The capital of Catalonia is one of the main tourist centers of Europe. This city is famous for its abundance of attractions, its bold character and unbridled architecture. Barcelona has gained this fame largely due to the work of the outstanding architect Antonio Gaudi, which has amazed tourists since its creation. One of the most striking and incomprehensible works of the architect is, of course, the legendary Sagrada Familia, or the Temple of the Holy Family by Antoni Gaudi.
Description of the Church of the Holy Family
Sagrada Familia is the most famous landmark of the capital of Catalonia. This church has been under construction for nearly 140 years. Construction of the church began in 1882, when the church purchased a plot of land outside the city for the construction of the most magnificent cathedral in the history of Spain, to work on the project was invited to the talented and extraordinary architect Antonio Gaudi, who at that time was no one known young designer, who had under his belt only one building.
Antonio enthusiastically set to work, even without a specific construction plan. All of his decisions were intuitive, and it was not uncommon for builders to have to rework already completed parts of the basilica when the architect came up with new ideas. The architect devoted his entire conscious life to the construction of the Temple of the Holy Family. Antonio simply lived on the construction site, because he couldn’t leave the work unattended for a minute. Under his leadership, the work continued for a full 40 years, until the death of the architect.
The uniqueness of this building is not even in the unusual shapes and mix of different architectural styles that Gaudi used. In fact, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is a bible embodied in stone. Each of the facades of the building is a biblical story that hides the secrets of the universe, the secrets of the past and the future.
Noteworthy is the fact that to create sculptural compositions, the artist used casts of animals and people. For example, for the painting of the murder of children by King Herod, casts were made of stillborn babies, and to create animal figures Antonio simply put them to sleep for a while.
Surprisingly, such a majestic structure was built entirely on donations from townspeople. When money ran out, the architect himself went out on the streets of the city to collect donations. The fire and enthusiasm in his eyes did not leave citizens indifferent, and each of them donated even their last savings for the construction. This went on until 1926. This year, the great architect died absurdly under the wheels of a streetcar, leaving behind not a single drawing of the finished project.
After the death of the great architect, the construction of the Sagrada Familia was taken over by Gaudi’s pupil, D. Surganes, but he too did not have time to finish his life’s work. After his death, three more architects led the work, each of whom contributed their own ideas to the architecture and decoration of the building.
Exterior interior and architectural features
Despite the fact that the construction of the church continues to this day, the service in it began back in 2010, then the church became available for guided tours. Today, the Sagrada Familia is recognized as the most unusual basilica in the world, and thus the most visited attraction in Spain.
Among the outstanding architectural features of the structure are several notable details, for example, the towers, which rise above the modern buildings and are visible from almost anywhere in the city, soar upward from a single base, as if a huge rock split into several parts and directed their peaks into the boundless sky.
Also surprising and unusual bas-reliefs and sculptures that tell about those stages of the life of Christ, the birth, suffering and resurrection. The architecture of the basilica is full of irregular shapes and geometric nonsense, which creates an overall picture of a kind of chaos, subject to the architect’s will.
It’s definitely worth going inside. The interior of the church inside, as well as its external appearance, are striking for their strangeness and the unbridled imagination of the architect. When you enter, the Sagrada Familia cathedral offers wonderful views. Visitors are surrounded by fanciful branching columns that rush beneath the openwork vaults like flower lianas winding along unique frescoes and stuccoes. It’s very bright and cozy inside. The sun streams in through the many windows and stained-glass windows, which makes the lighting soft and somehow fabulous.
Not all of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia cathedral is available for viewing today. You can buy a ticket in the tower facades of the Nativity and Passion, and there is also an open museum of the erection of the church, where unique sketches and drawings of the great architect are on display. Most of the exposition, unfortunately, was destroyed during the war, but what is left, amazes visitors with its originality.
Once in this extraordinary structure, be sure to go up to the observation deck. You can get here by elevator, and a unique spiral staircase leads to the site. The spiral is unique in that when viewed from below it gives the impression of a warped reality and the complete feeling that the vault is moving up without stopping. From here you have a really unique view of Barcelona. From the observation deck, a spiral staircase ascends to the very top of the tower, where, according to the great architect’s plan, bells were to be placed that would produce magical music when the wind moves.
From one tower of the Sagrada de Familia to the other you can get through twisting corridors. From the highest windows of the towers you can see the unique facade sculptures. Here stone pigeons are frozen in time in the branches of fabulous trees, the faces of saints emerge from the walls, watching over ordinary people and mysterious chimeras, as if waiting for their time to return to the world of the living.
The crypt of the church is also interesting to visit. There are daily services that are attended by local parishioners. The crypt was also the last resting place of the great architect. This is where he was buried after his tragic death.
Tourists are offered several options to see Sagrada Familia Barcelona. A regular ticket without a tour will cost 15 euros. Admission is free for children under 10 years of age. The following plans are also available:
- With a guide – 24 euros. The tour is conducted in French, Spanish, English or German.
- With an audio guide – 22 euros. The audio guide can tell the story of the construction in 8 languages, including Russian.
- With audioguide and a visit to the towers – 29 euros.
You can buy tickets on the official website or at the offline box offices. You should be careful when purchasing tickets from third-party resources or dubious distributors. The administration is not responsible for the purchase of fake tickets.
Mode of operation
The Sagrada Familia is open from 9:00 to 18:00 from November to February. Visiting hours are extended to 7 p.m. in March. From April to September the basilica can be visited from morning to 8:00 p.m. local time, and in October the working day is shortened to 7:00 p.m. There are some days of the year when tours are only available before lunch. So until 14:00 entrance is open on January 1 and 6, as well as on December 25 and 26.
By all accounts, the best time to visit the basilica is in the morning hours. If you buy a ticket on the website, be sure to determine the time of the elevator, otherwise even having a ticket in hand can not get to the inspection. You must arrive at the main entrance 20-30 minutes before the time indicated on the ticket.
If you intend to visit Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral for the first time, it is better to buy an organized tour. Today, almost every hotel has travel agencies that organize exciting sightseeing tours of the city and the Sagrada Familia is included in these excursions.
Organized tour will allow you to visit the basilica with a guide, learn the history of construction, see the most interesting places and, most importantly, avoid the long lines at the entrance. The form of dress to enter the attraction is free, but women are advised to refuse high heels.
Popular hotels near Sagrada Familia
There are dozens of hotels in close proximity to the church that welcome tourists from all over the world. The most popular of them among our compatriots are:
- Hotel Eurostars Monumental. The hotel is only 200 meters from the basilica. The hotel is famous for its high level of service, cozy rooms and great views. The hotel is located at Consell de Cent 498-500, 08013.
- Hotel Sant Antoni. This hotel is located just 100 meters from the legendary landmark. Room here is better to book in advance, because of its great popularity among tourists from European countries. The address of the hotel is Consell de Cent, 476, 08013.
- Hostemplo Sagrada Familia. This hotel is the most inexpensive accommodation option in close proximity to the cathedral. The hostel is located 200 meters from the Sagrada Familia. Rooms include both dormitories and private suites. The address of the hostel is Carrer de Sicilia, 276, 08013.
Other iconic attractions in Barcelona
Traditionally, the most interesting excursions in Barcelona are tours organized by locals. Amateur guides will show you the most interesting places of the city for a small fee. Each of them has its own unique tour program. Find a guide is easy enough, you can ask the hotel staff or look at offers on local websites. Also, any attraction can be visited on their own by finding it on the map and make a route.
One of the most interesting programs is a walk through the churches of the city. The tour may include a visit to the Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, the Temple of the Sacred Heart and of course the Sagrada Familia. It is worth noting that it is the Church of the Sacred Heart that is the most visited after Gaudi’s temple. This iconic structure stands at the very top of Mount Tibidabo. The trip takes about 5 hours, but this time will not go in vain, because the way to the church will give a lot of good impressions, and the view of the city from the mountain will not leave indifferent any tourist.
Catalonia and its capital are undoubtedly worthy to have the title of the most interesting places in the world. Many travelers believe that in one visit is simply impossible to see all the unique and unusual places of the capital. Many of the buildings here are centuries old and protected by UNESCO.