While studying Architecture at the University of Tennessee, the name Antoni Gaudí was mentioned quite a few times, and we knew that Barcelona was his stomping grounds. It was a beyond a treat to finally visit the architect's most notable work, the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família more commonly referred to as the "Sagrada Familia." I'll admit, while traveling, I shoot first and ask questions later. I'm mostly interested in capturing photographs, and whatever information I learn along the way is nice but not paramount. When I blog, I go back and Google and Wikipedia things in order to sound like a smarty-pants for you, the reader. With the Sagrada Familia, I'm not going to do that. I'll spare you the lofty historical knowledge, and just share the images.
If you'd like to know about the cathedral there's plenty of information on its website: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/
I may mentioned a few tidbits here and there, but overall I'll just say that I was in awe of the detailed work both inside and out. Note: there are not any wide exteriors of the cathedral here. I took a few on my first day in Barcelona and that blog post is coming soon.
The awesome, unfinished cathedral was right in front of me, but of course, I needed to check out the model first which depicts it's eventual finished form with 18 towers:
Gorgeous engraved doorways as you enter:
Once inside, I was listening to the audio guided tour provided by the Basilica. I was absolutely amazed by the scale of the interior, the detailed stonework and the overall feeling of the space. That "I love architecture" feeling flooded my heart, which felt nice. It had been a while since I felt that. I made a quick circle around the interior to start, just grabbing the first details and angles that jumped out at me:
A peek into the Rosary Chapel underneath the apse:
Something unmissable is the design of the space's ceiling. The splayed structural columns at the support columns is meant to evoke the image of a tree. The sanctuary is meant to feel as a moment in nature:
A fun feature, I naturally took advantage of, was a mirror table in which you could capture a self portrait with the ceiling in the background. High tech selfie, and proof of actually being there:
Among the many things I learned at the Sagrada Familia, I also learned that an underexposed image of the Sagrada's ceiling looks like a villain from a Sci-Fi movie:
The Four Evangelists
Four columns in the center of the space are designed with small lamps (lamps illuminate other columns as well). Each has a symbol of an animal, along with text beneath. These lamps and columns represent the four evangalists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John:
Stained glass. sunrise, sunset...
A few prior images show this, but another feature of the interior are beautifully colored stained glass windows. Gaudí's design was intentional in that the color of the windows on the east facade would be cooler, with blues and greens to represent the softer light of sunrise and the west facade would contain warmer colors, red and orange to highlight the direct light of sunset. Fortunately, I was there in the late afternoon and the sun shone through the west facade and I caught a nice flare. I was so drawn to it. I could not get enough, and could have photographed more angles for hours:
I could not help but notice this staircase and another wonderful stained glass window illuminating it. My wedding photographer instincts resurfaced. How great would this spot be for a bridal portrait?
Before making my way towares one of the towers for ascendance and observation, I ambled a bit more, making one more lap:
Probably the most beautiful dipiction of Christ on the cross I've ever seen:
The Basilica's interior tour concluded with the opportunity to ascend the Passion Tower, located on the Basilica's southwest facing facade. It provided a few unique moments, like the spiral staircase, a bird nesting within, and of course great views of the city out and below:
Once back on street level, I ended my visit with gazing at the Passion Facade, whose many stone engravings are meant to depict the story of the crucifixion of Christ:
Incredible, awe-inspiring experience. I'm very thankful to have visited.