16 April 2017 | Day 2 – Sagrada Familia
Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the number one attraction in Barcelona. It is a large Roman Catholic church designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Its construction started in 1882 by architect Francisco Paula de Villar with Gaudí becoming involved in 1883 after Francisco resigned as the head architect.
Taking over the project, Gaudí transformed it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. At present, the church is still under construction and targeted to complete in 2020.
Our Visit & Tips to Note
Our visit started early on a bright sunny morning. Armed with our pre-purchased tickets at 9.45am, the place was already quite crowded but the crowd became worse when we left so here’s a tip.
Pre-purchase your tickets early for Sagrada Familia from the official site and buy them as early as you can to pick the earliest slot when lighting is optimal inside.
There was no queue for us when we went with our pre-purchased tickets but there was a security bag check which was a little annoying. Also we bought one audio guide to share (instead of two) as it was quite pricey. I knew we do not have a time limit to use it so we took our time to listen. I’d admit there was a bit of hassle with movement but you save enough to buy you a medium gelato!
I would highly recommend getting the audio guide for it explains the vision you see inside and outside. I was skeptical at first about this attraction because it didn’t look like much from the outside. Sure you have your intricately sculpted story of Jesus on the exterior facade but it looked quite gothic and somewhat incomplete. But when you enter, you are transported into a splendid array of colours shining through the stained glass windows. It was truly an awesome sight.
You will not stop taking photos and you will realise you keep taking the same photos for you just cannot hold back the awesomeness of the inside. The audio guide would also explain to you the meaning behind the design of every bit of the church.
I shall not go into detail. You can find out more when you visit the place yourself. But I will repeat this again:
Even if you want to save some money, buy at least one audio guide to share.
I fell in love with Antoni Gaudí when I realised how talented he was. Sure he was not alone, working with a huge team of equally talented people (just not so recognised – sadly). But if this was truly his vision, then I can only stand amazed by his genius architecture. He was a very detailed person – meticulous to a fault. Every little thing was designed with thought and meaning, and he designed them all with the Creator God in mind.
Visit The Crypt If You Can
Unfortunately we missed the time to enter the Crypt (it is open on public holidays) because I was so slow with admiring the museum below. But I peeped from above and it looked interesting. We did not return in the evening to see it. You can note the opening times and time your visit to coincide with the opening times.
Do note that the Crypt is not always open to public. It is open for mass and only invited people are able to enter. However I read that you can visit it 15min before the start of a mass. Note also that the Crypt is located outside the Sagrada Familia paid area so visit it before or after your visit to the latter.
Find out what happened on Day 1 (Exploring the City).
Featured Photo: Sagrada Familia – The Passion facade