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My Escapes Spain Barcelona Exploring Gaudí's Sprawling Surreal Barcelona Visiting the Sagrada Família Church

Visiting the Sagrada Família Church

December 6, 2013

You haven't seen Barcelona if you haven't been to the Sagrada Família Church.
I believe it's one of the best tourist attractions in Europe, but even in the World! It proved to be way above my expectations and I even took a glimpse of the city from its high towers!

It's a crowded place... expect 2-3 hours waiting in lines during rush hour(!). Might take even longer.

Once there, take the time to examine the facade, the details... there are Bible scenes and lots of statuettes.

Sagrada Família coral-like facade


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About the Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família front view

View of the Sagrada Família from the front

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It's the result of architect Antoni Gaudí's marvelous work and it's Barcelona's iconic top attraction.

Constructions have begun in 1882, tet, the immense church still isn't finished and won't be until approximately 2026-'28, if things go according to plans.

Its complete name in Catalan is: Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. In Spanish: Basílica y Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia.

The church has been on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1969, despite being under construction.

It has a height of 170 m (planned), which means that it will be the tallest church in the World by the time of its completion!

Getting There, Costs, Expectations

The subway took me there - there's actually a station with the same name: Sagrada Família. It's on the purple line, by the way...

Entrance fee was 10 EUR and another 2.5 EUR for taking the lift to the towers... I had to! If you're there and you feel like it, you have to go up there!
That's a total cost of 12.5 EUR!

Can't call it "cheap fun", but for the fantastic experience it's worth, indeed.

The Sagrada Família was one of the top attractions I've ever seen in my life.

Too bad for timing: I got there during mid-day and I had to wait 2,5 hours in line to get in! Part of that line I actually waited inside... most of those people didn't go with the lift, so the waiting was for the entry!

Because the church is still under construction, you will probably see work being done, part of the building covered etc.

Exploring the Sagrada Família

One strange thing about this church was the fact that it looked so old (by looking at its walls). It has that "ancient feel", if you look at its colour closely...

The dust has settled on the older parts of the building and it had over a century to do so!
Other parts are so new, they are very light-coloured and just don't blend in with the rest!

Although it's still under construction... It's weird how I can't tell whether I'm seeing an old construction of a modern one. It lives!

The interior is astounding!

Sagrada Família interior

Interior view towards the ceiling

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I'm a fan of Gaudí's organic architecture and I loved seeing those coloured windows "lit up" by the sunlight passing through. The atmosphere inside is special indeed...

Decorative element on the Sagrada Família

This is what I call "Antoni Gaudí's fruits"!

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What I call "Gaudí's fruits" are those colourful decorative elements that resemble real fruits or parts of flowers...

The entire building is so beautiful that simply looking at it and taking a few photographs doesn't suffice (not to me, at least!). Consider buying a beautiful album full of photos of the building. I did purchase an album about the architect's famous works (3 years before this first Barcelona trip, actually!).

Decorative element on the Sagrada Família

More of "Gaudí's fruits"! Simply delicious! Makes me want to bit on them!

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The lift took us to one of the four pointed narrow towers (the ones with the decorative spires), then I engaged into photography through the window-like orifices... somehow if felt like I was in some sort of a medieval fortress up on a cliff - I was surrounded by stone all around. No glass, nothing else in this part.

The vandalism disgusted me! Graffitis, burn marks on the walls all around!

The views from up there are splendind, just make sure you find a "hole" to stare right through. Places up there can get crowded, filled with visitors wanting to imortalize the moment.

View over Barcelona

View over Barcelona from the Sagrada Família with the Torre Agbar skyscraper

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Getting down couldn't be done by the lift (they only brought people up, but not down!).
And, it's quite a labirynth up there... Several people were trying to descend (so was I) and amid echoing laughter, we got lost.

There are narrow circular staircases. They interconnect and sometimes I had to go sideways. I walked down, sideways, then up, then sideways again, down again and so on... until I've unwillingly "visited" 2 more towers - making it 3!

I eventually found the way down - it felt like I was in a deep well, there were no windows there, but there was lighting.

Like a mouse in a tube (not knowing where it leads), I finally got out!

Try not to stumble, because if you fall, you can hurt yourself badly!
The entire staircase is so tight that a ONLY single person can fit on a single step. There are no bars and it's easy to miss a step, break a bone and you get stuck inside "the tube"!

It's hard to imagine how anyone could pull someone out of there.

Sagrada Família staircase

The narrow staircase is the only way down

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It's great visiting the basement museum as well. Additional works and technique-presenting pictures and models are exposed.
I took a quick tour of the basement, which is quite a large area with various works, both old and new, not all relevant to Gaudí, but to the city, rather.

Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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