Two weekends ago I was lucky enough to have the chance to go to Barcelona with a friend. We had two great days full of wandering the city and seeing the sights, but without a doubt my favorite of Barcelona’s many wonders was La Sagrada Familia.
La Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic Basilica that was designed by the famous Antoni Gaudí. It was his last project and he never saw it completed– he died when only a quarter of it was constructed. Though they started building it in 1882, the Cathedral still isn’t done, and the projected completion date is around 2026.
As with all of Gaudí’s works, La Sagrada Familia is so spectacular because of how it defies, transforms and renovates traditional architecture. Art critic Rainer Zerbst said about the church: “It is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art.” For me, for this reason, though Spain is a country with many, many beautiful and impressive churches and cathedrals, La Sagrada Familia really stands out.
In a cloister of the Church there’s an exhibit on how Gaudí took inspiration from nature for his work, (in a way a sanctification of nature, no?) which you can really feel in the architecture–the columns stretching from the floor to the ceiling high above are like gray, somber trees, the undulating railings on the sides like waves, the stained glass windows in the shape of flowers. Everything has a mathematical and clear geometry. All the lines are definite and clean. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by darkness, mystery and opulence like I have in many other churches, La Sagrada Familia is full of light and space, an ambiance if there ever was one capable of lifting and filling the spirit.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Haley Stewart was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and is currently a Comparative Literature Major at Williams College in Massachusetts. She was lucky enough to be in a Spanish Immersion program from preschool thru high school, an experience which left her a fluent Spanish-speaker, a lover of Latin-American literature and an avid traveler. She's used her Spanish in many ways since, from teaching computer classes in Oaxaca, Mexico, to volunteering at an organization for low-paid farm workers in Oregon, to her classes on Spanish literature and history at Williams. Haley's most recent travel experience, a month and a half long trip to England on a travel fellowship from Williams, hiking alone through the beautiful Lake District in the footsteps of the Romantic poet Wordsworth, has left her even more excited to explore Granada. A lover of Federico Garcia Lorca for many years, Haley looks forward to not only walking, but living, in a city full of such poetry, music and magic.</span></p>