September 21, 2014

La Sagrada Familia

On our final day in Barcelona, I was adamantly set on getting the one thing we had yet to try in españa: churros con cioccolata.  

We really needed something to start our day off right, and what healthier way than doughnuts covered in sugar and dipped in molten chocolate? 

While it was decadent and delicious, it still didn't measure up to the dessert we'd had a few nights prior

Fully stuffed and caffeinated, we headed onward to our number one destination of the day, stopping to take a few snaps along the way of the ever impressive buildings of the city. 

Arriving at the crown jewel of them all though, really puts all other architecture to shame, even despite the cranes and tarps. 

Basilica de La Sagrada Família

Towering at 558 feet, it is completely impossible to fathom the scale of the massive structure.  

The only thing harder to grasp than the size, is the intricite detail that touches every inch of the design, inside and out. 

The construction of the church began 132 years ago, and the torch of master architect has been passed through the years.

Most notably, obviously, is the main designer and architect (though not technically the original, who was a man by the name of Francisco de Paula del Villar), the master Antoni Gaudí. He would work on the still uncompleted building until his death in 1926.  

The use of color and whimsy in the design of the facade are unlike that of any other church I have ever seen. Or of any other building for that matter. 

To even try to gather just how ginormous the cathedral is, take a look at this man in the balcony on the left hand of the photo. That makes that tree-like design some 50+ feet tall. 

The front of the building, especially, is just so...gaudy. Gaudy, gettit? We all knew that word had to come from somewhere. 

The kind of religious fervor Gaudí himself must have possessed literally drips from the edifice. 

Gaudí's faith is not the only one that has helped build this grand masterpiece; La Sagrada Familia is an expiatory church, meaning that the Catholic Church just didn't hack into the Vatican fund to build it, but rather relies entirely on donations for the construction. 

"The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people." 
-Antoni Gaudí

This donation basis may help to rationalize why it has taken over one hundred years to not even complete the cathedral. It is estimated that sometime around 2040 construction should finally be complete. 

So if you were going to try to plan for a time when the cranes are gone, I would just skip that and go now. They may be an eye soar, but you are so distracted by the majesty of everything that is complete, it really fades into the background. There's plenty of detail to focus in on. 

Plus, if you go now, then you can start planning your 25 year return tour to Europe, when you come and see the completed La Sagrada Familia, and bask in its brilliance. Or, at least, that is our plan.  

I really could have made this into a two part post if I wanted to, given the number of photos I took, but really, there's something great about the juxtapostition of the inner and outer designs to the chapel. 

Given the aggressive brown stones, and dripping pillars of grotesque art, you could imagine the inside of the church to imitate the outside.  

Not the case, not the case in the least. 

If there was a castle on a cloud, this would, without question, be the inside. Towering columns twist around you, with a sense of movement, while the pale colored stone illuminates the chapel with a kind of radiance. 

Around the circumference are vibrantly colored stained glass windows that glow in the bright afternoon light.  

With so many windows on each wall, and even white stained glass on one end, an incredible amount of natural light enters the area, ridding any thought of the dark, dank atmosphere of many chapels. 

La Sagrada Familia is undeniably the most stupendous church I have ever been in. I love the ornate Renaissance churches of Italy, but Gaudí's masterpiece is definitely the most unprecedented work of the 20th century.   

Brooke, Lindsey, and I just literally had to sit down in the there for awhile after having looked around. It was a very necessary sit-and-be-in-awe-of-this-remarkable-impossible-design. By the time we left I think we had all been properly mesmerized by the creation of such an architectural miracle. 

Yours, Kenna 

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