"In the Sagrada Familia, everything is providential." - Antoni Gaudi
This basilica is quite unique to say the least, and it will make an impression on you the moment you walk out of the underground station and see this massive feat of architectural brilliance.
The Sagrada Familia first began its construction in 1882 and is still been built to this day. My parents visited the basilica over 30 years ago and now it was my turn, along with my extremely patient boyfriend B.
Do not be shocked on arrival - if you have not booked your tickets in advance you will have to wait a good half hour to hour in line. You will also miss out on going up the towers because those tickets are booked a day in advance. We had just spent the day visiting the other Gaudi buildings around Barcelona and decided just to go have a look at the basilica.
One there, we were so fascinated by the cathedral that we went to McDonalds (conveniently located across the street) to ponder whether it was worth the long wait in the line. (We had not booked our tickets in advance and had waited in queues all day at the other Gaudi buildings).
But of course it was worth the 45 minutes wait. With the tickets of gold, we headed around the other side of the basilica to enter. The entrance is spectacular; you walk through these massive doors like your walking through the closet into the land of Narnia.
Just as we had imagined Gaudi’s style was evident everywhere. He was working on the Sagrada Familia from 1883 till the time of his death at 73 in 1926 (by this stage less than a quarter of the project was completed). In 2010 the construction had passed the midway point although some of the hardest architectural feats are still to be completed.
The completion of the church is expected in 2026 which is the centenary of Gaudi’s death. The church has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in November 2010 the late Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica as distinct from a cathedral which must be the seat of a bishop.
When inside you see that the church plan is that of a Latin cross with five aisles and a ceiling that is so high you bend your head back so far the blood rushes out. There is a central area that faces the cross of Jesus, but not any normal cross.
Here you can sit and reflect on the magnitude and geniuses minds that were involved in the creation of this stunning place. I really don’t know how to describe the inside of the Sagrada Familia let alone the outside, all I can say is that my mind was in awe of this wonderful place of worship. Religious or not, this place is bound to have an effect on you.
It's worth mentioning that the construction of this basilica was entirely funded by the public’s donations (and lately by the quite pricy entry tickets). In the beginning private patrons supported the building and construction.
It is not supported by the government or any other church sources. Money from the ticket sales (the ones we brought to enter like many others) is used to pay for the work, and private donations are also accepted through the Friends of the Sagrada Familia. In one year alone (2009) the construction budget was €18 million.
Well that is enough talking about the construction and building of this masterpiece, I will let the pictures do the talking as they are much better than my writing. My last words are, visit this place, be wowed and let your jaw drop like a child on Christmas day.