Top of my list of places to visit in Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia. This iconic structure in the heart of Barcelona is a must see for anybody who has a love of architecture and human creativity. It’s one of the most stunning buildings I have ever seen and when finished will be quite simply breath taking. Barcelona is famous for it’s architecture particularly by Antoni Gaudí. Gaudi’s work can be seen all over the city and is instantly recognizable.
The Sagrada Familia is a cathedral of epic ambition and is a stunning example of the creativity of man and giants like Gaudi. If you plan to visit the site then I suggest that you book your tickets online first. During the summer lines for tickets can take up to two hours and the line to get in can take another hour. Luckily I went in winter and was able to walk almost straight in with my online ticket. I also highly recommend the audio tour, I’ll tell you why later.
The exterior of the Cathedral is something that has to be seen to be believed. Rising out of the ground the structure looks more like a science fiction set than a church. Originally the cathedral had been designed in the Gothic fashion. After visiting so many cathedral over the last few weeks this one was like a much needed breath of fresh air. The detail is amazing but as you will see the style of the different parts of the building change to fit purpose and the message.
From the outside the building is impressive, from the inside it is breath taking.
At first my impression as I walked inside was mixed. Having seen gothic after gothic after gothic building my reaction was “oh that’s not what I expected”. At first I thought it was art deco but as I shrugged off the Gothic brainwash a deep sense of awe came over me.
The sensory overload left me unsure at what I was looking at. This is where the audio tour became invaluable. The building is so stunning and so full of meaning that to really appreciate it you will need a guide. So much thought and planning has been put in to construction and design that without some kind of tour you will miss a lot of the detail.
The interior light is beautiful and the columns that rise up like giant trees to support the most beautiful ceiling I have ever scene. To me it was like standing in a forest under and canopy of leafy green trees as the light in every hue streamed through the growth around me. The ceiling floats above like the billowing white clouds of a heaven looking down on the earth below it. It is nothing short of inspiring.
As a photographer I found myself welling up with emotion at the creativity and the genius of the minds which have conspired to conceive such a beautiful building. I felt like the ant staring at the milky-way and trying to comprehend. I was moved to literal tears, I’m sure the other tourists thought I was crazy.
The light streaming through the stained glass windows creates rainbows of colour across the marble. There is none of the oppressive darkness that I felt in other cathedrals. Here everything is a celebration, the light doesn’t blind you or force you wallow in the dark, instead rainbows of colour shine in every corner.
This place is a monument to inspiration and what the mind can achieve. The depths of human creativity in a place like this are something that no photo or words could possibly convey. You have to stand in this place to really see it. If there is one place in Barcelona that you should visit it is here, not just because of the icon that it is but because of what it represents. Long after the death of the man who began this great project some of the most creative minds from around the world still labor to create something that is a monument to humanities potential. It seems to me that it will be a bitter sweet day when it is completed and this part of its journey ends.