If you have been to more than one place in Europe, you know that every city, every town has its cathedral or two. And pretty churches. After awhile you just don’t really want to see another one (especially if it is Baroque). Gothic is fine, but really, one can o.d. on them. I have to say, though, that La Sagrada Familia (the Sacred Family) is one of my very favorite cathedrals ever, and it is well worth the price of admission. Even H had to admit that he was very glad to have seen it, despite the fact that he keeps asking me to promise him we won’t go into any more churches.
Maybe you have read The Pillars of the Earth (or seen the mini-series). It chronicles the building of a cathedral in England in the 12th Century. That fictional cathedral took years and years and years to build, and La Sagrada Familia, started in 1882 is still under construction. Plans are that it should be finished in 2030 or so. Gaudí was commissioned to take over the building of this church when he was just 31 years old. His vision was so grand that he knew that he would never finish it in his life, but he knew that some of the details would be left to new visionaries.
Of the four sides, two (the Nativity and the Passion) are mostly finished, and the third, which will be the main entrance when completed is the Glory side. Only the four towers on the Nativity side were constructed by the time Gaudí died (he was hit by a tram). Here are some photos from this side.
The Passion side has a completely different look, very stylized, and Gaudí knew that he would have to trust other artists and their muses to continue working on the cathedral.
The inside is very high and very light, with the pillars appearing to be tree-like.
In fact, so much of the inspiration for the building comes from nature.
On the advice given to us, we took one of the elevators up to get a good view of the city and to get a further glimpse into the immenseness of the structure. It was good advice.