Thursday, December 12, 2013

La Sagrada Familia

Translated it means "The Sacred Family," referring to an architectural masterpiece located in Barcelona, Spain.  I saw this grand edifice during my spring 2010 study abroad term in Spain.  Our college group headed to Barcelona for a weekend and it was there that we visited this world renowned creation.  I was surprised something like this hadn't been created for the Holy Family already. That was until I realized what a massive undertaking it was! This project has been in the works for many many many years.  It looks big in pictures, but you don't realize the enormity until you're standing next to it.  It's very very very tall and I realized just how tall when we traveled to the top (did I mention I'm afraid of heights) and then down many spiral stairs with questionable hand railings.  For those of you who don't know much on the construction of "La Sagrada Familia," I thought this holiday time was the perfect opportunity since it focuses on the Holy Family.

The goal of La Sagrada Familia is to be a welcoming place for prayer and reflection, a place to express the love of God and men.  The church is still under construction due to the many donations from around the world.  The process started in 1874 (WOAH!) with the goal to dedicate a church to the Holy Family.  The project was undertaken by Antonio Gaudi, a famous architect in Barcelona and known for his unique style.  Gaudi spent 43 years on this church and his plan is still being put into action today.

Passion of the Christ
When we visited in 2010 they were near completion of the interior portion with the prospect of holding services there until the full project is completed in 2030.  It is a symbolic landmark of Barcelona.  At present the church has two facades dedicated to the Birth of Jesus and the Passion of the Christ.  The Nativity facade represents the birth of Jesus.  Gaudi finished it so that those who would continue to work on the church would be aware of the important and scale of the project.  The Passion facade represents the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Once it is complete, the third facade will refer to the Glory of Jesus resurrected.  It will also have 18 towers; 12 dedicated to the apostles, 4 to the evangelists, 1 to the Virgin Mary and another, which will rise to a height of 170 meters, to Jesus.

Nativity Scene

Background on the architect:
Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926) had a great interest in shapes, colors and geometry of nature.  Gaudi understood architecture as a complete art form, for which reason his creativity extended to each and every one of the elements in his work, all the way down to the doorknobs.  He set a precedent that would later influence the study of architecture.

Here are some other famous pieces by Gaudi that we saw in Barcelona.
Photos: First row - Parque Guell 1886-1888
Photos: Second row - Casa Vicens & Casa Mila "La Pedrera" (1906-1912) exterior, rooftop, interior



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