I did hesitate in labelling this an adventure, as it seems a rather odd label for such a grand piece of work, but then I decided it really is. I’ve been inside twice; I noticed things the second time around that I didn’t see the first time. In addition, I have not toured the Gaudí House Museum yet; perhaps the next time!
The Sagrada Família is one of my absolute favourite places. I am not religious by any stretch of the imagination (if pressed, I claim agnosticism), but I am awed by such beauty. I find churches, cathedrals and religious icons to be so stunning. When I am at the Sagrada Família, my mouth is often dropped open in wonder, and it’s one of those places where you always see something new each time you go. One of the key reasons? It’s still being built! This is also why every image you see of the basilica is digitally altered – the cranes have been removed so that you can see the beauty.
Although groundbreaking was in 1882, it wasn’t until 1883 that Antoni Gaudí became involved, and the Sagrada Família became what it is today. Gaudí has quite the intriguing architectural style; when you walk around Barcelona, it’s fairly obvious which buildings were built or influenced by Gaudí. He worked on the Sagrada Família tirelessly until his death in 1926; the architects and builders have been following his vision ever since.
As it reached midpoint of construction in 2010, there was finally enough completed to be consecrated. Many people refer to the Sagrada Família as a cathedral; it is not, as a cathedral is the seat of a bishop, and the Sagrada Família does not house that. In November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI visited Barcelona, and consecrated the Sagrada Família as a minor basilica. Currently, the projected completion date is in 2026 or 2028, depending on who you ask; as all of the funding comes from private donations and the entrance tickets, this could change, although I am hoping not.
It is definitely one of those places that is well worth the ticket price. There are three main tickets – entrance, guide/audio guide, and lift/tower. If nothing else, spend the extra 4,50€* for the audio guide. You can certainly walk around, simply looking at everything and reading the station signs, but the audio guide gives so much extra information and helps you to really visualize the history and hopeful future of the basilica. You can set up a tour with a tour guide for the same price, but the audio guide allows you to explore at your own pace. The lift/tower ticket will add another 4,50€, but is certainly worth it. You take a small lift up into one of the façade towers, and it allows you to get out and explore the inside of the tower, as well as see the city from high up in the sky. Once you have explored the small tower area, you take a winding staircase back down to the basilica. I have done it once, and will likely never do it again – the small space and the height wreaked a bit of havoc with my brain – but it was well worth it. I don’t regret it in the least. I did, however, manage to convince the lift operator to let me go down in the lift instead of the stairs; I think the green tinge to my skin and mild hyperventilating helped.
One of the things I like best is the mosaic-style stained glass; Gaudí was very specific about the colours and placing, to ensure that there was enough light but not too much… I just find it stunning. I made sure to take the photo above without any light correction so that it can really be seen.
*prices subject to change; check http://visit.sagradafamilia.cat/?lang=en#home for most up to date pricing and ticket availability.
I hope you enjoyed this quick glimpse. Cheers!