they might be disturbing to the visitor, until you realize they are an integral part of the Sagrada Familia. In fact, the project of the church has seen misfortune, first when Gaudí was overrun by a streetcar and died (he actually only saw one of the belltowers), and then in the civil war when many of his models of the Sagrada Familia were destroyed.

Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Skyline of Barcelona is defined by the Sagrada Familia

The temple/church, dedicated to the Holy Family as it name implies, is unique not only for still being under construction (some even claim that it will never be finished; the goal is to finish it in 2026). It uses geometrical shapes, elements of nature that can be appreciated in all sections of the enormous building still without a roof. In the end, there should be 12 towers, each of which representing an apostle - at present, there are only 8. The central dome will eventually have a tall tower dedicated to Jesus, with an enormous cross, accompanied by a Virgin Mary tower, and four additional ones for the four apostles.

Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Sagrada Familia seen from below

The outside of the Sagrada Familia shows the life of Jesus, while the inside is dedicated to Jerusalem, the holy city. Symbolism everywhere - the Sagrada Familia was well thought over. When entering from the South side (Facade of the Passion), you enter through the newly built side. It symbolizes grief, and is very sober. The North side (Facade of the Nativity) is authentic and older, and is decorated abundantly, expressing a vitality in an original way within the Gothic setting. It also gives access to stairs that ultimately take you to just under the top of the bell towers. From here, you can get pretty good views of the colourful decorations so typical of Gaudí with which he embellished the spires of the Sagrada Familia.

Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Towers and cranes defining the contours of the Sagrada Familia
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): View of the Sagrada Familia from behind a modern building
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Sagrada Familia in the afternoon sun
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Sagrada Familia with towers and the seemingly eternal cranes
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Looking up the Sagrada Familia with towers and cranes
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Religious scene sculpted in the wall of the Sagrada Familia
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Window with sculptures and decorations at the Sagrada Familia
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Construction at the Sagrada Familia seen from above
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Cranes and spires of the Sagrada Familia
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Contours of the Sagrada Familia against the afternoon sun
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Looking down the stairs of the Sagrada Familia
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Construction at the Sagrada Familia: a permanent construction site
Picture of Sagrada Familia (Spain): Colourful spires of the Sagrada Familia

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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