After a month of living down the street from the most famous landmark in Barça, my roommate and I finally made it to the legendary church, Sagrada Familia! The story is the church was started by the famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi is known in Barcelona for many structures, such as Parc Güell, and houses around the city, but Sagrada Familia was his most ambitious project. While in the midst of construction, Gaudi was struck by a car and died days later in the hospital. The structure is still not finished to this day. It is taking so long because the construction of the church is funded by donation, the anticipated completion date is 2026, in honor of the centennial of Gaudi's death. Interestingly, the interior has been finished two years ago because the Pope came to visit. The building has distinct differences on the exterior. The front of the church is incredibly detailed with images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, while the back of the church (the entrance) is more abstract with images of the Passion and Adam and Eve.
Luckily, we had met some boys that work at Sagrada Familia, so we did not have to pay an entrance or lift fee. Upon entering, you notice the doors of the massive church are inscribed with excerpts from scriptures, and a square box in the middle, filled with numbers. Apparently, these numbers are supposed to add up to 33 in multiple directions (kind of like a Seduko.) When exploring, we found that these numbered boxes were scattered throughout Sagrada Familia. When inside, we decided to go to the first lift. It took us up so that we could see the majestic city of Barcelona. With views from every angle, it was truly spectacular. The more interesting part, however, was how we were able to see in such detail the mosaics that were simply dull colors from the ground. It was obvious that care was put into all aspects of this church. We descended a beautiful spiral staircase that seemed never-ending (I've decided I want it in my future house,) and entered into the cathedral. Gaudi's signature style is obvious from every minute detail, including the curved walls. The floor plan of SaFa was made to represent the layout of the city itself, with large square tiles. Light could be seen shining through every stained-glass windowpane showing the magnificence of the space. Underneath the main podium, where the space is just used for Sunday services, you can see the underground area where parishioners are welcome.
After exiting the main church we went to the "crypt" area, where there was a service in session. Like the rest of the structure, the room was extremely detailed and well-lit. On the far side, there was a gathering of people around a statue of Mary. I was not sure if this was famous, until I realized, upon further inspection, that beneath was Gaudi's burial site.