Basilica of la Sagrada Família
The Sagrada Família is Antoni Gaudí's best-known work and has become an undisputed symbol of Barcelona. This unique modern temple has been under construction since 1882.
Although the architect Francesc de Paula Villar was originally commissioned to carry out the Sagrada Família's project, just a year later he was replaced by the young Gaudí, who devoted himself fully to the task until the time of his death in 1926. During his lifetime, Gaudí completed the crypt and the Nativity façade at the side, which have been declared a World Heritage Site. The surviving models and drawings have made it possible to continue with the building work, which continues to be funded by private donations.
The basilica of the Sagrada Família represents a true building challenge. It consists of a basilica floor plan with five naves and a three-sided transept that represent a symbolic Latin-cross. The semi-circular apse is located at the top of the cross and encloses the basilica at the back. The basilica also has three monumental façades each one representing one of the pivotal moments in the life of Christ: his birth (Carrer Marina), his passion, death and resurrection (Carrer Sardenya), and his present and future glory (Carrer Mallorca). The four bell towers on each façade represent the 12 Apostles who accompanied Jesus of Nazareth. They will eventually include four more towers dedicated to the evangelists. The tower above the apse and altar is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It stands 138 metres high and is surmounted by a twelve-pointed star that is lit up at night. The highest tower of all will be dedicated to Christ the Saviour, and will be more than 170 metres high.
Two of the three façades have been completed and are open to visitors, along with the naves, the apse and museum. The latter gives us an insight into the past, present and future of the basilica through models, photographs, plans, decorative objects and audiovisuals. Visitors can also ride to the top of the towers in the lift and come down on foot and enjoy magnificent views of Barcelona.
The Nativity façade and crypt have been awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO.
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