La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia. The Sacred Family.

sagrada familia

And sacred is truly all that can describe this place. Whether you're a religious person or not, there's a reason this place is so famous. I have rarely ever seen something that was literally breathtaking, the Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral perhaps, but nothing quite like walking inside La Sagrada Familia.

Early on in planning our trip to Barcelona I happened upon a blog post on the 'must sees' of visiting the Gaudí construction site. While I've lost the link, I have to tell you the best piece of advice from the post — to visit La Sagrada Familia at sunset. Now, when you have to purchase timed entry tickets well in advance it becomes incredibly difficult to plan what time you should purchase the tickets for — thus ensued a research project into when the sun sets in November. But it was extremely worth it.

sagrada familiaThe Nativity Façade

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

sagrada familiaThe Nativity scene sits over the Eastern Entryway

sagrada familiaEvery inch of this façade is covered in texture with either animals, plants, or people

sagrada familia

The whole orchestration of crowds into the site is actually not bad, you queue up, go through security, and follow the signs for your audio guide. The guide walks you through the whole Nativity facade, pointing out certain areas to offer more historical understanding of the project and the symbology of the whole place. You're teased by a quick look into the Rose Chapel, and then you're brought into the crossing of the cathedral.

sagrada familia

But nothing could prepare you for this...

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

sagrada familiaLooking across the transept to the Western Entry

sagrada familiaThe altar

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

Unfortunately, we couldn't climb the Nativity Tower due to construction, which is a common trend given that it is a working construction project. Construction has been ongoing for over a century, since 1882. If you haven't visited, you'll wonder why anyone would bother to continue and how they even could when Gaudí has been dead for most of its construction, but if you've seen it in person you'll know why this impressive building has continued to rise.

sagrada familiaEntry to the Nativity Façade Towers

sagrada familia

sagrada familiaColored windows of a side chapel

sagrada familia

sagrada familiaWestern windows

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

Unlike most cathedrals with detailed biblical scenes, the windows here are purely abstract stained glass creations. Which creates beautiful refractions throughout the interior.

sagrada familia

While the western-facing windows are like liquid fire pouring into the space, the eastern windows reflect a sunrise over the ocean — cool and serene.

sagrada familiaEastern Windows

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

sagrada familiaRose Window

sagrada familia

sagrada familiaPassion Façade Towers

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

sagrada familiaGaudí envisioned the ceiling as a forest and the stalks of columns throughout the basilica do make you feel like you're walking among the trees

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

sagrada familiaThe Passion Façade is bare in comparison to the lively Nativity side

sagrada familiaThe columns here resemble bones rather than strong supports 

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

I cannot recommend a visit to La Sagrada Familia more. And if you can manage it in the hour around sunset, it will be magnificent.

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