La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is an unfinished Catholic basilica in Barcelona designed by architect Antoni Gaudi.The Church was originally built as a work of expiation for the city’s increasingly revolutionary ideas, but when Gaudi took over as lead architect, he seized the building into an expression of his strong religious and nationalist feelings.
The building has 8 towers that rise 100 meters. The towers represent the Twelve Apostles and each one bears the name and apostle. Gaudi also intended to add a 180 meter tower in the center, topped with a great cross representing Jesus. This will be surrounded by four shorter towers representing the four Evangelists, topped with their animal symbols. A still shorter tower will represent Virgin Mary. The height as Gaudi believed his work should not surpass that of God. The pinnacles of the towers are decorated with colorful mosaics and some are embedded with the words “Excelsis” and “Hosanna”.
The basilica has three facades, which are filled with precise symbolism: The Passion Façade on the west, the Nativity Façade on the east, and the Glory Façade on the west. Each Façade has three portals representing the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love.
The Passion Façade on the west side, dedicated to the suffering and death of Christ is nearly complete. It is decorated with striking angual sculptures by Josep Maria Subirach. Its great doors which serve as the main entrance are printed with words from the Bible in various languages including Catalan. The word JESUS and select others are printed to stand out.
(Picture is of the Passion Facade's Great Wall)
The Nativity Façade on the east, dedicated to the birth of Christ, was completed before work was interrupted in 1935 and bears the most direct Gaudi influence. The birth of Christ is depicted in the center with the Adoration of the Magi on the left and the Adoration of the Shepherds on the right. Above is the Annunciation and Coronation of the Virgin Mary. High on the Nativity Façade id a spire with the cypress tree, symbolizing life. At the foot of the tree are a pelican and angels holding chalices, symbols of the Eucharist. At the top of the tree is a red Tau cross with an “X” representing Christ’s name and a dove representing the Holy Spirit. The bases of the Façade contain sculptures of turtles, symbolizing the stability of cosmos.
(Picture is of an image on the Nativity Facade)
Inside the Sagrada Familia, areas will be dedicated to religious concepts such as the regions of saints, virtues and sins, and secular concepts such as the regions of Spain. You can take elevators to the top of the inside of the Nativity and Passion Façades, or climb 400 steps. Once at the top, you can climb around walls and into other towers and enjoy the partial view of Barcelona through a jumble of latticed stonework, ceramic decoration, carved buttresses, and a variety of sculpture.
(Picture is of a hallway inside La Sagrada Familia)