Barcelona - Sagrada Familia
Antoni Gaudi's Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia is the most famous
and unforgettable structure in Barcelona. According to the Rough Guide to Barcelona:
In many ways this has become a kind of symbol for the city ... It's an
essential stop on any visit to Barcelona ... it speaks volumes about the Catalan urge to
glorify uniqueness and endeavour. It is the most fantastic of the modern architectural
creations in which Barcelona excels ... Even the coldest hearts will find the Sagrada
Familia inspirational in form and spirit.
The church is a staggering 'work in progress'. Originally begun in 1882 as
a conventional neo-Gothic creation, Gaudi took over the design at the age of 31 and spent the
rest of his life working on what became an amazing moderniste building. Gaudi died in 1926 and his designs
and models were to be destroyed by the anarchists in 1936. Only one facade had been completed
by the time of Gaudi's death and, although spared during the civil war, it was not universally
admired. The writer George Orwell wrote that it was "one of the most hideous buildings
in the world", adding that the anarchists showed bad taste "in not blowing it up when they
had the chance."
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
The construction was resumed in the 1950's amongst considerable controversy
about its subsequent design. The building is even more remarkable on the inside than out because,
virtually unique in the modern world, it gives visitors an impression of what it must have been
like to see a cathedral-sized church being built in the middle ages.
Sagrada Carvings, Barcelona