Monday, December 13, 2010

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia was one of the very first places I went when I got to Barcelona.  I had only been off the plane for just about 24 hours when I saw the giant church that sticks out on the Barcelona city skyline.  Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church that was designed by Antoni Gaudi.  Antoni Gaudi is very well known for being his unique style of design.  He designed Park Guell, which is widely recognized for its highly individualistic architecture.  One famous part of Park Guell is the longest bench in the world, which is made up of many small colored stones.  Another interesting part of the park are the slanted arches that are built into a hillside, as they were completely original in their time period.  Park Guell is very famous but not quite as grand as Sagrada Familia.  
The arches in Park Guell
Construction on Sagrada Familia started in 1882 and continues still to this day.  In fact, construction on the church is supposed to continue all the way 2026, which is the centennial anniversary of Gaudi’s death.  The church is a combination of Gothic style and Art Nouveau, with very large arches and columns.  The church only opened recently in mid-2010 and now allows regular services even though it is not yet completed. 
One thing that I found really interesting about Sagrada Familia is that it was actually consecrated by the Pope on November 7th while I was in Barcelona.  That’s a pretty significant event to be in Barcelona for.  Even King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia went to the Basilica to witness the Pope conduct the ceremony with about 6,500 other people.  It was even such a big deal that 50,000 other people stood outside the church during the procedure.

A friend and I outside Sagrada Familia

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