Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Sagrada Familia is making progress

The Sagrada Familia was another brainchild of the great Barcelona architect, Antoni Gaudi.  It commenced construction in 1883, and, 130 years later, they are still building this church.

Our daughter, Jess, and I stepped inside the Sagrada Familia for a tour just before Christmas 2001.  On the ground floor inside, the place was very clearly a construction site.  There were boarded pathways for the visitor, and surrounding the pathways were all kinds of construction materials laying about, and the floor itself exposed the raw earth.  Workmen were at work.  Today, it's a different story.  The whole of the ground floor appears to be finished.  Significant progress appears to have been made.  

Inside, many stone pillars stretch up to the ceiling high above.  The pillars, in typical Gaudi style, represent tall palm trees.  Like palm trees' trunks, they become several smaller branches closer to the top of the tree.  You can see this happening in the third and sixth photos below.  In the eighth and ninth photos below, you can see the tops of the 'palm trees', which represent the leaves.  Through real palm trees' high leaves, you can see the light peering through.  When the Sagrada Familia (Sacred Family in English) will be completed around 2030, light will also peer through here.  It was always Gaudi's intention that the Sagrada Familia, on which Pope Benedict bestowed basilica status during his 2010 visit, would have lots of natural light shining through.   Also in the eighth and ninth photos, you see many circles on the ceiling.  Natural light will one day peer through here as well.  For the present, these circles are covered from above by scaffolding while work continues.  

In his lifetime, Gaudi lived long enough to see only the construction of the eastern facade.  Construction was halted by the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.  It did not begin again until after 1975, with the end of General Franco's dictatorship. Thanks to the tourist, work is progressing very well.  Jean and I estimated conservatively that 90,000 € were pouring in daily.  The admission cost was 18€ each.  

Today, Gaudi's final resting place is in the chapel beneath the Sagrada Familia.  Thus far, eight towers have been constructed, and another 10 will be added.  Inside, there will be capacity for a 1,500 member choir.  Work on the stained glass windows was commenced in 1999, and continues.  My first visit here provided no confidence this building would be completed any time soon.  It's really great to return eleven and a half years later, and to see an end is in sight.  

Sagrada Familia

Ground floor
Stained glass windows
Windows on left yet to be stained
The basilica is a forest
Stair case
Lots of natural light will one day peer through from above
Palm tree pillars
Construction work continues

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