By Barbara Hahijary
Barcelona is one of the most populous cities in Spain, second only to the capital Madrid. It's a popular tourist destination for its football and party scenes, but it's the city's architecture wins the hearts of both locals and tourists. The city is brimming with eccentric architecture inspired by natural forms. One of these architectural wonders is La Sagrada Familia.
The construction of the church, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site started in 1882 (and it's still on going)! During the 16th-18th century, the Catalonia region showed significant infrastructure development to improve its defence during the wars. Since Catalonia was a part of the Roman Empire, the people were devout Roman Catholics. Their faith manifested into the majestic Sagrada Familia (literally meaning Holy Family).
Antoni Gaudí was actually not the initial architect. He took over from Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano after the promoters had disagreements with him. This was about a year into the project. Gaudi, who was a Roman Catholic Spaniard, re-interpreted his knowledge of Byzantine churches into an Art Nouveau style design. Inside, La Sagrada Familia is lined with a series of angled columns and hyperboloidal ceiling vaults. The compound is a mesh of complex shapes like helicoids and conoids to facilitate a fine structure and maximize the quality of light and audio. Like other churches built in the same period, the interior is adorned by shades of the stained glasses.
The total area is 5,400 sqm with a capacity of 9,000 people. It currently has eight sharp towers. Once completed, there will be 18 altogether. The tallest one will measure over 170 metres, making La Sagrada Familia Europe's tallest house of worship. Compared to other Gothic landmarks, the church is much more decorative and has a greater number of towers.
Though slow in progress, Sagrada Familia is in its final stages. The estimated time of completion is 2026, 100 years after Gaudi's death.
Photo by Sagrada Familia Doc.