The Sagrada Familia will keep no secrets from you
Since 1882, Barcelona has offered one of the most impressive religious buildings in the world: the Sagrada Familia. The construction, which was commissioned to Antoni Gaudí, has been in constant progress since its origin and has involved many different finishing architects encompassing even more different influences between them.
The Sagrada Familia was unfinished after Gaudí’s death in 1926, something which the architect, after working on it for 43 years and living in for 15, knew would be inevitable. For this reason, he left detailed three-dimensional models of cables and weights (that he invented and preferred) and also standard plans, which we still have today and show the magnitude and ambition of his live-defining project.
Despite, all plans, documents and books, the Sagrada Familia remains enigmatic due to Gaudí’s passion for symbolism related to nature, mysticism, Christianity, and other religions. That plus the daring verticality and effects of light is why when we visit the church, it causes to everybody a profound effect, part introspection, part wonder difficult to describe.
With the Spanish Civil War, the Sagrada Familia was strongly affected due mainly to the carpet bombing of the Mussolini air force allied with Franco’s side. One of the instances which caused significant damage to the church was a fire in the crypt where models and some of the plans designed by Gaudí were kept.
Today in Barcelona City Tellers we are going to talk about the Sagrada Familia by Gaudí, one of the most spectacular monuments in Barcelona which holds innumerable secrets.
The Sagrada Familia inside out: its details and curiosities
So that you can better get to know this monument in Barcelona, we will cover some of the most outstanding aspects of the Sagrada Familia both the interior and the façade and come to grips with Gaudí’s great work of art.
The Sagrada Familia, Interior
If we take a look at the interior of the Sagrada Familia, you will see that the forms which make up the basilica are remind us of those we see in nature: trees, plants, mountains and so on. The columns inside have a tree trunk shape, something which gives it a surreal aesthetic and makes it appear as if we are entering a magical stone forest.
From both inside and outside, this church gives you the sense of verticality and mystical ascension. We mustn’t forget that it is a building dedicated to Christian religious worship, its structure and construction designed so that people who ascend it feel closer to the sky, to divinity.
There is another reason the Sagrada Familia is so fascinating. Because thanks to Gaudí’s desire to have light come in through the church windows, the spectacle of light and color which is created in the heart of the building is impressive. Changing light reflects through the coloured crystals which are scattered around the walls of the building, creating an atmosphere which plays with our ideas of surrealism and the essence of nature.
The Sagrada Familia, Towers and Façade
But the outside of the Sagrada Familia is equally imposing. It is a construction which will have 18 towers dedicated to different representatives of the Christian gospel. In the center will be Jesus Christ, the four towers which surround it represent the gospels, the tower which is alone in the apse and crowned with a star represents the Virgin Mary and the rest of the towers represent the twelve apostles.
The construction of these towers complete the sense of verticality and ascension to the heavens we have discussed before. The symbolism of the divine ascension is obtained through these towers in whose center is the Son of God.
However, we also see three façades which are very different from each other. They reflect the great passage of time through which this work will have gone through by the end which, in turn, will reflect the history of the city itself. These façades are as follows:
- Of the Birth: this is dedicated to the moment of Christ’s birth and it is full of life and many decorations.
- Of the Passion: it is simpler and more austere than the other façades because it is there to reflect the suffering which Jesus would have gone through during his crucifixion.
- Of the Glory: this is the main façade of this monument and represents different stages of the human soul, including death, the Last Judgment, Glory and hell. Gaudí left sketches indicating what he wanted on this façade so that others could continue his work.
Is the Sagrada Familia finished?
The Sagrada Familia is not finished, in fact, of the 18 towers originally designed by Gaudí only eight have been raised, leading to much work yet to be done in its construction. And, will it end after this? The answer is still not clear as since the construction began has always been an “expiatory temple” meaning it relies solely on individual donations to continue the building.
Of all the façades we have discussed here, Gaudí was only able to see one, Of the Birth, before he died. If you look closely at the stone of this monument, you will see that it is indeed worn more than the others due to its antiquity. The remains of Antoni Gaudí remain inside, encased in concrete, in the Chapel of Carmen.
Our advice in discovering this work of Gaudí
If you want to make the most of your visit to the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona City Travellers gives you a series of tips which will help you best manage your time during your stay in Barcelona.
- The queues: on the one hand, as it is one of the most visited attractions in the city, there will be queues to enter the church. Waiting times, can be hours an vary depending on season and time of day, but, in general, it is best to go early in the morning so that you don’t have to wait too long.
- If you really want to discover the Sagrada Familia in all its splendor, then we recommend you join our Barcelona Sagrada Familia Tour, a no-lines hassle-free tour led by our expert guides during which you’ll learn in detail the interior and exterior of the masterwork of Gaudí . Also, this tour includes a real treat: access to a reserved terrace overlooking the Sagrada Familia where we’ll enjoy tapas and a relaxed conversation with our guides about what else to do in Barcelona.
- If you rather explore it by yourself our best recommendations is that to get Online tickets:to avoid having to queue just to buy tickets for the Sagrada Familia, the best thing to do is buy them online beforehand from the official website where you can choose both the time of day as well as date. With this option you will be able to access the Calle Marina entrance and go in directly without any ticket queues.
- Don’t miss visiting one of the towers: we recommend that, even if you want to go in on general admission, you don’t miss the opportunity to visit at least one of the eight towers as their spectacular view of the city of Barcelona is worth it.
- Go on a sunny day: we also recommend you visit the inside of the church on a sunny day as the playing lights which shine through on a day like this will leave you breathless.
To help you best plan your trip to the Sagrada Familia, we offer you some practical information to get yourself organised.
Sagrada Familia Tickets
The best thing to do is to buy direct from online, but they do also sell tickets directly at the box office. The Sagrada Familia offers a range of tickets:
- General admission: 15 €
- Entrance with audio guide: 22 €
- Entrance with audio guide and access to the Gaudí House Museum: 24 €
- Entrance with audio guide and access to the towers: 29 €
How to Get There
The church is located in the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood, to the right of Exiample. It is a 20 minute walk from the Gracia district and 10 minutes by metro from Plaza de la Universidad.
- Metro L2 and L5 Sagrada Familia stop.
- Bus 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, B20 and B24
The opening hours are dependent on the time of year:
- From November to February: 9am to 6pm
- March: 9am to 7pm
- From April to September: 9am to 8pm
- October: 9am to 7pm
- 25th and 26th December and 1st and 6th January: 9am to 2pm
Itinerary tour Bcn
Barcelona Walking Tour
Medieval Barcelona city tour
Walking Tour Gaudi in Barcelona
Sagrada familia tour information
Tour of Catalan Food
Tapas Tour of Barcelona
Private tour in Barcelona