Barcelona, Spain: La Sagrada Familia

As we concluded our visit to Gaudí’s Casa Battló, we walked over to another one of his masterpiecesLa Sagrada Familia. In 1882, construction on La Sagrada Familia began with its first architect, Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano. However, due to various disagreements and conflicts, Antoni Gaudí was asked to take over the job in 1883.

To give some background information about Antoni Gaudí, he was born in 1852 and died in 1926 a few days after being hit by a tram. Nobody recognized him since he appeared to be a “beggar” due to his clothes, so he did not receive the immediate treatment. By the time somebody recognized who he was, his condition had deteriorated, and he unfortunately passed away within a few days at the age of seventy-four.

Alongside the church is a museum that showcases the numerous stages of La Sagrada Familia’s construction. One of the walls in the museum highlights a quote from Gaudí (pictured below), and it has since stuck with me. The quote states, “We must all contribute, as it has to be the church of a whole people.” Even after Gaudí’s passing, construction of La Sagrada Familia has continued, and his dream for the church is still, to this day, becoming a reality. Its expected completion date is set for 2026, so there is much to look forward to!

People from all over the world come to see La Sagrada Familia, and both the beauty and spiritual energy that fill the church are truly incredible. There are no words to describe how breathtaking the church is—inside and out—and the fine details in every nook and cranny are immaculate.

The structure of the church is quite interesting. Once completed, “The design will be completed with four domed structures, some 40 metres high, sited at each corner: two sacristies on the northern side; and on the southern side the baptistery and the chapel of the Holy Sacrament and Penitence. These four constructions and the three facades will be linked by a wide, covered corridor, with a double wall, referred to as a cloister by Gaudí, which will insulate the central nave from noise from the street, and allow circulation from one building to another without the need to cross the main nave.

Gaudí’s plan was for a group of 18 towers: 12 shorter ones on the facades (bell towers which will be 100 metres high, representing the Apostles), and six taller ones in the centre in a pyramidal layout reflecting the hierarchy of their symbolism. Of these, the tallest will be the one above the central crossing, representing Jesus Christ, reaching 172.5 metres in height. It will be surrounded by four, slimmer, 135-metre-high towers representing the four Evangelists and their Gospels. A further tower will cover the apse and will represent the Virgin Mary.

Gaudí wanted to construct a building that would make an impact on the skyline, but also show his respect for the work of God, which in his opinion should never be superseded by man: at 172.5 metres tall, the Sagrada Familia is one of the tallest religious buildings in the world but remains a few metres below the height of Montjuïcthe highest point in the municipality of Barcelona”(http://www.sagradafamilia.org).

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Day Four In Antigua, Guatemala

Seeing as we had a somewhat early flight back home from Guatemala, we spent our remaining morning hours in Antigua exploring the grounds of our hotel, which included six great museums on the premises. The first museum we entered was the hotel’s Silver Museum which houses various samples of old, traditional handicrafts of the region including glazed crockery, painted ceramic, pyrography-based crafts (made from wood-burning), wrought iron, candles, carpentry and cabinets, tin ware, textiles and kites, and other such artifacts.

From there, we came across the Marco Augusto Quiroa and the Artist Halls which is a beautiful art exhibit with numerous pieces such as paintings and sculptures on display. We spent much more time in the museums than we had originally planned and only had time for one more exhibit so we chose the Archeology Museum as our grand finale. This particular museum displayed a wide array of both ceramic and stone objects including feminine figures, vases, plates, bowls, funerary urns, thuribles (used in worship services to burn incense), ceramic jugs, and other such immaculate pieces which are assumed to have been used during the Mayan culture’s Classic Period (200-900 AD).

Having reached the end of our trip, we made our way back to the hotel room to grab our belongings and head over to the airport to return home. On the way to the room though, we came across a breathtaking view alongside beautiful parrots that were quick to catch our eyes. Unfortunately, that was it for our time in Antigua, but hopefully one day we will return because there is still so much to be explored in this incredible city!

(http://www.casasantodomingo.com.gt/museums-en.html