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The Incredible Sagrada Familia

Most of you will have heard of the Sagrada Familia in Catalonia's capital Barcelona. If you have, you've either been, or it's on your bucket list. We're way behind on our trip blogging, because we've been doing too much tripping but last Monday we got to go and we just have to share this.

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Hands down the highlight of our trip, and there have been a few. The Sagrada Familia (Holy Family in Catalan) is a church that has been under construction since 1882! The masterpiece of modernist architect Antoni Gaudi, it is due finally for completion in 2026, the one-hundreth anniversary of Gaudi's death. There are plenty of other fantastic examples of Gaudi's work in Barcelona (we'll save those for our Barcelona post) but the SF is out on its own.

For some odd reason, they call this in Catalan a 'temple' and use this word when translated into English there. We kept finding this jarring; there are no Christian 'temples' we know of. It's not a cathedral, 'cos Barcelona already has one of those. On the other hand, "Church' just doesn't do it justice.

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We were absolutely awestruck. Phil was in tears. Such a healing and spiritual experience after some of the historic monstrosities we've encountered.

The SF is to have three facades; two of which are complete (the Nativity Facade and the Passion Facade; the former the only thing Gaudi lived to see (almost) completed). The third is to be the Glory facade, highlighting Christ's Resurrection and Kingship, the latter ones completed according to instructions an designs left by Gaudi. A key difference is that all artwork, sculptures etc sit on the outside of the SF, leaving the inside for something really special.

Here's the Nativity Facade.

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Gaudi started with this facade work because he knew it would be attractive, and he needed to foster financial support (the place was initially funded entirely through donations). He knew the planned starkness of the passion facade would be off-putting if that's where he was to start. "Dedicated to the Passion of Jesus it is intended to reflect the suffering of Christ in his crucifixion. That is why he conceived a more austere and simplified fa├žade, without ornamentation, highlighting the nakedness of the stone, resembling a skeleton reduced to the simple lines of its bones". Here it, as completed by another sculptor, Josep Subirachs. Many will recognise scenes from the Gospel passion narratives.

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Peter's denial:
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The betrayal by Judas:
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Others more obvious:
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But the breath-taking, gob-smacking, overwhelming, jaw-dropping, utterly incredibe experience is the interior. "There are no straight lines in nature" said Gaudi who designed the inside to reflect nature, pillars spreading randomly and interwining like a forest canopy. Utterly, absolutely fantastic. You have to go!

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We were sad to leave; in fact we got kicked out prematurely because they were closing for some special function. So we missed our trip up one of the towers, but even that could not extinguish the overwhelming nature of the experience. The fourth-last picture, the rather naked facade, is where the Glory facade is going.

A fantastic sacred place in which it is impossible not to worship. We'll be back someday!

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Posted by philandmc 08:00 Archived in Spain Tagged sagrada familia

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