Monday, May 21, 2007

La Sagrada Familia

When I was growing up, the Alan Parsons Project was one of my favorite music groups. I think anybody willing to do concept albums about Edgar Allan Poe or robots appealed to the nascent egghead in me. Their last album was Gaudi, which included songs about Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. One of these songs was "La Sagrada Familia", about the cathedral that Gaudi worked on for over 40 years prior to his death in 1926. The cathedral today is incomplete and still an active construction site.

I got into Barcelona yesterday, and the cathedral was my first stop. The jaded traveler through Europe can experience cathedral fatigue, where one cathedral looks a lot like the previous one. La Sagrada Familia is different. It looks unlike anything else on the planet. One factor is that it is newer than most European cathedrals. In particular, it is part of the Catalan "Modernisme" architecture movement (apparently equivalent to "Art Noveau") rather than the standard Gothic or Neoclassical cathderal. The architecture is much more influenced by the natural world than any other church I've seen.

I got there just in time to take the guided tour in English, which was a fairly interesting overview. The highlight, however was the elevator ride to the top of one of the towers and the subsequent walk down, which gave close-up views of the amazing detail on the cathedral facades. In fact, my only regret is that I didn't end up going up the other tower right after that. I blame jetlag for the error in judgement.

Enjoy the photo album below.

La Sagrada Familia

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