Architecture

Barcelona Cathedral that tells us about the genius of Antoni Gaudí

The construction of the Barcelona cathedral Sagrada Familia officially begins on March 19, 1882. The first architect to work on the monument is the architect Francisco del Villar who had a very classic vision for this building. In 1883 he resigned because he did not get along well with the leader of the project. He then invited to work there a certain Antoni Gaudí, with whom they already knew each other. At the time, he was 31 years old and had great ambitions for this monument, so much so that he slept on the spot, in order to be able to achieve them as well as possible. Gaudí spends over 42 years designing and bringing his life’s most important work to life.

In 2005 the Barcelona cathedral Sagrada Familia was listed as a World Heritage Site. Gaudí provides 18 towers, 12 of which represent the 12 apostles and the highest is that of Jesus. At the moment we are mainly working on the missing towers. They all have a particularly mystical meaning, symbolizing the union between Heaven and Earth by their height. They make the Sagrada Familia look even more dignified and imposing, taking our breath away, when we look upwards and making us feel really small, facing God and facing Infinity.

Did you know? The Sagrada Familia is the tallest religious building in the world! Antoni Gaudí designed it in such a way that it does not go beyond Montjuic, a “work of God”. The building is still the tallest in Barcelona, ​​at 172.5 meters. The tops of the towers are decorated with glazed mosaic of Murano.

The bell towers have an unusual shape. Square based, they evolve from a certain height to a circular shape, ending in a needle. The architect proposes these effects in order to represent, through the towers, the passage from the terrestrial and the tangible (represented by the square) to the celestial (materialized by the circle, the perfect form). The bell towers are accessed by spiral staircases.

The first to be built was the facade of the Nativity. Gaudí wanted to show the extent of his imagination and his ideas and therefore he involved all his artistic ardor. The work on this facade was completed in 1930. It is richly decorated with leaves, a cypress, we also notice a white dove, symbol of peace, birds which fly to the cradle of Jesus, reptiles, turtles …

The Passion facade is created by sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs, based on a drawing by Gaudí. We will notice the rather simplified style compared to Gaudí, categorically modernist, the statues are stylized and raw, with square faces.

Work on the facade of Glory start in 2002. When completed it should be the most monumental of the three façades and should be the main one. Gaudí is only sketching the outline, aware that he will not be able to achieve it. He comments about it: “The fragment of the model of the main facade, I will not complete it and will not complete it. I decided to leave it under construction for another generation to collaborate at the Temple, as can be seen in the history of cathedrals, whose facades are not only by different architects, but also in different styles. “

La Sagrada Familia (located in the district of the same name) combines stone very well with stained-glass windows of shapes and colors inspired by nature – yellow, red, green, orange, blue… They form a real symphony of sensations and help to create a very strong religious feeling.

Must visit this summer, if you haven’t yet!

Barcelona Cathedral Sagrada Familia, Expiatori temple of the Sagrada Família in Catalan

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-glazing-lumiere-en-bleu-resized

Barcelona Cathedral – La Sagrada Familia, close-up of the Nativity facade, completed in 1905

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Nativite-le-petit-Jesus-resized

Barcelona Cathedral – the Sagrada Familia is adorned with human figures, rocks, plant themes with complex symbolism

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-le-Christ-born-resized

Barcelona Cathedral – the facade of the Sagrada Familia with Gaudi’s magic cube. The magic constant is 33, the assumed age of Christ at his death

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-La-passion-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: the Sagrada Familia. In 1905 the poet Maragall wrote in the Diario de Barcelona: “(…) the Church of the Sagrada Familia is the monument of Catalan ideals in Barcelona, ​​the monument of eternally ascending pity, of the stone-built realization of the desire for elevation. , the image of the soul of the people. “

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-La-passion-2-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: The Sagrada Familia is the most visited monument in Spain, with nearly 3 million visitors each year

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-figures-Passion-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: construction began in 1882 and should end in 2026 or 2028 for the centenary of Gaudí’s death 

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-vitres-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: Gaudí wanted each part of the Sagrada Familia to be built separately, so that each generation of architects would bring new styles to it over the years and centuries

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-on-the-background-of-the-city-landscape-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: The Sagrada Familia has received the title of “temple of expiation” because its construction was never funded by the State or the Church. At the beginning, the construction of the Basilica was financed by patrons. Then, many private funds engage with the financing, we also use income from donations or alms 

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-exterior-elements-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: Gaudí was of the opinion that perfect straight lines do not exist in Nature. This is why this extraordinary temple – which seeks to imitate Nature, was not built with straight lines

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-gothic-elements-exuberant-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: the Sagrada Familia is one of the best-known examples of Catalan Modernism (Art Nouveau)

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-detail-facade-admiring-tourists-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: the columns of the Sagrada Familia were built in the shape of roots in ways to support the temple, like roots supporting a tree

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-masterpiece-Gaudi-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: in 1954 the construction of the Passion facade began. The towers were completed and inaugurated on the fiftieth anniversary of Gaudí’s death in 1976. Construction of the crypt was completed in 1958

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-Crucifix-resized

In the light of night it looks like the Sagrada Familia is made of sand. It acquires an allure of a castle of fables

cathedral-barcelona-illuminated-by-night-Sagrada-Familia-resized

The facade of the Nativity, also called “of the Levant”, is the only one to have been built during Gaudí’s lifetime. Work on the temple continues from this gate. The facade has three large portals. They represent Hope, Charity, and Faith

cathedral-barcelona-detail-the-birth-of-Christ-resized

In 1981, in front of the Sagrada Família, the Gaudí square was developed, with a project of gardens and a basin to reflect the temple.

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-nouvelle-et-antique-part-resized

The Sagrada Familia is very rich in symbols related to the mysteries of the Faith. Venetian mosaic on the towers of the apostles

cathedral-barcelona-details-on-one-of-the-towers-resized

All the human figures on the facade of the Sagrada Familia represent man’s aspiration towards God and towards Infinity

cathedral-barcelona-details-of-human-figures-on-the-facade-resized

As decoration on the Gaudí apse preferred to imaginary animals of Gothic cathedrals snails, frogs, salamanders, lizards and chameleons  

cathedral-barcelona-details-of-snakes-and-lizards-surround-the-windows-resized

The Nativity facade was completed in 1905. Antoni Gaudí directly participated in its construction. The facade of the Nativity and the crypt of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia are classified, along with six other works by Antoni Gaudí, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

  cathedral-barcelona-details-the-family-of-Gesu-resized

The religious architecture of the Sagrada Familia is based on the solid lithurgical knowledge of Gaudí

cathedral-barcelona-details-figures-resized

The renewal of the Sagrada Familia which continues to evolve, to the great joy of generations to come

cathedrale-barcelona-visible-difference-between-the-ancient-part-and-the-reconstructed-resized

Barcelona Cathedral: when it will be completed, in 2026, the Sagrada Familia will have 18 towers. 12 will be dedicated to the apostles, 4 to the Gospels, one to Jesus and one to Mary. The tallest tower will reach 170 meters in height

cathedral-barcelona-in-full-construction-works-resized

A virtuous and meticulous architectural work in all the details

cathedral-barcelona-colimacon-resized-staircase

In 1915 Gaudí was called “Dante of architecture” by Cardinal Francesco Ragonesi, during the presentation of the work on the temple to representatives of the Vatican

cathedral-barcelona-multiple-figures-Gaudi-style-resized

Many styles are intertwined on the facades of the Sagrada Familia

cathedrale-barcelona-figures-resized

Gaudí writes about his design: “The structure that the Sagrada Família will have, I first experienced at the Güell colony. Without this first try, I would not have been able to adapt it to the Temple. “

cathedral-barcelona-interior-masterpiece-of-Gaudi-resized

 The central naves of the temple covered by these keystones were completed in 1993 by the architect Jordi Bonet and Armengo

cathedral-barcelona-interior-illumine-resized

The ceiling of the central nave with the perforated keystones that allow air to penetrate

cathedral-barcelona-interior-Sagrada-Familia-with-colored-glazing-resized

A play of shapes and lights for the great pleasure of all visitors

cathedral-barcelona-interior-symbolic-resized

Above the altar of the Sagrada Familia we admire this crucifix, created by Carles Mani i Roig, covered by a canopy, designed by Gaudí

cathedral-barcelona-the-crucifix-de-la-Sagrada-Familia-resized

The shining organ of the Sagrada Familia

cathedral-barcelona-the-organ-well-luminous-resized

The 2015 Christmas concert in the Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is commonly referred to as a cathedral but is in fact a basilica. “Basilica” is an honorary title granted by the Pope to certain churches

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-Antoni-Gaudi-resized

“I believe that the consecration of this church in the Sagrada Familia, at a time when man claims to build his life by turning his back on God, as if he had nothing more to say to him, is an event of a great meaning ”, Benedict XVI, who consecrates this temple basilica on November 7, 2010

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-on-the-right-Jesus-and-Joseph-on-the-left-the-flight-to-Egypt-resized

“My great friends are dead. I don’t have a family, or a client, or a fortune, or anything. So I can give myself entirely to the temple ”. TO the end of his life Gaudí moved to live in the studio of the Sagrada Familia

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-details-de-la-scene-de-la-Pitie-resized

The towers with the inscriptions: “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus”

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-decoration-of-the-towers-with-the-holy-word-resized

Gaudí was aware that he could not have completed the overly ambitious temple work and joked about it, saying, “My client is in no rush. “

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-details-in-the-white-stone-resized

For the design of these columns Gaudí was inspired by the trees of the forests of Catalonia

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-various-perspectives-resized

The work continues

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-gothic-elements-and-details-resized

Between gothic style and modernism

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-exterior-in-spring-resized

The Passion facade stops at the death and burial of Jesus. We do not see his resurrection. Gaudí’s thought was that no one saw him. You have to enter the Church to believe in the resurrection

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-facade-duration-of-construction-over-100-years-resized

Sumptuous and particularly expressive shapes

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-human-figures-resized

Faces on which we can read pain

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-figures-Pitie-resized

Celebration lights of the Faith

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-flowers-daisies-resized

The monumental bronze doors in which are engraved words. The most important sentences are gilded to stand out better and their size is increased very slightly compared to the others: “What is the truth” and “Jesus the Nazarene, king of the Judeans”

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-inscriptions-on-the-facade-de-la-Passion-resized

More than 130 years after the first stone was laid, we continue to work on Gaudí’s dream

cathedral-barcelona-overview-of the sidewalk-opposite-resized

The year of the laying of the foundation stone of the Sagrada Familia and the year of the visit of Pope John Paul II 

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-the-year-of-the-beginning-of-its-construction-and-the-year-of-the-visit-of-John-Paul-II-resized

2026 – according to plans this is the year of the end of the works on the Sagrada Familia. TO to follow… 

When the sun shines To through these colorful shapes, he creates a very rich range of sensations

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-the-glazing-on-the-central-facade-resized

The organ is at the heart of this basilica which celebrates life 

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-the organ-details-resized

A bright space, which invites contemplation and elevation of the spirit

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-majestic-resized

In the different hours of the day the light illuminates in a different way the elements on the facade of the Sagrada Familia

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-new-and-old-part-resized

Barcelona’s iconic monument continues to stoke the fancy of the architects working on it

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-resized

Symbols are intertwined, leaving plenty of room for very complex interpretations

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-richly-decorated-resized

The Sagrada Familia has its own style, developed after Gaudí by the six architects who succeeded it. The last is Jordi Bonet who has been working there since 1985

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-scene-with-the-rooster-resized

The scene from the Veil of Saint Veronica: she is a woman whom Christ heals from her hemorrhages and who takes her defense before Pilate during her trial. She also accompanies him on his ascent to Calvary. And the face of the figure at all left wears the features of Antoni Gaudí 

cathedrale-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-scene-de-Sainte-Veronique-evangeliste-a-left-face-de-Gaudi-resized

The Passion facade: above the stage with Saint Veronica is the scene of Christ crucified

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-scene-Christ-crucified-resized

The stained glass windows are attractively colored and create special lighting effects

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-a magic-of-shapes-and-colors-resized

The consecration of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, by Pope Benedict XVI, November 7, 2010

cathedral-barcelona-with-a-solemn-celebration-pope Benedict XVI

Inspired art, which in turn inspires

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-blue-glazing-facade-resized

The sun sets over Barcelona and the Sagrada Familia, which rises to the heavens

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-city-view-resized

The small towers of the nave are decorated with bunches of fruit

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-view-on-the-small-towers-resized

View of the ceiling of the nave

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-view-towards-the-eccentric-ceiling-resized

The scene of the coronation of the Virgin

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-la-coronation-de-la-Vierge-Marie-resized

The Passion facade and a view of the evolving architectural ensemble

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-one-of-the-jewels-of-Gaudi-resized

Nearly 22 kinds of stones are used for the constructions of the facades, in particular the stone of Montjuïc, extracted from the hill of the same name in Barcelona. This stone is hard, resistant and aesthetic

cathedral-barcelona-statues-belonging-to-one-of-the-most-recent-facades-of-the-basilica-resized

The four bell towers started in 1903 are dedicated to Saint Barnabas, Saint Simon, Saint Jude and Saint Matthew. They end with the attributes of the bishops: the staff, the miter, the ring and the cross

cathedral-barcelona-against-the-background-of-a-stormy-sky-resized

We are fascinated by Gothic shapes and by the play of colors

cathedral-barcelona-glazing-in-yellow-green-blue-royal-resized

A romantic view from the basilica over the city

cathedral-barcelona-view-from-in-top-on-Barcelona-resized

In Barcelona, ​​some would like the Sagrada Familia to be recognized as “the cathedral of Europe” 

cathedral-barcelona-view-from-the-sky-in-the-city-context-resized

Looks like pop culture

cathedral-barcelona-details-des-tours-resized

We look forward to 2026, when work on the Sagrada Familia will end.

cathedral-barcelona-Sagrada-Familia-a-sight-of-pres-resized

Gaudi remains single until the end of his life. He leads a simple and virtuous life and seeks to “bear witness to his love for Christ with all his life and his work”, according to José Manuel Alzumara, president of the Friends of Gaudí association.

cathedral-barcelona-view-towards-the-high-resized