Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 200 - Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Casa Gaudi

The biggest attraction in Barcelona has to be Gaudi's incomplete masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. Everyone who's been here has always mentioned this church in their praise of the city. I must say, I didn't do too much research on it, and even forgot how to pronounce it numerous times. People would ask me if I was going to see the "Sagrada Familia" and I would go "oh, is that the church thing?" But I doubt I'll forget the name now that I've seen how incredible and detailed and grand the project is.

The church has been under construction since the late 19th century and doesn't expect to be finished until the late 2020s. The progress of the project is dictated by the donations it receives and also by the price of admission for tourists to enter. I'm not sure if it is often used for church services, even if it's a church first and foremost and then an attraction afterwards.

The church was Gaudi's lifelong project, and he died before he could see much of the progress of the construction, but it has continued to be built, with the help of other designers and architects. Nothing in the church was placed arbitrarily or added as "fluff" to fill space. Everything was painstakingly thought out and meticulously placed where it was intended to be placed.

I don't know too much about the specifics of the project, (Get an audioguide if you go!) but Gaudi usually incorporates nature in his architecture, and the inside of the church was made to resemble a forest, with the columns used to support the church resembling tree trunks. He used a lot of natural geometry to design various parts of the church, and used laws of nature to create structural support that would enable the church to have a lot of open space, and require as little support materials as possible.

The church has 3 facades called the passion, glory, and nativity. We were able to see the Passion and Nativity facades, but the Glory facade was covered due to construction. When construction is completed, there will be 18 towers, 12 of which represent the 12 apostles, 4 representing the evangelists, and the other three representing Mary, Mother of God, and Jesus. There's so much more to mention about the church, it'd take way too long to explain. Check the pictures below to get a small sense of how grand this church is...

Afterwards, we headed to Park Guell, another Gaudi creation. The park is situated in the northeast of Barcelona, higher in altitude where there were great spots overlooking the rest of the city. Gaudi was commissioned to design a residential neighborhood in the area, but the project flopped when there wasn't enough interest in purchasing homes. The area was subsequently given to the city, where it is now used as a public park. Gaudi's once lived in one of the houses he designed, and there, we visited the museum to get a sense of his living and work space. It was all about Gaudi today!

Passion Facade

Passion Facade

Nativity Facade

Nativity Facade

Nativity Facade

View of Sagrada Familia from Park Guell

Park Guell

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