My trip to Barcelona is probably one of the most unforgettable memories because just a night before my departure back to Paris for my study at Le Cordon Bleu – the terrors attacked Paris. That was in November 2015. I learnt about that only early next morning and was informed that my train to Paris may be cancelled. Anyway the hotel receptionist asked me just to go to the station and to my surprise, the train not suspended but the security was very tight, the atmosphere at the station very tense.
It was a long trip from Paris to Spain, 6 hours ride on the train! I first visited Gerona as it was one of the film locations for Games of Thrones and then Barcelona for this amazing architecture creation – Sagrada Familia or to me as The Temple of Light!
The night before I decided to visit the church as it was not far from my hotel, by metro, only three stations away. I followed the exit sign “Sagrada Familia” and right in front of me – the amazing architecture appeared grandiosely!
It was quite late, not many people in the street, I spent some time in a small park in front of the church to admire this beauty at night. My eyes, my mind were overwhelmed with this strangely beautiful building. I was wondering how people can come up with a such idea to build a church. Next morning, I went back there early in the morning for the ticket and to avoid the long queue. It opens at 9:00.
The beginning of this amazing Temple probably dated back to 1866, with the idea to build a temple for the Holy Family. The construction began in 1882 with the neo-Gothic design by the first architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, just a short while later, due to disagreement with the developers, he stepped down and the position was given to Antoni Gaudí, who proposed a new design, combining Gothic and Art Nouveau forms, more monumental, more innovative.
The ticket office located behind the church, so after the entrance I went to the front side – the most attractive spot for every visitor – the Nativity façade (the other two are The Passion and The Glory). The Nativity façade faces the rising sun, a symbol for the birth of Christ. It is divided into three porticos, each of which represents Hope, Faith and Charity. It was constructed from 1894 until 1930, the three porticos are separated by two large columns, and at the base of each lies a turtle and each one are symbols of time as something set in stone and unchangeable.
When I step inside – absolutely another world, by somehow it reminds me very much of the movie “Avatar”, those very tall columns, the central part of the church heigh up to 45 meters and 30 meters on the side and the incredibly beautiful roof. the stained glass windows…like in the Temple of Light.
In the basement of the Church – we can find some exhibition, with more details on the technical side of the construction, the history and other stories about the genius Antoni Gaudi. Some people described the Church as “a marvel of technical perfection”, called it “sensual, spiritual, whimsical, exuberant” or “one of the most hideous buildings in the world” or “one of the strangest-looking serious buildings in the world”.
The building’s distinctive silhouette has nevertheless become symbolic of Barcelona itself, drawing an estimated 2.5 million visitors annually. The construction is still going on and it would be completed in the next 7 years, in 2026. Please check the video and you can imagine the finished Basilica in the future!
Together with six other Gaudí buildings in Barcelona, part of Sagrada Família (the Crypt and the Nativity Façade) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site but what happened with the genius architect – Antoni Gaudi in his last years is a sad story.