This blog is about my travels. At home in New Zealand, in other parts of Oceania, North, Central and South America and in Europe.
While in Barcelona, I went to see the Sagrada Familia, the architectural masterpiece first designed by the Catalan modernist architect, Antonio Gaudi, and still under construction today. It is expected to be completed in 2022, so it's not too far away!
You have to book tours well ahead of time to see the interior of the church, so I did this. Our guide was very knowledgeable and started by showing us the features of the exterior parts of the building.
The church has two main entrances, one which is decorated in relation to the birth of Christ and the other with is decorated in relation to his death. The birth side depicts the nativity scene and lavishly decorated with flowers, creeping vines, spring blossoms, palm trees bearing fruit and animals, fluttering butterflies, bees, flocks of sheep and cattle. This is one of the oldest parts of the church and many of these sculptures were created by Gaudi himself.
The death side is deliberately much more sparse, with twisted anguished angles and distorted and mournful figures. It depicts the crucifixion and is designed to look sad and bony looking in order to convey emotional anguish.
Born in 1852, Antoni Gaudi was an interesting person. When his marriage proposal to his sweetheart was turned down he sought solace in his religion and the Sagrada Familia became his life's work. He poured almost every moment into the design of this amazing building. His designs were extremely innovative, so much so that many parts of the building weren't actually able to completed when the building began to be constructed. Gaudi had faith that technological progress would enable his vision to be completed, and as it turned out, he was right. He was also a vegetarian at a time this was considered highly eccentric. He took great care of the safety and well being of the workers in the church and made sure that there was a place for the children of the workers to go to school.
After having a good look at the exterior of the church we headed inside. It really is spectacular, with soaring ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows. There also happened to be an opera singer singing right when we walked in.The acoustics of the church are also amazing.
The stained glass windows are absolutely gorgeous and different parts of the church have been designed to light up at certain times of the day and times of the year, depending on the natural light shining into the church. The colored light also reflects across the church.
The numbers of beams and windows are also influenced by significant numbers from the bible. The 18 towers of the church represent figures from the bible. There are symbols everywhere in the Sagrada Familia.
Gaudi took inspiration from many forms in the natural world, and the design of the church is very influenced by nature.
Gaudi stated that nature was his greatest inspiration. He studied plants, animals and even stars, and worked out geometric features from nature, and incorporated them into his designs for the Sagrada Familia. Honey comb, flowers, trees, stars are inspirations behind designs. The beams of the church are built like the trunks of giant trees. The church is designed along curved lines because Gaudi noted that straight lines don't exist in nature.
One feature I particularly liked was a giant conch shell which was used for holy water.
We then walked under the church where there were displays of Gaudi's designs for the Sagrada Familia. There was also a viewing window where visitors could look in and see the architects planning the ongoing construction of the building. As I headed out, I saw a large piece of a tower being hoisted into place.
I am a traveller from New Zealand. My blog is to inform friends and family about my adventures. I hope you enjoy it!