Antonio Gaudi holds a special place in the heart of Barcelona. It seems one cannot go anywhere without running in to a building he had something to do with. I have to imagine everyone has their own opinion on his taste in architecture and design. It is where the word Gaudy came from I suppose! My impressions on his work changed regularly. First, in the plane reading a travel guide looking at one seemingly hideous building after another.
Then I saw it in person. La Sagrada Familia, the church being built to Gaudi’s design long after his death. Work began on the church in 1882 with Gaudi taking it over in 1883. He died in 1926 with only 25% of his work completed. Work has continued ever since with final completion slated for 2026, one hundred years after Gaudi’s death.
The building truly doesn’t make sense. But you can’t take your eyes off of it. The designs are light years ahead of its time yet gothic because Gaudi felt like mixing the styles. Art nouveau yet old and historic and ultimately Godly. If not for the scaffolding everywhere it would be hard to pinpoint when it was built. Is it old? Is it new? Did an alien build it and drop it in the middle of Barcelona?
In trance you walk around the building with not one corner, doorway, or window the same. It’s mesmerizing and starting to win you over just in its sheer size, grandure, and eclectic style. The statues built in to the facade are breathtaking and alive and full of heartbreaking emotion. They look as though they come alive at night and fulfill the role they were carved to play. It is pure entertainment just to look at the outside facade of this epic building.
Then you walk in. So many churches in Europe have lovely stained glass. Well Gaudi made the inside of the church alive with rainbow color! Everywhere you look you can’t take your eyes off of the glass. It seems impossible to illuminate such a large space with glowing vibrant rainbow colors.
The ceiling and columns look like ornate trees. A spectacular organ sits at ready in one end of the building.
There are many breathtaking buildings and architectural wonders both new and ancient in the world. But there is nothing quite like La Sagrada Familia. It is a one of a kind living masterpiece. And it won over my heart and mind no matter how hard I tried to hate it.
This UNESCO world heritage site is slated for completion in 2026, the one hundred year anniversary of Gaudi’s death.
Gaudí’s Sagrada Família To Reach Another Milestone (Click on the below link which includes a very quick ten second video on the future steps of the construction of the church. It is very interesting.)
Remember back in the day when you would buy a tape from your favorite band and there was a secret song at the end? Well, if you liked La Sagrada Familia there is more!
Also in Barcelona, not too far from the epic La Sagrada Familia church, is Park Guell, another architectural exercise for your imagination. Originally built as an early single home development this park appears to be enjoyed by millions of locals and tourists alike. (Apparently, they only sold one of the plots probably because the ideas were too strange and ahead of their time for the real people of the time.)
This place looks like it should have been built for a Dr. Suess movie. But, again it wins you over for its unusualness and its view of the city.
One of the striking features of this park is its mosaics. Everything is brightly accessorized with mosaics.