Absolutely Interesting Facts about Sagrada Familia - SkyscraperCity

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Old September 19th, 2018, 10:31 PM   #1
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Absolutely Interesting Facts about Sagrada Familia

Situated in the middle of Barcelona and thronged by millions, Sagrada Familia is a masterpiece from the brilliant mind of Antoni Gaudi. The Basílica I Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a Roman Catholic church, having a rich history of over 100 years.

Though the church has an ever-present crowd, it also functions as a place of worship. Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church in 2010 and Sagrada Familia’s Chapel of Holy Sacrament and Penitence is reserved for prayer. Whether you visit the church as a part of an architectural tour or as a pilgrimage, it leaves all its visitors in various states of awe. With it’s slow -and steady – march towards completion, it’s hardly a surprise that there are numerous unknown facts about this work of art and architecture.

1. Setting the bar for Construction Time
The church has taken longer to construct than one might imagine. Antoni Gaudi had gotten involved with the project when he was in his thirties and from 1914, he focused exclusively on the church. At the death of Antoni Gaudi, in 1926, not even a quarter of the work had been completed. Only in 2010, did the church pass the mid-way point?
The estimated year of completion is 2026, marking the 100th year of Gaudi’s death. (However, this projected timeline doesn’t consider that it would take till after 2030 to add the decorative details.) When completed in 2026, Sagrada Familia would have taken 10 times longer than the Great pyramids, 123 years more than the Taj Mahal, 50 years more than the Great Wall of China to be constructed.

2. It all started with a bookseller…..and another architect
Josep Maria Bocabella, on his visit to the Vatican, wanted a church to be built in Spain, similar to the ones he had seen in Italy. Funded by private donations, construction started in 1882 under the architect Francisco Paula del Villar. Had it continued under him, Sagrada Familia would have been a standard Gothic revival church. However, he resigned a year later and Antoni Gaudi took over. With only the apse crypt completed, Gaudi radically changed the plans and the Sagrada Familia of today was born.

3. Pure and Geometric
Gaudi’s design for the church was done with the forethought that any architect who comes after him could understand the drawings and details and continue the construction. He also made models of the Glory Facade for future architects to base their designs according to his vision. Moreover, as he knew that the church wouldn’t be completed in his lifetime, he planned the construction in stages. This was done so that architects of different periods could add their own style to the design of the church.

4. Facades and Symbolism
Out of the three main facades, the east (in reality, North East, but has been simplified) facade, also known as the Nativity facade is the only one to be constructed under Gaudi’s watchful eye. The Passion Facade (simplified West) is constructed and open to visitors while the Glory facade (simplified south) is still under construction.
The Nativity facade, which celebrates the birth of Christ, has three portals – Hope, Mercy, and Faith. The faces on the Portal of Mercy was done using the death masks of the deceased people of Barcelona and molds of the workers’ faces. This was Gaudi’s way of making the church a part of the people.
The Passion facade is dedicated to the death of Christ and is designed to be plain and simple. With rigid shapes, harsh lines and composed of bare stone, the facade is representative of a skeleton. This facade has fewer sculptures, in comparison to the Nativity facade. Scenes from The Last Supper, Judas’ kiss, the crucifixion, and the resurrection are depicted. It has 6 large and inclined columns to resemble the Sequoia trunks. Above this, are 18 smaller and white columns, representing bones.
The Glory facade, after construction, will be the tallest and principal facade of Sagrada Familia. It offers access to the nave and will be decorated with idols, false gods and demons.

5. 12 Towers with multiple pinnacles
Each facade consists of 4 towers (a total of 12 towers) representing the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Next, to these towers, close to the middle of the church is 6 taller towers, 4 of which are dedicated to the Evangelists. These 4 are of the same height and are designed similarly. These 4 towers surround one tall tower in the center, representing Jesus. This tower will bring the height of the structure to a total of 560 feet and will make it the tallest church in Europe.
The 6th tower is at the very north, and shorter than the ones representing the Evangelists. However, it is more sturdy and represents the Virgin Mary. The tower of Jesus will be topped with a cross while the other towers will have different symbols. The towers of the 3 main facades will have episcopal symbols.
Apart from the 18 towers, there are other smaller pinnacles on the church. These have other religious symbols on top of them, like sheaves of wheat, a bunch of grapes etc, representing the Eucharist.

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