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Sagrada Família - Barcelona

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

As I start preparing for my next big trip, a two month journey in Britain, I was cleaning out the storage in my smartphone. I came across a series of photographs I took in the #Gaudi designed church in #Barcelona last year. I had focused on the #StainedGlassWindows as I had found that #smartphonePhotography captures the yellows better than my conventional digital cameras.

Cooler colors were used on the north side

In my book #CathedralstotheGloryofGod, I pay particular attention to displaying the correct name of each church. While familiarly known as the #GaudiCathedral, this building is actually a basilica. Since Barcelona is in #Catalonia (or #Catalunya, in Catalan), my book lists it in Castilian, Catalan and English: *Basílica y Templo Expiatorio de la #SagradaFamília, *Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família and *Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family. The actual Roman Catholic cathedral in Barcelona is closer to the old city and Las Ramblas and is the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia.

Last years visit was my second, as I had come to Barcelona in 1988 after cycling through the Loire and along the Canal du Midi, planning on sailing aboard the ferry to Majorca for a week stay at a timeshare. While waiting for my bicycle to catch up to me (I'd sent it by train from Narbonne), I went to the "Gaudi Cathedral". At that time, it was about midway in the construction process. No roof, when I climbed a tower via the internal stairs, I was able to photograph the stone block that was to be the main altar, as well as look across to the other towers. Since then the coming 1992 Olympics encouraged the accelerated building, with Pope John Paul II celebrating Mass there in an incomplete church. Pope Benedict XVI consecrated it in 2010 and raised it to basilica status.

Windows facing south had warmer colors

On my recent trip, I was amazed at how much work had been done over 30 years. I'd actually joined a walking tour “Discover Gaudi and Modernisme” that took the group to several locations where Gaudi's work stood. We ended at Sagrada Família. The tour didn't include entering the church, but I'd planned ahead and had my ticket and timed entry secured. Walls and roof were complete, stained glass windows were in place and stunning. I marveled at how close to completion the nave was. Stained glass allowed brilliant streaks of red, green, blue light into the aisles. The high vault pulled your view upward to the ceiling. Some construction still underway created a block in front of the main altar similar to a choir. When I’d visited 30 years ago, there was no ceiling, the altar was a stone table set on a rise of stairs. So much had been accomplished that I can believe it should be completed in time to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Gaudi’s death in 2026.

By the way, #basilica is a special designation for a Roman Catholic church, issued from Rome. There are two classifications, with only 4 "major basilicas" (all in Italy), and over 3000 "minor basilicas" throughout the world. Not all cathedrals are basilicas, and not all basilicas are cathedrals - it is a recognition of historic or religious importance, sometimes to commemorate a visit by a Pope.

Main altar at Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Visiting #cathedrals of #Spain

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