The Marvel of La Sagrada Familia
“There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature. Therefore, buildings must have no straight lines or sharp corners.” – Antoni Gaudi
It’s hard to describe a first encounter with Gaudi’s masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We were swept away by the flow of the building. Very few sharp angles, just curving spires and waving walls.
The church was started in 1882. Gaudi took over construction a year later. It became his life’s work until his death in 1926. During his lifetime, only a quarter of the church was completed. Surprisingly, the church is not expected to be completed until 2026.
The €25 million annual construction cost is financed solely through donations and entrance fees (General admission is €18.00 – €13 for children and seniors) from the 3 million visitors each year.
There are 18 bell towers – each some 100 metres tall – in the plans, with eight having been completed. When finished, the building will be the tallest religious structure in Europe.
Going inside, we were awestruck. The interior pillars look like trees, with a turtle supporting one and a tortoise another. Everywhere you look are religious symbols, but also symbols built around nature. The turtle and the tortoise are said to represent the balance between land and sea. Gaudí gathered his inspiration from plants, animals, and geothermal formations. He even worked the stars into column design.
Watch this YouTube video that shows how construction will progress until completion.
And just for fun, watch this video performed by the Alan Parsons Project, who dedicated an entire album to Gaudi.
Last October, the first house designed by Gaudi opened as a museum. You can read more about that here.
Did you know?
When the building is finally completed, it will have taken longer to build than the assumed building time for the Egyptian pyramids, and only 50 years less than the Great Wall of China.
As well, La Sagrada Familia was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 – one of seven buildings by Gaudí that fall under this category. More detail about the seven sites can be found here.
And the first house ever designed by Gaudi has been turned into a museum.
A Few Tips
We didn’t buy our tickets online ahead of time, but timing worked out for us and we didn’t have to stand in line long. But with three million visitors a year, best to check online first to buy your entrance tickets.
Parking can be an issue, so check local bus routes and tourist offices.
Flights, Hotels and More
We’re big believers in checking several sources for flights, hotels, cars and the like. It’s amazing how different prices can be between them. For our trips we’ve used Expedia, hotels.com, HomeAway and VRBO. We have found pros and cons for each, so take the time to check each resource before deciding what’s right for you.
To help you on your way, here are links to various sites: