Our first day in Barcelona involved visiting the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, the ginormous unfinished cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudí. Having only seen the exterior on my previous Barcelona trip, I was excited to see what the inside was like…
It was unfortunately a bit of a miserable grey and drizzly day – I think Barcelona was welcoming us British people by supplying us with weather similar to what we are accustomed to 😛
The cathedral is still unfinished – there are cranes all over the top constantly carrying out works. Construction started in 1882, and the last time I came to Barcelona in 2013 the predicted finish date was 2020. This date has now been moved forward to 2026 – which would take it to a crazy 144 years of construction!
The visitor entrance is through the Nativity façade, which is elaborately decorated with Saints and scenes from nature. It is stunningly detailed, and you can get a pretty good idea of why the building is taking so long to finish.
It’s really difficult to capture the scale of the thing with photographs – you really have to see it for yourself to really understand what it looks like!
Walking through the doors into the cathedral is something else – it is so huge inside, with so much detail in every single element.
Large columns split as they rise to the ceiling, resembling the underneath of a forest canopy.
Four lit plaques bear the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John at the tops of the largest columns above the alter (which I wouldn’t have noticed if the audio guide hadn’t told me 😛 ).
The alter itself has a model of Jesus on the cross beneath a canopy flying above it, and the ceiling goes up so high!
One side of the cathedral has windows with panes of warm tones like reds, oranges and yellows…
…and the other side has windows with cool tones of blue and green. There is no clue from the outside of the cathedral at all that there are windows within with such beautiful colours.
The visitor exit is through the Passion façade, which features harrowing carvings of Christ on the cross and pillars which resemble strained muscles. It certainly makes you feel a little uneasy!
You can purchase tickets to go up the towers via an elevator but it seemed pretty busy and we didn’t bother this time around, especially on such a grey day.
I am so glad that we decided to purchase tickets to see the interior though, as it is absolutely stunning. Book your tickets in advance if you are planning to go, as you have very little chance of getting tickets on the day!