The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona had to be one of my favorite experiences on our recent European trip.  Words can not describe the stunning beauty and the respect for religion in this true tourist site.  It was amazing, and such a spiritual experience for all of us that day.

While touring in Europe we had the opportunity to learn more about the Catholic religion in their traditions and culture.  As it’s dramatically different than our own practices, we found a mutual understanding and respect for the basic principles and foundations taught.  It was incredible to visit one of Gaudi’s famous works of architecture.  Still being built to this day, almost 90 years after his death.  It is a magnificent basilica holding daily Mass even amongst all the tourists.

The front facade is adorned with sculptures from the bible, including the Nativity over the front arch ways with additional sculptures of the wise men and angels from above.  There are also sculptures of young Jesus teaching on the steps of the temple, the decree to kill all male babies, among other significant bible stories represented.  Gaudi’s work is really ornate with excessive detail.  Even giant lizzards adoring top pillars watching over all.  I was facinated by the detail of the sculptures.  As we learned not all sculptures were done during the same period of time, and different sculptures were hired over the decades to add their touch to this masterpiece.  The front facade all had a similar look and feel regardless of how many sculptures assisted wth the project, while the back facade took an entirely different look with cubism sculptures.  Both equally as stunning and gorgeous in their own ways, both with similar stories, and yet so different.  The front facade depicts Jesus birth and life while the back facade is of the crusificition.

Inside this massive structure is incredible.  There are 4 main pillars.  Each with an ornate emblem on it representing the 4 apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  These 4 pillars hold up the entire roof, the other pillars are there for support to the main 4, representing the need for the 12 apostles.  In the front is where Christ is hanging from a cross.  However, it’s noted that this representation is unique in the sense the Christ is still alive, as he is looking up towards the heavens.  This hangs over a chapel area where daily Mass is held.  Inside on the main floor is adorned with more ornate architecture and stunningly vibrant stained glass windows.  It was pointed out that on one side of the room the stained glass was a firey red with deep oranges and yellows representing the world being forms.  The other side of the room had stained glass in cool blue tones with deep greens representing life and growth of the world as we now know it.

I stood in awe in the back portion of this hall in complete awe of the beauty and craftsmanship represented.  It was truly a work of art.  As I was prepared to see this work of art by Gaudi and learn more about his life, I was not prepared for feeling of God’s love in this tourist environment.  I often associate feeling of God’s love with going to church and worshiping in my own ways.  As a tourist I was not prepared in thinking that would happen here.  I was wrong.  It was incredible to see how respectful the tour was while religious services were happening in our midst.  The tour not only taught of Gaudi and his life, but of the extreme religious detail that went into this building to worship.  I was truly in awe at how a tour with so many facts on the construction turned into so much more.  What a joy it was to tour this facility.  Regardless of your religion, what you believe, how you worship, these people, in this facility figured something out because it doesn’t matter who you are, you know you are a Child of God while visiting the Sagrada Familia.

It is rumored that George Lucas came to visit the Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila and other works by Gaudi before working on his most famous creative works of art… The Star Wars films.  It’s believed that he took inspiration from Gaudi in creating some of the characters of this famous saga.  What do you think?  Can you see resemblances of the Storm Troopers from these sculptures?  The Sagrada Familia began construction in 1892, well before the Star Wars Saga was even thought about.  Is it a coincidence?  Who knows!  But it’s certainly a fun bit of trivia to wonder about.

On the back facade you will notice a square grid with numbers.  Similar to a Sudoku Grid.  This grid however represents the age of Christ at his death, 33.  However you add up the numbers you will always get 33.  Fun Fact!

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