La Sagrada Família

Antoni Gaudí's masterpiece, and the most famous symbol of Barcelona, is the Expiatory Temple of La Sagrada Família. It was begun in 1882 and funded by public subscription. Gaudí took charge two years later, and significantly increased the size and the program. He spent most of the rest of his life working on the church, exclusively so after finishing the Parc Güell in 1911. He lived on site, and died in 1926 after being run over by a tram, leaving the church un-finished and the plan in flux. 

Controversially, re-building started in the late 50s, and is very much in full swing now. I've read that plans and models were destroyed in 1936 during the Civil War, but also that some model has survived to guide the current work. In any event, the current condition is very much that of an active construction site, so at any time various views and portions of the building might be blocked.

It's big, with the eight spires rising over 100 meters. The climb up is highly recommended, but not for the acrophobic or claustrophic, due to the narrow passages with gaping views over the city far below. It's also slow, because of the crowds. 

The details of construction are typical of Gaudí: fluid forms and ceramic decoration, with a highly-original structure of irregular tree-like branching columns, and hyperbolic paraboloid roof forms. 

See also the official web site.

Click on the small pictures to see larger ones.

To the East, the Nativity Facade, positively dripping with sculpture and ornament.
To the West, the Passion Facade, with the blocky figures impressive against the stark background. 
Both of these are vertical panoramas constructed from three horizontal wide-angle pictures, to capture both the breadth and the height from a close-by location.
To the left, a closeup of the Nativity Facade.

To the right, a tree with alabaster doves.
Views of the towers, first a couple of the Eastern spires, then a pair of the Western set:
On the left, one of the berry-like clusters that adorn the secondary spires.

One of the ironies of this church is that one sees little of the interior, since it's so un-finished. On the right a couple of views. 

schooler@alum.mit.edu