SEP 22,2016 - SEP 22,2016 (1 DAYS)
Tip 1 - From Passeig de Gràcia to Sagrada Familia:
Main Attractions: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Museu del Modernisme Barcelona (MMBCN), Fundacion Francisco Godia, Casa Milà, Fundació Suñol, Palau Baró de Quadras, Casa de les Punxes, Palau Ramon Montaner, Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer.
Start: Passeig de Gràcia (lines: L2-Purple, L3-Green, L4-Yellow). Buses:
7, 16, 17, 20, 22, 24, 28, 39, 43, 44, 45, 47, 63, 67, 68, 544. End: Sagrada Familia Metro station. Distance: (including the SF Basilica) 7.6 km.
Introduction and Tips:
This daily route is a natural continuation to Steve Fulham's Tipter blog "Barcelona - Modernista Architecture - Part II". Steve's blog ends in Passeig de Gràcia and Placa Catalunya. This blog starts at Passeig de Gràcia Metro station. This blog, by far, covers more extensively, the visit at the Sagrada Familia church. This blog assumes that you have, already, visited most of Gaudi's heritage Modernista sites along Passeig de Gràcia. The Fundació Antoni Tàpies, for example, is NOT included in Steve Fulham's two blogs.
Eixample: Passing through the glorious Plaça Catalunya, you enter the newer city district of Eixample, literally translated as “extension,” which immediately becomes recognizable by its more spacious streets and elegant atmosphere. The main artery of this sizable district, Passeig de Gracia, is lined with high-end international designer stores. Not to be outdone, the glitz and glamour of this zone is perhaps best exemplified by the comfortable and lavish five-star hotels that flank the divine and modernistic buildings from some of the world’s most recognized architects such as Gaudi and Montaner.
Our itinerary: From Passeig de Gràcia Metro Station head northwest on Passeig de Gràcia toward Carrer d'Aragó. Turn left onto Carrer d'Aragó and after 100 m. you see, on the right, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Carrer d'Aragó, 255. Opening hours: Museum: TUE - SUN: 10.00 - 19.00. Mondays, 25 December, 1 and 6 January - closed. Prices: adult - 7 €, Students and Senior Citizens (over 65): 5.60 €. The Fundació building was designed by the Modernista architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It was constructed between 1880 and 1881 or 1882, at an early stage of the evolution of the Catalan Modernista trend. The building was the first in the Eixample district to integrate industrial style and technology - combining exposed brick, iron and glass, into the fabric of the city centre. The Montaner i Simon publishing house along with Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Vicens, are the only few remaining examples of a way of buildings exemplifing an eclectic architectural style popular in the 19th century and the emergence of a new Catalan Modernista (Art Nouveau) style. Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Antoni Gaudí established the architectural bases defining two different forms of development: Gaudí embodied an "expressionist" current, whilst Domènech i Montaner was more inclined towards rationalism.The Tapies Foundation was opened in year 1990. The building was of the former Editorial Montaner i Simon publishing house and it was restored and refurbished by the architects Roser Amadó and Lluís Domènech Girbau. The Antoni Tapies Fundació’s building is “sandwiched” between two side walls of the adjacent buildings. To elevate its height - Antoni Tàpies created the sculpture crowning the building entitled Núvol i cadira (Cloud and Chair, 1990). This sculpture represents a chair jutting out of a large cloud. The chair is a recurring motif in Tàpies’ works. The Fundació Antoni Tàpies was declared a historical monument in 1997. The museum is dedicated entirely to the artist Antoni Tàpies. He and his wife donated many works to the museum – among them paintings, sculptures, books, engravings, and sketches, adding one work every year:
The "Sunday" spectacle of Oriol Vilanova:
From the Fundació Antoni Tàpies we continue south-west along Carrer d'Aragó, passing Rambla de Catalunya:
In the next intersection - we turn LEFT (south) to Carrer de Balmes. With our face to the south-east we walk along Carrer de Balmes, passing Carrer del Consell de Cent. Immediately after crossing this intersection - we see the Museu del Modernisme Barcelona (MMBCN), Carrer de Balmes, 48 on our left. The small permanent exhibition includes furniture, sculptures, paintings, stained-glasses, posters and decorative arts, dedicated to the Catalan Modernista movement (designers like Antoni Gaudí and Gaspar Homar and Mezquida) during the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Exquisite, modest exhibition, that extends over 2 floors with EXPENSIVE entry rates. Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.30 -. 19.00, SUN and holidays: 10.30 - 14.00. Mondays: Closed. Also closed: January 1st and 6th, 1st of May, 25th and 26th of December. Prices (permanent exhibition + temporary exhibition): adult - € 10, concessions - € 7 (more than 65, less than 25, teachers, unemployed, one-parent family), Children 6-16 years: € 5, FREE: children up to 6 years old, Groups: € 8 / person:
Four seasons by Gaspar Camps (1907):
Continue walking along Carrer de Balmes with your face to the south-east. Turn LEFT (north-east) to Carrer de la Diputació. Note the house at #246:
At #250 you find the Fundacion marvelous Fundacion Francisco Godia. Recently, it has changed its name to Fundacio Mapfre. This Garriga i Nogués house was built by the architect Enric Sagnier in the transition from the 19th century to the 20th century for the banker Rupert Garriga Miranda. A small and high quality museum. It exhibits a permanent collection of paintings, medieval sculpture and ceramics collected by Francisco Godia - a businessman, racing driver and pilot of Formula 1 (when this sport was not yet professionalized and was driven by entrepreneurs) and art collector. There are approximately 1,500 pieces on display including paintings, sculpture, glasswork and pottery. The collection includes works from the 12th to the 21st centuries of artists such as: Karel Appel, Miquel Barceló, Pedro Berruguete, Felipe de Bigarny, Lluís Borrassé, Ramon Casas, Eduardo Chillida, Juan van der Hamen, Julio González, Juan Gris, Jaume Huguet, Cristina Iglesias, Fernand Léger, René Magritte, Joaquim Mir, Joan Miró, Isidre Nonell, Pablo Picasso, Santiago Rusiñol, Llorenç Saragossa, Martín de Soria, Joaquín Sorolla, Antoni Tépies, Alejo de Vahía, Francisco de Zurbarán. The Francisco Godia Foundation is housed in a wonderful house called the Casa Garriga i Nogués and that was built by architect Enric Sagnier who was one of the most outstanding architects in the Eixample. Opening times: MON - SUN: 10.00 - 20.00. Closed on Tuesdays. Guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 12.00. General admissions: €3 per person. FREE entry: Mondays 14.00 - 20.00. Opening hours: MON: 14.00 - 20.00, TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 20.00, SUN and holidays: 11.00 - 19.00. Stunning interiors (ground floor). The interiors, only, are worth a visit.
DO NOT MISS THE WONDERFUL STAINED-GLASS HUGE WINDOWS in room 8:
We continue walking eastward along Carrer de la Diputació. After passing Rambla de Catalunya (on your left and right) - we arrive to Passeig de Gràcia:
We turn LEFT (north-west) to Passeig de Gràcia and walk northward along Passeig de Gràcia: the main avenue of the city that linked, in the past, the old Barcelona, which by then had demolished its walls, with the town of Gràcia. We shall pass 5-6 streets on our left and right towards the intersection of Passeig de Gràcia and the Diagonal. After passing Carrer de Mallorca - we see, on our left the modern building at Passeig de Gràcia #83:
At the intersection of Carrer de Provença and Passeig de Gràcia stands Casa Milà, Provença, 261-265. The house's cliff-like walls immediately earned it the nickname La Pedrera, or 'The Quarry', amongst locals. The building was built between 1906 and 1912 by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). In 1984 was titled as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was declared Monument of National Interest by the Spanish government in 1969. Nowadays it is the headquarters of Catalunya "La Pedrera Foundation". It houses a cultural centre and displays various exhibitions and other public events. It is probably one of the most famous buildings of the Catalan Modernista or Catalan Art Nouveau period and one of the architect Antoni Gaudí’s most famous and ambitious works. The idea was to erect an exceptional building by the industrialist Pere Milà i Camps and his wife, Rosario Segimon i Artells, on an empty space on the boundary of Barcelona and Gràcia, as a family home. It was commissioned to Antoni Gaudí in 1906. It was a time when the Barcelona Eixample quarter had gained driving force behind the expansion of the city, which turned Passeig de Gràcia into a new, posh and modern residential area. Casa Milà is the fourth and final work Gaudí did on Passeig de Gràcia. Gaudí planned Casa Milà (1906–1912) at the age of fifty-three. At this time Gaudi found a style of his own and this creation turned out to be one of the most innovatory in its functional and ornamental aspects. La Pedrera is considered as a world-global breakthrough work, outside the concepts of continent and time: an exceptional achievement in the Modernista history and, especially, a work that anticipated the architecture of the 20th century. The official name of the building is Casa Milà but, it was soon given the nickname "La Pedrera" due to the appearance of the exterior, reminiscent of an open quarry. Public transportation: Buses: 7,16,17, 22, 24 and V17. Metro: lines 3 (Green) and 5 (Blue), Diagonal station, FGC: Provença-La Pedrera, RENFE: Passeig de Gràcia. Opening hours: MON - SUN: 9.00 - 18.30, 19.00 - 21.00. Hefty Ticket Prices: adult - 22,00 €, student - 16,50 €, children (under 7 years old) FREE, children (7-12 years) - 11,00 €, seniors (+65 years) - 16,50 €. Audio guides in : Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Korean. Note: You can do additional visit by night the same day or up to 3 days before or after your visit to La Pedrera by day. Prices for the combined ticket of day and night: adult: €41, children (7-12 years): €20,50:
The interiors include two painted courtyards, columns and a range of rooms. There are large windows and iron balconies set into the undulating façade. On the roof there are chimneys and sculptures which are works of art in themselves, as well as a splendid view of the Passeig de Gràcia avenue. The exhibition contained in the attic space of the building is called the Gaudi Space and is really interesting. On the 4th floor is the Flat of La Pedrera, which is a replica of an apartment of Gaudi’s time, and this apartment occupies a space of 600 square meters and has household utensils, furniture, and decorative objects. This apartment shows how well-to-do people lived during that time and is also very interesting. The roof terrace has chimney stacks that are called scare-witches, and these have very unusual shapes, and really are abstract sculptures. You'll admire how Gaudi transformed functional chimneys into a sculpture garden of swirling mosaic forms and ominous hooded warriors. Gaudí intended that the roof be used as an open-air terrace, and during the summer, jazz musicians hold forth several evenings each week. Amid the chimneys Gaudí built a lovely parabolic arch to frame what would become the towering steeples of his masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia:
As we said before, La Pedrera offers special night visits called “The Secret Pedrera” with a very limited number of admissions. La Pedrera by night:
Between Carrer de Provença and Carrer del Rosselló - at Passeig de Gràcia # 98 resides Fundació Suñol. A contemporary art museum. The Josep Suñol Collection comprises works by Warhol, Dalí, Picasso, Miró or Man Ray, among others. Predominant Catalan and Spanish artists works from the 1950s through the 1990s. For contemporary art lovers. Opening hours: MON - FRI: 11.00 - 14.00, 16.00 - 20.00. SAT: 16.00 - 20.00. Closed on Sunday and public holidays. Prices: adult - 4€, concessions - 3€:
We turn right (east) to Carrer del Rosselló. At Carrer de Roselló, # 279 stands Palau Baró de Quadras. The façade on Carrer Rosselló is decorated in the "Modernista" style, with elements of the "Viennese Jugenstil". The entrance is from the Diagonal street #373:
When viewed from the Avinguda Diagonal, the Palau Baró de Quadras building is a noble Renaissance European palace. The long, ornate balcony, with its busts of medieval and Renaissance figures, sculptures by Eusebi Arnau and Alfons Juyol and floral motifs - the building is fully in keeping with the medieval European style:
In 1900, the Baron de Quadras commissioned Josep Puig i Cadafalch to refurbish the residential block on Carrer Rosselló. The architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch transformed the building completely, between 1902 and 1903 - providing it with two distinct façades which make it so interesting from every side we see it.
Inside the palace, which has been home to the Institut Ramon Llull, since 2013, the most eclectic "Modernista" decorations predominate, with the clear influence of the neo-Gothic style on the main staircase and the wrought-iron entrance and also dominated by oriental, Middle Eastern and East Asian themes. Open ONLY on Wednesdays (the English language guided tour starts at 11.00).
The Entrance to Palau Baró de Quadras:
We continue further EAST along Avinguda Diagonal and 280 m. further east we see (on the northern side of the Diagonal), on our left, the Casa de les Punxes, Avinguda Diagonal 416–420. Casa de les Punxes (House of Spikes) or Casa Terrades is a building constructed in 1905, commissioned by the Terrades sisters. It is, actually, a residential block BUT, it looks like a medieval castle which is one of the most recognizable Modernista landmarks on the Barcelona skyline. It all started when the Terradas sisters owned three buildings standing between the Avinguda Diagonal, Carrer Rosselló and Carrer Bruc. The architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch was commissioned to reconstruct and refurbish the buildings. Cadafalch linked them together behind a vast brick façade. His magnificent building was completed in 1905, resulted in an imposing triangular structure which rises up like a grand medieval castle with four turrets, one on each corner. The nickname, "Casa de les Punxes", comes from the conical roofs, which all end with spikes. Other artists joined forces with Cadafalch. The wrought-irons on the balconies, were designed by Manuel Ballarín. The sculptural reliefs by Alfons Juyol, and the stained-glass windows by Eduard Amigó. The ceramic panels surmounting the façade refer to the patriotic symbols of Catalonia. The best known depicts Saint George and with the following legend: "Sant Patró de Catalunya, torneu-nos la llibertat" ("Holy Patron of Catalonia, give us back our freedom"). Public transportaion:
L4 (Yellow Line)/L5 (Blue line)-Verdaguer, Buses: 6, 20, 33, 34, 39, 45, 47, H8. Opening hours: Daily, 9.00 - 20.00. Closed: December 25th. Prices (including audio-guided tour - English, Catalan, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Japanese, Chinese and Russian): adult - 12,50 €, concessions - 11.25 €:
Immediately behind Casa de les Punxes - turn RIGHT (south) to Carrer del Bruc. In the first intersection - turn, again, RIGHT (south-west) to the Carrer de Mallorca. With your face to the south-west - pass Carrer de Roger de Llúria on your left and right - and, immediately, on your LEFT is the Palau Ramon Montaner, Carrer de Mallorca, 278. Public transport: buses: 20, 45, 47, H10, V17. In 1889, the year after the Barcelona Universal Exhibition, the architect Josep Domènech i Estapà received the commission to design two luxury homes for the two owners of the publishing house Montaner i Simón. The project for Ramon de Montaner's mansion was begun by Domènech i Estapà but the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner (the owner’s nephew) took over from him at a later date. A mosaic at the top of the façade bears the completion date, 1893, surrounded by ornamental and symbolic motifs which give an idea of the sumptuous decorative elements inside. The most notable part is the top of the building which is decorated with large mosaics presenting the invention of the printing press. The building has been the seat of the Spanish Government in Barcelona since 1980. Usually CLOSED. Only open on Saturdays' mornings for a guided English tour. We saw this building ONLY from the outside and found it to be FANTASTIC and VERY IMPRESSIVE:
From Palau Ramon Montaner we change direction and walk back NORTHEAST along Carrer de Mallorca toward Carrer de Roger de Llúria. W pas through: Carrer del Bruc, Carrer de Girona and Carrer de Bailèn (approx. 600 m.). The intersection of Passeig de Sant Joan and Carrer de Mallorca is Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer. We are quite close, not far from the Sagrada Família. Jacint Verdaguer (Jacinto Verdaguer in Spanish) was a 19th century Catalan poet. The monument, in the centre of the square, is devoted to Verdaguer and was made in 1912 by Joan Borrell of Verdaguer on top of a column and monumental construction designed by the architect Josep Maria Pericàs. The bas-reliefs around the monument, featuring scenes from Verdaguer's works, particularly L'Atlàntida, were sculpted by the brothers Llucià and Miquel Oslé. The Metro station Verdaguer is immediately next to the square, and is served by lines L4 and L5:
We continue further 210 m. eastward along Carrer de Mallorca. On our left is the Eglesia Mare del Deu del Roser, Carrer de Mallorca 349:
Continuing walking eastward along Carrer del mallorca - we pass Carrer de Nàpols. In the next intersection of Carrer de Mallorca and Carrer de Sicília (on our right - south-east) we see the La Sagrada Família - Antoni Gaudí's renowned unfinished church in front of us:
Here, we skip to Tip 2 - La Sagrada Família.
Tip 2 - La Sagrada Familia General Information and Exterior:
With almost 3 million visitors a year, the Gaudí’s masterpiece, which is classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site, has overtaken the Granada’s Alhambra and the Prado Museum of Madrid. It is now the most visited monument in Spain. If you plan to visit the Catalan capital, the Sagrada Familia should be at the top of your list of things to see and do during your stay in Barcelona. This church will surprise you, not only because of its massive size, but especially because of its avant-garde architecture, which perfectly shows off the genius of its architect, Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí’s conception of the Sagrada Familia is based on the traditions of Gothic and Byzantine cathedrals. His intention was to express Christian belief through architecture and the beauty of the monumental building. He achieved a synergy among size, form and Christian symbolism, with a personal architecture generated via new but thoroughly basic, simple structures, forms and geometries inspired by nature, with light and colour.
Antoni Gaudí has become a universal figure of modern architecture. His contribution to the discipline was a break from the established order. He was born on 25 June 1852 in Reus, in the Baix Camp, which was then the second city in Catalonia. He attended the Escoles Pies school, where he excelled in Geometry and Arithmetic, and received a traditional, religious and humanist education. Son of a coppersmith, he started learning about crafts in his father’s workshop in 1860. In 1868 he moved to Barcelona and prepared for entry to the School of Architecture, which he joined in 1873. He combined his studies with working as an assistant in an architectural practice, as well as in the workshops of a carpenter, a glassmaker and a locksmith where he learned these crafts. Gaudi was inconsistent in his Architecture studies, but stood out in the subjects of design, drawing and mathematical calculation. In 1878, after qualifying in Architecture, he received his first official commission. As his professional reputation grew he undertook larger projects commissioned by the bourgeoisie such as, amongst others, the Casa Calvet, the Casa Batlló and the Casa Milà. In 1883 he took over the design of the Sagrada Familia, while also working on other projects. In 1906, Antoni Gaudí moved into what is now known as the Gaudí House Museum, the model home at Park Güell designed by Francesc d’Assís Berenguer i Mestres, the architect’s friend and right-hand man, where he lived for nearly 20 years. He worked for 43 years on the Sagrada Familia project until 1926. In 1914 he left all other work to concentrate exclusively on this sole project until his death on 10 June 1926, the result of a tragic accident three days earlier. His funeral, which went through much of Barcelona and finished in the Sagrada Familia, was a grand event in the city in recognition of his status as the greatest architect Barcelona has ever seen. Gaudí was buried in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia.
The tragic death of Gaudí in 1926: Antonio Gaudí was run over by a tram while he was enjoying one of his bohemian night walks through the city (on the way to the church of San Felip Neri). He was confused by a homeless due to his careless appearance and no one helped him at the time of the accident. He died days later because of his grave wounds. After his death the temple has been postponed its completion. During the Spanish Civil War in 1936, vandalism occurred in the Sagrada Familia where the crypt and Gaudí’s workshop were partly burnt. A large part of Gaudí’s plans and models were destroyed by fire. Yet, with only a few instructions and plans remaining from Gaudí, the construction of La Sagrada Familia continued, with new architects such as Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puid and Luís Bonet. They tried to remain faithful to Gaudí’s view and also brought their own style, following Gaudí’s wish to make each generation participate in the construction. The construction of the building is still a great challenge even for the most advanced technologies after a century.
On his death, only one tower on the Nativity Facade had been completed, but work continued after the Spanish Civil War and several more have since been finished to his plans. Work continues today, financed by public subscription. Gaudi never intended to complete the Sagrada Familia. He once said “There is no reason to regret that I cannot finish the church. I will grow old but others will come after me.” He knew that the stained glass would be designed and implemented by others. He knew that the he would never see thefirst façade completed. Hundreds of artists and architects have come after Gaudi and strive to follow his original intentions in the design. They have added their own touches and serve to make the basilica magnificent in every aspect. At Gaudi's death took over the construction his assistant, Domènec Sugrañes. Later, it has been under the direction of several architects, being Jordi Faulí i Oller director of the works since 2012.
The Sagrada Familia is an expiatory temple, that is to say, a place made to commemorate the reparation of sins made against God or the laws of the Church. The work is directly financed by donations made by visitors and the public, which explains its slow construction progress. Gaudí even once said "the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia is made by the people and this is reflected in it. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people". Construction still continues today and its completion is scheduled for 2026, a date symbolic of the centenary of Antoni Gaudí's death. Despite not being understood by many of his contemporaries, Gaudí developed an architectonic language that has made him world-famous. Today no one contests his place in the pantheon of 20th century architects. Gaudí’s methods continue to be considered revolutionary, a century after he devised them.
Construction Funding: The Basilica construction is not supported by any government or church funds. During the earliest stage of its building, it was funded by private patrons. During decades, La Sagrada Familia received private funds from donations only. Those funds were used exclusively to the construction of Gaudí’s dream. Nowadays, donations to the Sagrada Familia are still made but most of the money collected comes from entrance tickets.
Opening hours: NOV - FEB: 09.00 - 18.00, MAR: 09.00 - 19.00, APR - SEP: 09.00 - 20.00, OCT: 09.00 - 19.00, December 25, 26, January 1 and 6: 09.00 - 14.00.
Prices: : 15€ Basilica BASIC visit only, 22€ including audio guide, 24€ including a ticket for Gaudí House Museum and audio guide, 29€ including visit in the Basilica towers and audio guide, 24€ for a GUIDED tour of the Basilica only.
Non-guided visits rates:
Online in advance tickets: Adults: €15, concessions: €13, seniors: €11, FREE:children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Tickets office prices: Adults: €18, concessions: €16, seniors: €14, FREE: children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Guided visits rates:
Online in advance tickets: Adults: €24, concessions: €22, seniors: €18, FREE: children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Ticket office prices: Adults: €29, concessions: €27, seniors: €23, FREE: children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Towers visits rates (including audio guides):
Online in advance tickets: Adults: €22, concessions: €20, seniors: €17, FREE: children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Ticket office prices: Adults: €26, concessions: €24, seniors: €21, FREE: children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Basilica only Audio-guided visits:
Online in advance tickets: Adults: €29, concessions: €27, seniors: €22, FREE: children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Ticket office prices: Adults: €35, concessions: €33, seniors: €28, FREE: children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Basilica + Sagrada Família audioguide + entrance to Gaudí
Online in advance tickets: Adults: €24, concessions: €22, seniors: €18, FREE: children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Ticket office prices: Adults: €29, concessions: €27, seniors: €23, FREE: children under 11, disabled + 1 companion.
Ticket Offices: c/Sardenya, for disabled visitrs: the Group Visitor Services Centre (c /Marina).
Public Transportation: Metro: Line 2 (purple) and Line 5 (Blue) - Sagrada Familia station, buses: 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, B20 and B24.
- The lines to buy tickets for La Sagrada Familia are long. You could wait for hours, which is something you definitely don’t want to do in the middle of August in Barcelona. It’s hot, it’s sticky and it’s downright miserable. Avoid the lines and the heat (rain, cold, wind) by purchasing your tickets through Sagrada Familia’s official website: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/tiquets/
- Tickets can be bought online making queuing time considerably less lengthy.
- Once you enter Sagrada Familia, collect your audio guide and go for one round of exteriors to admire the beauty.
- Climb the towers.
- Walk into the interiors by 14.30 -15.30 so that you can watch the spectacular sight of light coming through the stained glasses and filling up the entire central nave.
- Buy the ticket that combines Basilica entry, audio guide, and visit to the towers.
- Make sure the weather is good, if there is rain or wind they don't allow access to the towers.
- The guided tours just don't leave you with enough time to stand and stare.
- You can’t switch your date/time for another date/time. You have to go when you’re ticket tells you to, so be wise about what time you select for your Sagrada Familia experience.
- Make sure to find the correct line for entry with a pre-purchased ticket within the allocated time slot or you won't get in.
Exteriors: The Sagrada Familia is the masterpiece of the architect, Antonio Gaudí, (in Catalan the building is called Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família). Gaudi made the four monumental façades of the Basilica transcendental symbols to the life of Jesus Christ: his birth, death and resurrection, and glory. Antoni Gaudí knew that he could not finish the construction before his death. As a symbol, he wanted each part of La Sagrada Familia to be constructed separately so that each generation of architects could bring their own style. Gaudí designed the Sagrada Familia with pure and simple geometric forms. Therefore, he thought that any architect would understand the drawings and plans of the monument and could continue the construction even after his death. Gaudí also made a model of the Glory facade. The model was demolished in 1936 for future architects to base their work on the design imagined by Gaudí.
The Birth / Nativity Façade: The Nativity facade symbolizes, as its name suggests, the birth of Jesus. Built between 1894 and 1930, it is the only facade to be built almost to completion while Gaudí was alive. Gaudí saw the facade as a representation of nativity, a symbol of life and creation. The facade of the birth of Christ was completed first. It consists of three major portals - one large middle door and two smaller side doors - and four bell towers. This unit breaks above all because of the very novel towers in the Gothic style. This façade is dedicated to the birth of Christ and is designed with a very carefully ornamentation. More human and familiar than the others two facades. The is divided into three portals and porticoes dedicated to three theological themes: Hope, Faith and Charity. The main symbols in this façade are with the Gate of Jesus and the Tree of Life. The artist Etsuro Sotoo was the last one to work on this façade (finished in 2000). Attention his sculptures of animals embedded throughout the façade. Turtles, snakes and worms run through the palm leaves at the entrance doors. This facade has doorways representing Faith, Hope, and Charity. Scenes of the Nativity and Christ’s childhood are embellished with symbolism, such as doves representing the congregation. The three portals, the tripartite facade, form a uniform sight, in which human figures are particularly noticeable. It is an allegory of the wonders of the emerging and constantly changing nature, the creator of all forms of existence. The left portal is called "Portal of Hope", the medium is called the "Portal of Mercy" and the right the "Portal of Faith". Between the portals are above the pillars angel with trumpets, which announce the end of world. About the portals, hardly recognizable, the astrological zodiac spans signs from the star, which representation as pagan view that the fate lies in the stars, actually was not allowed. Between the three gates you can recognize two very high and richly drawn pillars, which are crowned with palm trees and rest on two large stone turtles.
The Nativity Facade depicting Jesus’ birth and early ministry. The only facade that Gaudi finished:
High up on the Nativity facade a spire with a cypress tree symbolizes the Tree of Life. A pelican at the foot of the tree symbolizes the Host and angels at the bottom hold chalices, a reminder of the Eucharist. At the top of the tree the letter T (or Tau) stands for God (as the first letter of God's name in the Greek alphabet). It is red with diagonal bars crossing it forming an X, representing Christ's name. A Dove at the top with outspread wings represents the Holy Spirit. Thus, the three persons of the Trinity are represented at the top of the tree of life.
in centre- top (green colour): Tree of life:
To the left of the main entrance Portal of Hope shows scenes that are not giving reasons for hope. They show e.g. the murder of children by Herod, the flight to Egypt, a child who has a dead dove in his hand. The arch above the gate is a two-man saw, displayed are tools, with occupations as construction related to it. The portal is crowned by a rock of the mountain Montserrat.
Virgin Mary and Joseph:
Virgin Mary coronation:
In the centre: Jesus and Joseph, in the left side: Escape to Egypt:
The middle and largest portal is the Portal of Mercy. The portal is divided in two by a pillar. A snake with the apple of sin in its mouth twines around the pillar. Gaudí used death masks of diseased people and replicas of the workers' faces, that were involved in the Sagrada Familia. In a higher level above the portal you can see how Jesus crowns Maria:
Birth of Jesus:
The right Portal of Faith shows some scenes from the Gospels. Above the gate is a cruel presentation of the Heart of Jesus, filled with thorns. There are several characters groups. They show Maria visiting her cousin, Joseph and Mary in adoration of Jesus. On the upper levels the main contents of the Catholicism are represented: the Trinity, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the Eucharist and the wisdom of God, striking presented by a hand with an eye on it:
The Charity Portico:
Still, the Nativity (Birth) facade:
The Passion Facade: The Passion Façade is austere, plain and simple, with ample bare stone, and is carved with harsh straight lines to resemble the bones of a skeleton. This bleak facade was completed in the late 1980s by artist Josep Maria Subirachs. Dedicated to the Passion of Christ, the suffering of Jesus during his crucifixion, the façade was intended to portray the sins of man. Gaudí intended for this façade to strike fear into the onlooker. He wanted to "break" arcs and "cut" columns, and to use the effect of chiaroscuro (dark angular shadows contrasted by harsh rigid light) to further show the severity and brutality of Christ's sacrifice. A controversial work, its sculpted figures, which represent Jesus’ pain and sacrifice, are often angular and sinister. The Passion Façade is supported by six large and inclined columns, designed to resemble sequoia trunks. Above there is a pyramidal pediment, made up of eighteen bone-shaped columns, which culminate in a large cross with a crown of thorns. Each of the four towers is dedicated to an apostle (James, Thomas, Philip, or Bartholomew) and, like the Nativity Façade, there are three porticoes, each representing the theological virtues, though in a much different light.
The Passion Facade Entrance:
The MAGIC SQUARE on the Passion Facade: This is one of the mysteries of the Sagrada Familia Passion facade. Next to the statues of a couple kissing, you might see a 4x4 magic square of 15 numbers that has been a complete mystery so far. Numbers add to 33, the age of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion:
Building works of Sagrada Familia started in 1882. A century later, pope John Paul II visited the church, in 1982:
The Glory Façade: The largest and most striking of the façades WILL be the Glory Façade, on which construction began in 2002. It will be the principal façade and will offer access to the central nave. This facade is dedicated to the heavenly glory of Jesus and represents his rise to heaven. Knowing that he would not see the beginning of this facade in his lifetime, Gaudí drew only a few sketches showing his general ideas and plans: representations of Death, Final Judgment, and Glory, as well as Hell for anyone that deviates from God's path. Dedicated to the Celestial Glory of Jesus, it represents the road to God: Death, Final Judgment, and Glory, while Hell is left for those who deviate from God's will. Aware that he would not live long enough to see this façade completed, Gaudí made a model which was demolished in 1936, whose original fragments were base for the development of the design for the façade. The completion of this façade will require the demolition of the complete block with buildings across the Carrer de Mallorca. To reach the Glory Portico the large staircase will lead over the underground passage built over Carrer de Mallorca with the decoration representing Hell and vice. It will be decorated with demons, idols, false gods, heresy and schisms, etc. Purgatory and death will also be depicted, the latter using tombs along the ground. The portico will have seven large columns dedicated to spiritual gifts. At the base of the columns there will be representations of the Seven Deadly Sins, and at the top, The Seven Heavenly Virtues:
Door on the Glory Facade:
The Towers / Spires: Each of the 18 towers has a special significance. The original design calls for a total of eighteen spires, representing in ascending order of height the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists (Saint John, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Matthew) and, tallest of all, Jesus Christ. Eight spires have been built, corresponding to four apostles at the Nativity façade and four apostles are at the Passion façade. From wherever they are seen, once finished, these 18 towers will be an extraordinary sight and provide a sense of elevation to the central tower dedicated to Jesus Christ:
The Basilica’s almost overwhelmingly busy exterior features numerous skinny spires; berry-topped towers; oval windows framed with writing. The words "Excelsis" and "Hosanna" are embedded in some of the pinnacles. This verticality chosen by Gaudí is intended to symbolize elevation towards God. This is achieved with: the mighty pyramidal design outside, the height of its naves, and the pinnacles on top of the towers that seem to challenge the sky:
Decoration of the towers using the word "Sanctus", from latin, meaning "saint":
The Lion and the Lamb: In Jewish and Christian tradition, the lion of Judah represents the Messiah, who was to be a descendant of King David. Christianity uses the lion of Judah to represent Jesus of Nazareth. In Christianity, the lamb also represents Jesus, who sacrificed himself for the sins of mankind. In the Bible - Abraham obeyed God and agreed to sacrifice his sole son - Isaac. God rewarded Abraham with a ram stuck in a bush so, at the last moment, he would not have to sacrifice his son Isaac. The figures of the lion of Judah and the lamb were created by the sculptor Lau Feliu.
To get a close-up view of the architectural and decorative aspects of the exterior, take the elevator up to the top of the tower (Top Views ticket required) (many of the detailed photos above - were taken from the stairs down the Basilica) and descend via the stairs. Windows in the stairwell provide viewpoints along the way. If you don’t mind heights, it’s a thrilling experience. The views from the towers are amazing. The only way to go up the towers is, currently, only via the elevators. The climb down from the Sagrada Familia towers is a non-tiring, small adventure. The stairs are adequately lit with natural lighting. The walk down is quite narrow. If you don’t like being confined to small spaces, this may not be the best thing for you. We will not recommend the tower climb for those who are afraid of heights or suffer from vertigo. Now, you can use the elevator only to climb up and have to use the spiral staircase to climb down (both on the Passion façade and the Nativity façade). To that extent, you can select either Passion tower or Nativity tower. Most of the visitors suggest choosing the Nativity facade. The towers of Nativity façade look out towards the sea while those of Passion façade face the city. Nativity facade celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ while Passion facade deals with the crucifixion. Detailing on both the towers are excellent. You have to admire the detailing from the ground and hence the detailing does not influence the choice of which tower to climb. After 13.00 there is a line for the elevators as the elevator can only accommodate six people at a time. The constant stream of people climbing down means that you have to often get into the balconies to let other visitors to pass:
The SF at Night:
Tip 3 - Sagrada Familia interiors:
For some, seeing the exterior of La Sagrada Familia is enough to satiate their interest in Barcelona’s best attraction, but still many queue up, sometimes for hours, to get a peak inside. The interior is surprising due to its magnitude, light and decor, and because this incredible monument is far outside the norm. Furthermore, as with the exterior, the interior has great religious and symbolic significance, based on the Gospels and the book of the Apocalypse. The ground plan of the Sagrada Familia is made up of a classic Latin cross comprising a nave of five ships (nave flanked by double collateral sides) opening onto a transept with three naves, and an apse with a large ambulatory. It opens onto seven chapels and two spiral staircases, which give access to choirs that surround the apse. On 11/07/2010, the Sagrada Familia was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI and elevated to the status of a Basilica. The completion of the interior and consecration was a great moment for Barcelona. Now, finally, the imposing, yet ingenious design of the brilliant Antoni Gaudí could be admired. And all this without scaffolding and machinery noise. The church of the Sagrada Familia is a five-naved Basilica. The central nave rises above the others significantly. To each nave a door is assigned to the unfinished glory facade.
The Central Nave: The first thing the visitor notices upon entering is the size of the main chamber. With a stunning array of columns that are constructed to look like trees growing inside the basilica, the roof stretches far above the viewer, to a height that's almost vertigo-inspiring from below. Light pours in from windows and electric lights positioned at the top, giving the impression of the sun's rays poking through a forest canopy.It all contributes to a sensation that although one is standing indoors, one could just as easily be outside, in a crisp white forest ringed by some of the most intensely colorful stained glass windows you've ever seen. The keystones that cover the central nave of the temple were completed in 1993. At the central nave, the height of the arch is 45 metres by 30 meters. As for the height of the apse vault, it reaches 75 metres high. Gaudí planned for the light inside the Sagrada Familia to be harmonious and to accentuate the plasticity of the nave:
Roof of the nave (Apse) where Gaudi designed the columns to mirror trees and branches:
The other naves:
The apse of the Sagrada Familia: An Apse is known as one half of a dome roofed area. In a church, it is usually the area where the altar stands. Immediately after the completion of the crypt Gaudí had the apse built above. The Gothic-style apse is surrounded by seven chapels and two side stairs to the left and right. The inside walls of the apse are decorated with angels' heads and tears that should remind one of the suffering of Jesus. The apse was completed in 1893 by a huge crowned dome dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which are supported by massive columns. The entire apse and dome are flooded with light; it is very bright for Gothic Architecture:
Immediately after the completion of the crypt Gaudí had the apse built above. The Gothic-style apse is surrounded by seven chapels and two side stairs to the left and right. These lead to spiral staircases from the crypt and continue up into the facades. As an indication of the spiral staircase you see two big stone snails crawling down the wall on the outer walls of the apse. The inside walls of the apse are decorated with angels' heads and tears that should remind one of the suffering of Jesus:
The Altar is a block of porphyry from Iran. The altar is flanked by two large columns dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. Above the altar is a bronze version of a work by Carlos Maní:
Columns: To avoid the use of Gothic buttresses, Gaudi created columns shaped like tree trunks, giving the feeling of being in a forest rather than inside a church. Antoni Gaudí decided to design the Sagrada Familia, like most of his works, with curved lines. According to Gaudí, straight lines did not exist in the nature, and this is why the Basilica, which reflects the Nature, life and death should not be constructed with straight lines. As a symbol of Nature, the columns of the Sagrada Famlia are built in a tree-shape to support the whole monument.The branching columns, as well as having a structural function, reflect Gaudí’s idea that the inside of the temple should be like a wood that invites prayers. To lessen the load of the roofing and bring light into the building he designed skylights in between the columns, based on hyperboloids, built using pieces of golden and green glass and tiles to reflect daylight inside:
The result of Gaudi's research is a tree-like column structure. The columns are inclined and branched-like trees. The weight will be routed directly over the pillars in the ground - all this without bearing facade or exterior buttresses. The result of this ingenious solution is spectacular: the pillars and arches supported by them transform the interior of the temple into a stone forest of palm trees, lots of light streaming in through large windows and the vault. The columns are made of materials of different hardness. The longest and thickest columns are made of red porphyry, a very hard volcanic rock. The dark, somewhat smaller pillars are made of basalt, granite columns supporting the lighter and the outermost row of pillars in the church building consist of a relatively soft rock from the mountain of Barcelona, Montjuic. The "smallest" pillars support the chancel.
Views of side aisle with the arborescent columns, branching to support the vaults. In contrast to former cathedrals, whose vaults were robust and had to support a lot of weight, Gaudí wanted Sagrada Familia's vaults to be light-weight and illuminate the temple interior. The vaults emerge from tree-like columns and form palm leaves which represent the symbol of martyrdom. The assembly point of the leaves, some concave and others convex, also allow the filtering of light into the temple:
Spiral Staircases: Viewed from the top, these spiral stone stairways resemble snail shells. The steps allow access to the bell towers and upper galleries:
Gaudí made great use of light to endow his architecture. The rising sun lights up the portals of the Nativity facade. On the Passion facade the interplay of light and shadow produced by the setting sun heightens the sparse and severe character of the facade’s theme. The Glory facade receives the mid-day sun that will shine on the 16 lanterns of the monumental porch and light up the main entrance to the Basilica. Inside, apart from the colour provided by the actual construction materials used, such as the different types of stone and tiles in the vaulting, there will be many coloured symbolical features, such as the stained-glass windows and the inscriptions on the lights located in the capitals of the columns in the central nave and crossing, as well as the skylights in the vaults:
Light coming through stained glass onto columns leading into the apse:
The effect of the sunset, afternoon natural light is overwhelming:
The stained glass windows are an essential feature of the church. Gaudí gave them the same expressive status as the architecture of the carvings. The brilliant stained-glass windows are a 21st-century addition, though they help complete Gaudí’s vision of a “church of harmonious light.” All the stained glass windows in the apse follow a plan of graduated tones to create an atmosphere suitable for introspection. The windows are a focal point of the construction, with some stretching more than two stories high. They are designed to draw the eye upwards and inspire meditation on the divine. The beautiful attention to detail and the sheer magnitude of the windows naturally accomplish this. The stained glass designs also capture and filter colored light that not only illuminates but also adorns the striking architectural details. The main window in the transept, where the sculptures depicting the Passion are, is supposed to represent resurrection. Stained glass windows in the sides and main nave area will symbolize local important shrines and saints that are of particular importance to the people of Barcelona and Catalonia. The upper stained glass windows on the side naves will have an important phrase from Catholic scripture incorporated into them, while the central nave window will have no color and be made with simple, clear glass that will either be translucent or opaque to symbolize purity, which is also practical, as it will allow a large amount of natural light to illuminate the interior. From 1999 onwards, the painter and glassmaker Joan Vila i Grau has been in charge of producing the stained glass windows. He employs traditional techniques, setting the glass in lead strips in order to play with the shape and rhythm. Here in the church, he has followed the guidelines set out by Gaudí, who left several documents explaining how the stained glass windows should be arranged in order to achieve a symphony of evocative light and colour:
Outside design of stained glass, where light comes into the church inside:
Internal Facades' Doors: The Eucharist Door at the Glory Facade will be the main entrance when La Sagrada Familia is complete. The relief shows the Lord’s Prayer in Catalan and “Give us this day our daily bread” in dozens of languages. The repeated letter is one of the most emblematic techniques he used in order to turn message into a work of art, paying thus a tribute to typology. The middle part of the main access doors is inscribed with the Lord's Prayer in Catalan with relief letters, and highlights the fragment 'Give us, o Lord, our daily bread' (Translation from original Catalan: 'el nostre pa de cada dia doneu-nos-el avui') in Catalan and 49 more languages (in alphabetic order: Albanian, Arabic, Aramaic, Aranese, Basque, Berber, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Coptic, Croat, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, Galician, German, Greek, Guarani, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Quechua , Rumanian, Russian, Sanskrit, Sardinian, Serb, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog , Tibetan, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Wolof). The great gateway door to the main nave of the Basilica can be visited from June 2009. The huge façade door is facing Carrer Mallorca. It was created by the sculptor Josep M. Subirachs in collaboration with Bruno Gallart, Subirachs' assistant during the works on the Passion façade. The sculptor completed acomplex formed by two doors, five metres wide and five metres high. Josep M. Subirachs work history is comprised of many other previous forged bronze doors:
The Organ: In 2010 an organ was installed in the SF by the Blancafort Orgueners de Montserrat organ builders. The instrument has 26 stops (1,492 pipes) on two manuals and a pedalboard.
To overcome the unique acoustical challenges posed by the church's architecture and its vast size, several additional organs will be installed at various points within the building. These instruments will be playable separately (from their own individual consoles) and simultaneously (from a single mobile console), yielding an organ of approx. 8000 pipes when completed.
In year 2015 the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia has extended the tour for visitors with the opening of the ground floor of the sacristy of the west. In the space of the cloister it has placed the ‘Way of the Liturgy’, an exhibition of pieces Antoni Gaudí designed for the Catholic liturgy. The pieces are: wrought iron candlestick, a cross with candles, a lectern three sacral, a mobile chair two couches, three banks and a chair. Within the sacristy there are two closets: one to keep the liturgical vestments worn by the celebrant and ministers of celebrations and another for the various liturgical objects such as chalices and patens. All parts that are part of the Way of the Liturgy are original or reproductions of designs by Antoni Gaudí:
Drawing of the walls of Jerusalem on the floor at the Passion Facade Entrance:
Tip 4: - Museum of La Sagrada Familia Basilica:
Once you’ve seen the unusual, yet majestic La Sagrada Familia, you’ll probably want to wander down to the museum for a look at how this structure came to be. The studio workshop is essential to understand how Gaudí worked and thought. The models he used are beyond anyone’s imagination. You’ll get an in-depth look into Antoni Gaudí’s architectural processes and experimentation, and the ongoing building works of the church. Gaudí’s study of architectural styles enabled him to see the imperfections in the Gothic style and to ultimately ‘go beyond its structure‘. The museum collection includes historical photos documenting the construction efforts, sketches of statues and structural details, and detailed models of various features. You’ll also get to see the current workshop, where model-makers restore and reproduce Gaudí’s original models. It is said that he preferred to create 3D models, rather than make detailed plans or drawings, and that his approach allowed for future generations to continue the project according to his original designs. The idea for a museum showcasing the work of Antoni Gaudí, to be housed in his workshop, came about one month after his death in 1926. Plans changed, however, following a damaging fire in the workshop in 1936. The Museum of La Sagrada Familia was inaugurated in 1961 in the half-basement beneath the Passion Façade and above the crypt. It now encompasses much, if not all, of the half-basement beneath the Basilica. This museum serves to honor the genius of the architect and is located, in part, directly above his tomb (visible from a window in the museum). Admission to the museum is Included with the admission to La Sagrada Familia Basilica.
Antony Gaudi at the Corpus Christi procession, Cathedral of Barcelona, 1924:
The first stone of the SF was laid in 3 NOV 1883:
Gaudi died in accident in 10 JUN 1926:
Completion of the temple is targeted to year 2026:
In this state - Gaudi resumes responsibility for the work, year 1883:
State of building 1889-1893:
Model of the Birth / Nativity Facade:
Birth / Nativity Facade in years 1900-1906:
Models which were offered for the Basilica:
Model of the main Nave 1:10:
Model of the Temple 1:25:
Door designed by Gaudi for the Crypt of the Temple, 1889:
Window of the central Nave 1:10:
Model of the Passion facade 1:10:
Model of the Glory Facade 1:25:
Picture of the Eastern facade:
Pope Benedict XVI mass dedication Sagrada Familia 7 NOV 2010: