La Sagrada Familia was begun in 1882, and is still under construction today. It's expected to be finished in the next 15 or so years.
There are three facades to La Sagrada Familia: The Nativity Facade, Passion Facade and Glory Facade. Glory is the one that is still under construction.
Our visit began with The Nativity Facade, and it's 4 towers.
As you may have guessed from the name (cuz I know my readers are smart like that!), The Nativity Facade depicts the details of the Birth of Christ. Click on the pic to enlarge it and see more of the details.
The Nativity Facade was the first to be built, and was directly overseen by Antonio Gaudi. It faces the east and the rising sun, further symbolizing the birth of Christ.
Then we walked past the under-construction Glory Facade - not much to see or photograph unfortunately, just the peeks of these towers topped with colorful fruit on the left.
This will be the main entrance to the basilica. It will have a grand staircase and it will go over the existing road with a tunnel. The tunnel will represent purgatory.
Interesting factoid (because I'm full of them...): they will have to knock down several apartment buildings to finish the facade. Apparently when the apartments were built, they told them they could live in them for 90 years (the original finish date was projected to be 1980ish), but then they would be knocked down. So they've gotten an extra 30 years...not a bad deal!
We rounded the block to view The Passion Facade. In contrast to the highly decorated Nativity Facade, it is austere. The 6 pillars are meant to resemble sequoias. Here you see 4 more towers as well.
This facade depicts the 12 stations of the cross. From the last supper to the betrayal by Judas, to Christ carrying the cross through the streets.
This is the center, the lower portion shows the trial, with roman soldiers, and then the carrying of the cross. The upper portion is of course the crucifixion.
Here's the detail of the crucifixion portion - the way the cross is horizontal vs. vertical, and the position of the body (leaning forward) is really striking. Above Christ is the representation of the torn veil in the temple. The crying women are depicted, as well as a figure on the left who doesn't belong - that would be Gaudi himself.
The Passion facade faces west and the setting sun.
The bronze figure representing the resurrection of Christ sits between the towers
When finished, La Sagrada Familia will have a total of 18 towers which will represent the 12 disciples, the 4 gospels, Mary and Jesus.
The construction of the basilica is 100% funded by donations, hence the uber-long construction. Even so, today's construction very much follows the original design of Antonio Gaudi.
Amazing and beautiful.