|The Sagrada Família’s Nativity Façade|
Many people assume the Sagrada Família is the city’s cathedral, but it’s actually a minor basilica. Barcelona’s Gothic-style cathedral can be found in the old town, where it has stood for the past half-dozen centuries. (Side-note: a cathedral is home to a bishop or archbishop, referring to the cathedra or seat that represents their authority.) The Sagrada Família is instead a basilica, a significant and important church that has been granted special privileges. Pope Benedict XVI gave the church said status when he consecrated it in 2010. The church is dedicated to the Sagrada Família, Catalan for the “Holy Family” of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.
|Nave of the Sagrada Família|
Construction began on the church in 1882 and Gaudí became its architect the following year. Initially, he had planned to do a Gothic Revival-style church (see, for example, the crypt and the apse) but a few sketches later and the church had been transformed into something never before seen in Western architecture. He went all-in with his avant-garde architectural ideas, making the stonework on the Nativity Façade look like oozing slime and the main pillars inside the nave branch out like trees. He also took advantage of geometric calculations with hyperboloids (no idea what those are!) and, with his fractal-like columns, was able to construct a massive, soaring, weight-bearing space without the use of Gothic flying buttresses.
|Tower caps that make me hungry|
The interior is, excuse the cliché, a riot of colors—you can find bright reds, blues, and greens in the many stained glass windows as well as in the bug-eye looking pillar capitals that represent the four Evangelists. Light pours in from the western wall, the many large windows, and skylights in the above. And the ceiling supported by the branching pillars makes you feel like you’re inside a pink springtime forest, or beneath a sky of exploding fireworks, or in a fantasy undersea world of coral, sea anemones, and kelp.
|Stained glass windows|
How to get there: The Sagrada Família can be found at the block formed by C/ Provença, Marina, Mallorca, and Sardenya (Eixample district). Take the L5 (blue line) on the Metro and get off at the Sagrada Família stop.
Please tell me you made a stop here if you’ve ever been to Barcelona…right, right?!? Comment below!