I took a side trip to Barcelona and Gaudi stole the show. Absolutely blown away by this building. This building being Gaudi’s masterpiece, Sagrada Familia. Gaudi’s ability to tell a story through architectural design and his ability to pull inspiration from nature, even the human body, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
These are a handful of the countless photos I took of this building and not a single one can possibly capture what feels like to stand inside the cathedral. If you’re planning a visit at bare minimum book tickets to enter the Sagrada Familia and if you have an hour I’d highly recommend the audio tour which will walk you through Gaudi’s masterpiece.
A few of my favorite facts from the audio tour:
- The columns on the back of the building were inspired by muscle tendons. You can see their tension as they hold up the Passion Towers.
- On the same side, you can also see an image of the architect’s face in one of the scenes. Gaudi passed away before the completion of the Passion facade and the sculptor wanted to pay tribute to the late Gaudi.
- The inside of the building was designed to mimic a forest. You can see the towering columns which break off into separate branches near the top to hold up the massive ceiling and exterior. The columns were also built with a variety of materials to mimic the countless types of trees that make up a forest.
- On the front of the building, the Nativity facade, there are two columns, the one closest to the sea held up by a sea turtle and the one closest to the mountains by a tortoise.
There’s such a huge variation in styles of sculpture and architectural elements on this building, but Gaudi managed to tie them together flawlessly. While many might not consider this building beautiful by traditional means, it’s breathtaking when you consider the thought and skill it took to conceive and execute. I’ll be heading back to Barcelona in 2026 when the over 100-year construction journey comes to a close and Sagrada Familia is complete.
(For all the tech/design geeks out there: Check out the 3D printing lab underneath the cathedral. They’ve been using 3D printed models of Gaudi’s designs to help guide the completion of the cathedral.)