Sunday, May 31, 2020

Happy Gawai 2020

Wishing all my friends and readers who celebrate Gawai
"Happy Gawai Festival
May you have long life, good health and prosperity.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Sites : Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Barcelona, Spain - November 2019
During a cycling tour of Portugal & Spain we had to opportunity to visit one of Spain's most recognisable sites - the Basílica de la Sagrada Família. It's a church looking like no other, in fact one may not take it for a church as it doesn't look like one from afar!

And it is actually a cathedral, a large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica located in BarcelonaCataloniaSpain. Its uniqueness stems from its designed by Spanish/Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí renown for his modernist and often controversial art form.
Construction of the Sagrada Família began under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. In 1883, when Villar resigned, Gaudí took over as chief architect, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted the remainder of his life to the project, and he is buried in the crypt and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. In fact up till now, this unique church is still not completed and cranes can still be seen at the top.
After more than a hundred years, the cathedral is still not completed. Architectural work is scheduled to be completed only in 2026 while, while artistic work for the Glory Facade will only be completed in 2036 - many of us may not see its completion. Click here for the timeline of Sagrada Familia's design & construction spanning almost 150 years from 1882 to 2036, it's a long time for a modern church, sort of a reminder of the long construction period for Medieval churches.

The basilica has a long history of splitting opinion among the residents of Barcelona. Describing the Sagrada Família, art critic Rainer Zerbst said "it is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art", and Paul Goldberger describes it as "the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages"

View of Sagrada Familia from Placa de Gaudi, August 2017. The cranes have been digitally removed.(Credit: C messier -
But I wonder, where did Gaudí get his inspiration from; perhaps from those tall and sharp Mediterranean cypress pine, or perhaps even from those rough earthen-coloured anthills. Whatever the case may be, it is easily one of the most recognisable buildings in the world.

It is a large building with a few different façades when seen from the exterior. Perhaps the most recognisable is the the Nativity façade to the East (seen in the above photo).
Other façades are, the Passion façade to the West, and the Glory façade to the South.

The Nativity façade with the first four towers, was built before work was interrupted in 1935 and bears the most direct Gaudí influence.

The Passion façade was built according to the design that Gaudí created in 1917. Construction began in 1954, and the steeples, built over the elliptical plan, were finished in 1976. It is especially striking for its spare, gaunt, tormented characters, including emaciated figures of Christ being scourged at the pillar; and Christ on the Cross. These controversial designs are the work of Josep Maria Subirachs.

View of the Glory Facade (Credit: Victor Grigas -
The Glory façade, on which construction began in 2002, will be the largest and most monumental of the three and will represent one's ascension to God. It will also be the main entrance into the church.

Model of the Sagrada Família complete original design by Gaudí. In this model, parts already built are shown in brown (2019). (Credit: Balou46Io_Herodotus) -
As can be seen from the above model, Gaudí's original design calls for a total of eighteen spires, representing in ascending order of height the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists and, at the centre tallest of all, Jesus Christ. Eight spires have been built as of 2010, corresponding to four apostles at the Nativity façade and four apostles at the Passion façade.

Top of the four spires of the Nativity façade, (crowned with a white floral cross?).

Elements closer to a Gothic design can be seen at the lower steeples.

A side view from the Passion facade, being newer the stonework looks different OR perhaps this was done on purpose.

Front view of the Passion Façade.
In contrast to the highly decorated Nativity Façade, the Passion Façade is austere, plain and simple, with ample bare stone, and is carved with harsh straight lines to resemble the bones of a skeleton. Dedicated to the Passion of Christ, the suffering of Jesus during his crucifixion, the façade was intended to portray the sins of man. Facing the setting sun, indicative and symbolic of the death of Christ, the Passion Façade is supported by six large and inclined columns, designed to resemble Sequoia trunks.

 Above this façade is a pyramidal pediment, made up of eighteen bone-shaped columns, which culminate in a large cross with a crown of thorns. Each of the four steeples is dedicated to an apostle (JamesThomasPhilip, and Bartholomew).

The scenes sculpted into the inner walls of this façade depicts the stations of the Cross (Via Crucis of Christ). The lowest level depicts scenes from Jesus' last night before the crucifixion, including the Last SupperKiss of JudasEcce homo by Pontius Pilate, and the Sanhedrin trial of Jesus. The middle level portrays the Calvary, or Golgotha, of Christ. The third and final level the Death, Burial and the Resurrection of Christ.

View of the side roof of the Passion Façade.

Close up view shows the angular roof topped with gifts of fruits.

The Sagrada Família is huge, may look complicated overall. But if one takes the time to view each facade, each level, and the many details therein, one will slowly and surely appreciate the artwork of Gaudí.

Somewhere along the Passion Façade is this unique sharp dome.

There are lots of photo opportunity spots around the outside, most will have their selfies, wefies or whatever-fies taken in front of the Nativity Façade. That's me and a girlfriend standing tall and trying to look cool.

To make photography easier, several concrete stools have been put up, just stand up there and have a companion take your photo.

But the towers are tall, and to get the whole thing into the photo may mean lying on the floor.

(Credit: Anne Cheong)
Some may poses just turns out great like this lady with a ballet pose taken during dusk.

Detail of the roof in the nave. (credit: SBA73 from Sabadell, Catalunya -
While the outside looks intriguing, the interior is also a showcase of Gaudí's talent. Here's a grand view of the ceiling in the nave. Gaudí designed the columns to mirror trees and branchesUnfortunately, due to time constraint I did not go inside, click here to view more of the interior.

And here's a video of bells chiming at the cathedral.

Basílica de la Sagrada Família
Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain.
Phone: +34-932080414
Entrance fee: €20 per pax (free for children under 11 years)
(Click here to purchase tickets on-line)
November to February Monday-Sunday: 9 am – 6 pm
March & October Monday to Sunday: 9 am – 7 pm
April to September Monday to Sunday: 9 am – 8 pm
25th and 26th December, 1st & 6th January: 9 am – 2 pm
Web Page:
Direction Map & GPS: 41.40362, 2.17435

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