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10 interesting facts about the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.
One of the most interesting and beautiful sights in Barcelona, Spain is the basilica, the Sagrada Familia. It has been under construction going into it's third century and is a sight to behold in Barcelona.
It is in the middle of downtown Barcelona and is surrounded by other buildings, but its spires rise so high into the sky that it can be seen from almost anywhere in the surrounding area of Barcelona.
It is often described as a 'decorated frosting of a cake' because of its intricate design and beautiful decorations and sculptures on the facade of the Basilica. But, the inside is just as beautiful and decorative.
Here are ten interesting facts about this beautiful and ongoing construction of the basilica:
1. The full name is: Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia. When construction began it began as a simple Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona, Spain in the region of Catalonia. It then was changed to become a cathedral and about five years ago, Pope Benedict XVI dedicated it as a Basilica, a seat for popes.
2. The Basilica was the original inspiration of a Catalan bookseller, Josep Maria Bocabella. Bocabella made a pilgrimage to Rome to visit the Vatican and returned from his journey with the intention of building a church inspired by the one in Loreto. He began raising funds in Barcelona to build the church. The construction of the church began in 1882 and it is still under construction today.
3. The present design of the basilica is by Antoni Gaudi, one of Spain's famous modern architects. When he took over in 1883, he radically changed the design of the Basilica. Gaudi's design is a combination of Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudi died in 1926 at the age of seventy-six and less than a quarter of the Basilica was completed at that point. It is slated to be completed by 2026, the centennial anniversary of Gaudi's death. The Basilica has been described as "the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages."
4. It has had several architects since Gaudi's death, but since 1940 the architects have been Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig Boada, Lluis Bonet i Gari, and Francesc Cardoner. They are continuing to follow Gaudi's plan and model.
5. Sculptures both inside and outside are by J. Busquets, Etsuro Sotoo and Josep Subirachs and they are responsible for decorating the facades of the Basilica.
6. Inside, the central nave vaulting was completed in 2000. The basic inside plan is that of the Latin cross with five aisles. The transept has three aisles.
7. Today, computer-aided design is being used to hasten the construction of the Basilica.
8. The style today, originally designed by Gaudi is most like Spanish late Gothic, Catalan Modernism and Art Nouveau.
9. The original design of the Basilica calls for eighteen spires. Each spire will represent in descending order of height the twelve apostles, four evangelists, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. By 2010, eight spires have been built so far. The four apostles at the Nativity facade and four apostles at the Passion facade.
10. The finished Basilica is to have three grand facades. The Nativity facade faces the east. It represents the birth of Christ. It is the most ornate and the first one completed. The Passion facade faces the west and is austere, plain, and simple. It depicts the crucifixion of Christ. The Glory facade faces the south and is the longest and most striking of the three facades. This is the principal facade and the main access to the central nave. It represents the road to God.
Although there is much to see in Barcelona, just a trip to view the Sagrada Familia is a treat. It can take days to discover all that is there to see, especially with the intricate and ornate designs on the outside of the building, let alone on the inside. See the photos below of the Basilica in construction.