Dominating the skyline of Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia is the most unorthodox and brilliant creation in Spain. La Sagrada Familia is Barcelona's second largest cathedral and a structure of incredible dimensions. It is designed in the shape of a Latin cross, with five hubs and three facades. It is most famous for its slender towers that rise nearly 100 meters above ground and with pinnacles decorated with ceramics. With eight soaring spires and a spectacular main faade, this cathedral is a true architectural masterpiece with majestic columns and semi-modern, semi-Gothic structure . It is truely an architectural marvel incepted by Antoni Gaudi.
The building is under construction since 1882 and it is hoped that the church will be finished in 2026 for the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death in 1926. It is Barcelona's most famous tourist attraction and gets over 3 million visitors a year and also one of the most famous buildings in the world. The original foundation stone was laid in 1882, when the area was mostly fields. When Gaudi died in 1926 only a small part had been built and Gaudi knew it would take a long time to build such a lavish temple.
Gaudi devised a temple 95m long and 60m wide, able to seat 13,000 people, with a central tower 170m high above the transept representing Christ and another 17 of 100m or more. The 12 along the three facades represent the Apostles, while the remaining five represent the Virgin Mary and the four Evangelists. With his characteristic dislike for straight lines there were none in nature, he said, Gaud gave his towers swelling outlines inspired by the weird peaks of the holy mountain Montserrat outside Barcelona, and encrusted them with a tangle of sculpture that seems an outgrowth of the stone. Inside, work on roofing over the church was completed in 2010. The roof is held up by a forest of extraordinary angled pillars. As the pillars soar towards the ceiling, they sprout a web of supporting branches, creating the effect of a forest canopy. Everything was thought through, including the shape and placement of windows to create the mottled effect one would see with sunlight pouring through the branches of a thick forest. The pillars are of four different types of stone. They y in colour and load-bearing strength.
Only 8 towers of the 18 spires are finished, however the interiors were finished in 2012 and is now open to public. The church looks different from all the sides and from the rear entrance of the building, low dome of fruits representing the four seasons is visible. The building is still under construction so be prepared to see a lot of work continuing when you visit. However this in itself is interesting, especially if you visit the museum inside the building. Regardless of all the controversy surrounding the Sagrada Familia, it is a magnificent building and an absolute must-see when you visit Barcelona.