UNESCO SitesWestern Europe Summer 2011

Works of Antoni Gaudi – UNESCO World Heritage Site #8

If you are fortunate to have visited Barcelona, then it is almost certain that you have been witness to some of the most famous architecture in Spain, the works of Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi was known for his mind-numbing uniqueness that went many steps beyond the imagination of architects of his day. The city of Barcelona was fortunate enough to be the playground of Gaudi, and throughout the city and the surrounding areas lie seven structures designed, at least in part, by Antoni Gaudi. Some of the most famous of these include Casa Vicens, Parc Güell (originally the Güell estates), and the most famous of all, his contribution on the church of Sagrada Familia. Although I didn’t have time to truly explore, or even make it to, all seven of these properties, I was able to visit the Sagrada Familia on multiple occasions to take in its wonder during both day and night.

Sagrada FamiliaConstruction on the church of Sagrada Familia began in 1882, and, as you can see in the photo above, still continues to this day. The original architect was replaced by Gaudi in 1883, and the original plans where quickly replaced and revitalized with the visions of Gaudi. At the time of Gaudi’s death, in 1926, only one quarter of the church was complete, and since then, progress has slowly moved forward through war time and budget loss. Present day, the church construction is progressing increasingly fast and although it was originally expected to take several hundred years to complete, there are now estimations that it could be finished between 2017 and 2026 (the centennial of Guadi’s death).

The Sagrada Familia has become the symbol of Barcelona, and many citizens and politicians are torn as to whether or not the new additions should even be made. Even in my photos you can see some striking differences between the Nativity facade (designed by Gaudi and pictured in the middle) and the areas around it. The other facade on the opposite side shows striking differences in design as well. No matter which side of the argument you may fall on though, it is impossible to argue against the current architectural feat that is on display in the heart of Barcelona.

Here are a few more shots of Sagrada Familia, and if you want more info and a much more in depth history, check out the the official description from the UNESCO website. You can also just google or check out the wikipedia page, which I highly recommend.

Sagrada Familia Rule the SkylineThe Sagrada Familia rules the Barcelona skyline.

Sagrada Familia at NightEach night the building is lit up with lights, creating a stunning scene that you can spot from many blocks away.

Sagrada Familia Up CloseAn up close night shot shows the stunning amount of detail that went into the Nativity facade designed by Gaudi. Seeing this makes it easy to realize why the first quarter of the structure took over forty years to complete.

Click here for a complete list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites I’ve visited.

  1. inka

    The Sagrada Familia is otherworldy, shame about the cranes though. They have marred the site as long as I can remember.

  2. Matt

    I don’t know why but they sort of added to it for me. Made it more GRAND!

  3. robin

    They do look rather impressive. I’m thinking War of the Worlds, or possibly Day of the Triffids.

    1. Matt

      haha, yea I can see that.

  4. Jeremy Branham

    Love Gaudi! I am not usually a big fan of the more modern art but like his style and design. La Sagrada Familia is great but I loved Parc Guell as well!

    1. Matt

      You know… I didn’t enjoy Parc Guell quite a much, but mainly because of the horrible time of day we went. I felt like I was back home at Disney World with the mobs of tour group leaders holding their signs for their groups to follow…. Great views though!

  5. Jim

    So slow….but they have made a wee bit of progress since we were there in ’74, would you believe?
    Finishing will be a major !Mindblowing architecture.

    1. Matt

      Wow, that is crazy. I guess lots of progress has just gotten underway in recent years as a new group took over the funding and construction.

  6. Donna

    Gorgeous night shots – especially the closeup of the Nativity facade!

    1. Matt

      It really shows how grand the structure is and how it stakes its claim to the skyline

    1. Matt

      Wow I’ve never looked at it like that, but that is a pretty accurate point!

  7. Laurel

    Absolutely stunning, love Gaudi’s style and attention to detail.

  8. Christina

    It’s stunning. Inside and out. I do hope they get to finish it within this decade though!

    1. Matt

      Yea it’s taken long enough already, haha. But I’d say it goes into next decade.

  9. david

    Great photos!!!!! It amazes me how these
    cathedrals were built before modern
    technology, I guess that’s why it took

  10. Kristen

    Oh wow, beautiful! It really does stand out so much in the skyline. I’m studying abroad in Barcelona in about two months and I can’t wait to be able to see this up close.

    1. Matt

      Ah I envy you a bit, living in Barcelona will be incredible. Have a great time!

  11. Lisa

    The Gaudi architecture is just stunning. I loved Barcelona. I hope to return someday and spend more time.

    1. Matt

      Yea we are already thinking about our return, haha.

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