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figure of jesus suspended by the altar

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona – inside and out

We recently visited La Sagrada Familia and we loved the experience so much we wanted to share what we learned.

Go early

After reserving tickets online we went off early in the cool of the morning. It´s quieter and the morning sun brings life to the richly decorated Nativity Facade – complete with a choir of smiling children, animals, insects and a rose-adorned gate. Once past this entrance to the temple the light shines through coloured glass windows, making for a beautiful spectacle of rainbows inside of the basilica. They light up detailed shapes of tree trunks, branches and big leaves which close overhead to form a ceiling, imitating tall treetops against the sky.

It’s worth it

Entering La Sagrada Familia feels like entering a magical forest. This is something completely original and unique to this temple. For master designer Antoni Gaudi to be original is to return to the origin – for him, that was nature. He was not trying to be avant-garde, but he was definitely ahead of his time. Work on the temple began in 1882, a hundred years before architects around the world came up with the term “biomimicry” which means to design and build modelling on natural processes. Gaudi’s creative contribution to Barcelona’s architecture has been acknowledged and admired by many since 1882 and nowadays his creations are a protected UNESCO World Heritage site.

Enjoy

One still under construction, let’s not forget, which makes La Sagrada Familia one of the largest testing grounds for building methods in the world, when you think about it. Antoni Gaudi left plans, but plans only and he started over 135 years ago. “My client is in no hurry.” he once said about God jokingly. The work on the church, which includes the use of cranes, scaffoldings, metal barriers, and cement wall partitions carries on to this day under head architect Barcelonian Jordi Bonet, with plans to finish in 2026. Don’t worry you’d be needing a yellow construction helmet though, as being inside La Sagrada Familia you realise all machinery is hidden away for you to enjoy the shapes of nature and the coloured reflections of Barcelona sunlight.

Contribute

Your enjoyment of the church supports its construction, as it is the 3 milion tickets sold every year that fund the continuing work on Barcelona’s most visited temple and tourist attraction. Even the basic ticket includes access to a lot and makes for a great visit. You can see the whole ground floor of La Sagrada Familia, the Nativity Facade at the entrance and the Passion Facade right across as well as a surprisingly sciency, quirky museum with 2 meter tall models of parts of the church, diagrams explaining the natural geometries and photographs of Gaudi´s dreamy sketches. Mostly, it´s worth it to go for the once in a lifetime feeling of entering a magical forest. And once you´ve done that, Catalonia beckons with many natural wonders that first inspired Antoni Gaudi.

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