Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia Cathedral

The most famous attraction and the landmark of Barcelona is the Holy Family Cathedral, or "Sagrada Familia" as it's more commonly known. It is also probably the most remarkable cathedral in Europe, and it's not even finished yet!

Gaudi dedicated the last years of his life to this project and was tragically killed when knocked over by a tram in front of the buidling before it could be finished. His body is buried in the crypt of the cathedral.

So impressive is the Sagrada Familia, that UNESCO bestowed not 1 but 2 titles of World Heritage status - one for the Nativity facade and the other for the crucifixion facade. Visitors today might be confused into thinking that these facades represent the front and the back of the cathedral, when in fact these are the sides. Original plans and scale mock-ups can be seen in the crypt of the cathedral, and it has to be said that the finished article looks even more impressive and daunting than the current edifice.

Sagrada Familia Cathedral

It was always Gaudi's wish that this be the cathedral of the people and for the people and for this reason work which has continued since his death has been slow. The project is funded almost exclusively from donations and the profits from other gaudi attractions. It is even alleged that corportations had offered to finish the work in a much quicker time frame but the foundation refused, as this would go against the architects wishes.

The original plans have been altered slightly. Gaudi's work is easily distinguished as the work at the Nativity facade - almost representing a melting candle, and with an astonishing attention to detail. The lateral of the crucifixion facade is not as Gaudi had designed it, and has brought together the stations of the cross designed by some of Catalunya and the world's best architects.

Sagrada Familia Cathedral

Estimates as to when exactly the work will be finished are very sketchy. Some say another 20 years, some less, but all agree that it will look amazing when it's finished. There are even protest groups who argue that modern plans are not following Gaudi's design - true in part as plans were damaged by anarchists in the civil war. One thing is for certain, though, you can't come to Barcelona without visiting the Sagrada Familia!

The Barcelona Metro stops directly outside the Sagrada Familia (station name is the same) on Line 2.

 

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As featured in:

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