No, it is not a novelty, nor is it a hidden or secluded temple in some corner of the world. In fact, it is the most visited monument in Spain, Gaudí’s masterpiece, and the greatest exponent of Catalan modernist architecture. The work under construction is declared a World Heritage Site, in recognition of Gaudí’s contribution to architecture, to the construction techniques of the time, to his personal style, to sculpture, and especially to the city of Barcelona.
In my successive visits to the city of Barcelona, I had always looked at the silhouette of the basilica from the outside (Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Family) without which he could no longer imagine Barcelona. He had observed it from different angles, from the distance of the surrounding neighborhoods as a visual icon at the end of a street, from its sidewalks, or from the surrounding parks and squares. But going inside it was a pending debt that I finish paying off in the recent two-day trip to Barcelona. And the reality is that even with very high expectations, I have walked amazed by the interior of the Sagrada Familia, and I continue to be more than surprised when observing the photographs taken inside (and what I am going to share for those who want to organize a next visit ).
Observing the photos of the interior will not be a “spoiler” of a visit (and this is a joke), because no photograph or video does justice to the originality and dimension of the space, to how impressive it is to walk inside it and be immersed in the most emblematic work of Gaudí, to its atmosphere of lights, its sculptures and details. There are so many aspects to appreciate, so much to learn, that nothing equates to being in there. Even with the high price of admission (after all we are visiting a cult space that one imagines for free) we must understand that we are collaborating with our payment in the construction of a contemporary wonder in full execution.
Curious fact of the history of the work, the construction begins projected with a neogothic style, but when assuming the Gaudí project in the year 1883, it is completely transformed into what it is today (and still remains to be completed), a modernist architectural jewel. , extravagant especially for the time (I still have my admiration not only for the genius of Gaudí, but also for those who bet on going ahead with a project that I imagine was so risky and innovative at the time).
Of the many details and approaches with which an analysis of this work can be displayed, in this post I will only dedicate myself to highlighting the structure in the form of a forest in which the interior is conceived: specifically, the columns adopt the shapes of the trees and divide into different branches towards the top to support the vaults. Every tilt, every measurement, and every material is used with millimeter precision. The columns are inclined to better support the pressures in each section, and mimic the shapes of tree branches and trunks with their helical shape. Everything comes together to solve in a “simple” way the challenge of supporting the weight of the vaults without using external buttress structures (so typical of the Gothic style).
In this panoramic (and wide-angle) image you can see the view towards the roof and the “forest” of columns:
If we focus and get closer to the details of the ceiling, the combinations of shapes look like a geometric experimentation or an “abstract painting”, and yet there are perfect mathematical calculations applied to the structure, which also take into account openings to allow natural lighting. :
In panoramic shots you can see the forest of columns and the human scale. True to his style and philosophy, Gaudí knew how to adapt the initial project to his personal style, drawing inspiration from the forms of nature: the columns act as tree trunks to support the structure of the basilica in an organic way and with enormous beauty, the same beauty that overwhelms when walking the different naves of the interior. We are ultimately walking in a temple and in a “forest” at the same time.
To better understand the associations between the forms of nature, and the forms studied and used by Gaudí, in a room that is part of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia there are models and details on the columns and the imitation of tree trunks:
Below, more details of the interior of the Sagrada Familia:
If I had to make an exhaustive description of the atmosphere that is breathed in the temple, a separate point would be for the lighting and games of colored lights (natural light) through the windows and stained glass:
There is so much more that can be added about this wonder of Barcelona. But what has been said, I only wanted to reflect in images the concept of the forest of columns used by Gaudí.
If you want to visit the interior of the Sagrada Familia, my final recommendation is to avoid the queues and book your ticket online through the official website at least one day in advance.
The ticket for the Sagrada Familia with audio guide, which includes access to the Gaudí House Museum in Park Güell has a cost of 26 euros on the date I write the post. It is a price that may seem high, but we must understand that we are collaborating with the construction of this monumental work. We can choose to do a self-guided or guided tour, in addition to different modalities (you can visit the interior by the floor, or add a higher price to one of its towers with the additional benefit of enjoying the views of the city of Barcelona). Here you have the official explanation to organize the visit.