Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

By Karen McBride

The world was heartbroken over the tragic fire that struck the historical Notre Dame Cathedral. Priceless works of art were lost, including the intricate craftsmanship of the building itself. It will be rebuilt, but it will never be the same.

Such a loss left me reflecting on the amazing trip to Spain I enjoyed a few weeks ago. One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The unfinished church, as is it also known, was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. In 1882, construction began on the Roman cathedral. Its anticipated completion is 2026.

On the subject of the extremely long construction period, Gaudí is said to have remarked, “My client is not in a hurry.” When Gaudí died in 1926, the basilica was between 15 and 25 percent complete. *

As you approach the cathedral, the sheer size of it is overwhelming. Around each corner is another tower, upon another tower. Jesus’ life is depicted in detailed statues chiseled into stone, each with a different feeling represented. The Nativity Facade showing Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus is brightly colored and decorated. The Passion Facade, depicting Jesus’ death on the cross, is harsher, carved with straight lines representing bones. The Glory Facade is the largest, representing Jesus’ ascension to heaven and our path to God.

The intricate detail of every pillar, ceiling, and carved molding makes each part of the cathedral a piece of art. Colorful stained-glass windows that may go unnoticed from the outside illuminate the vaulted ceilings and reflect a rainbow of color on the marbled floor.

Services are still held on Sunday mornings in the Roman Catholic church. We were blessed to hear a woman sing Ave Maria during our tour and a hush fell upon the crowds of tourists.

If you have the opportunity to visit Spain, take the time to tour the cathedral and appreciate the intricate works of art encompassed in this glorious church.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagrada_Família

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