A star is born - the Barcelona landmark so beautiful it makes the angels sing
Barcelona has a new star. Shining high over the city like a beacon, an amazing hand made 7.5 m wide, 12 pointed, 5.5 ton glass star has just been hoisted 160m to the top of one of the most iconic and beautiful buildings in the world, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia. This extraordinary building has become synonymous with the city that has inspired our shoes with their unique Mediterranean spirit.
Image courtesy of The Guardian.com
A work of love, made by hand
For anybody who doesn’t know, this building is a work of love, just like our shoes. Every inch of it has been made by hand and built with care by artisans who are passionate about what they do. In true Spanish style, beauty is more important than speed. Which is just as well, since construction of this fantasy building has been ongoing for more than 120 years. But it will be worth the wait. When it is completed in 2026, it will not only be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world but it will be the tallest church spire in the world.
Image courtsey of El Confidencial.com
Inspired by nature
And if you’ve never seen this building in its real setting, it’s worth a trip to Barcelona just to spend a few hours inside. As you gaze up at the dazzling tapestry of stained glass windows, take in the sculptural, earthy shapes of the walls and ceilings that only Gaudi could have dreamed of. Looking at this extraordinary feast for the eyes, it’s impossible not to feel a sense of awe.
The vaulted ceilings reflect natural shapes and colours, sunlight pours through the intricate stained glass windows scattering little pools of light across the stone floor. The supporting columns mushroom up to the vaulted ceilings like trees on some alien planet. For those who believe, this is as close to God as you can get.
Image courtesy of Salta Conmigo Blog @ https://saltaconmigo.com/blog/2020/07/sagrada-familia-barcelona/
So, let’s find out a little more about how this extraordinary temple came into being, what makes it so special and why it’s taken 120 years to get to this point.
A masterpiece in the making...
The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is the life’s work of revolutionary architect Anton Gaudi. Tragically, Gaudi himself never got to see his flagship project completed. Tragically, he was run over by a tram in a tragic accident at the age of 73. But, in a fitting tribute, he is now buried deep inside the crypt of the building he never got to see completed.
Image courtesy of tosikarchitect.com
The Sagrada Familia is a masterpiece in the making and, deservedly, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right. Since Gaudi’s death, a diverse group of architects have taken on the project over the years to honour his memory and to stay true to his plans.
The price of progress
Gaudi dedicated his life to this project, and it has been financed entirely by private donations and the proceeds of the visitors entrance fee of around 15 euros. This non-political process may go some way to explain this building’s slow rate of progress!.
But, as Gaudi himself famously said: “My client is not in a hurry”.
The best estimates are that the project is now more than 80% complete. 8 of the proposed 18 towers are now finished and another 10 are still to be done.
Image courtesy of plataformaarquitectura.cl
The great consecration
But no matter how beautiful it is, a church remains just a building until it is consecrated. And in 2010, this finally happened to the great delight of the citizens of Barcelona. At a consecration mass to inaugurate the new basilica, 6.500 people gathered inside the unfinished building and another 50,000 gathered outside to bear witness to this great event. 100 bishops joined 300 priests to offer Holy Communion to the gathered masses. By all accounts it was a great and glorious occasion as the crowds bore witness to one of the great moments in the history of this proud city. These days, masses are only held on Sundays.
Image courtsey of Ordenconstantiniana.org
A beautiful backdrop
But at regular points throughout the year, the crowds still gather and the city’s most famous building becomes the focal point for Easter celebrations, sound and light shows celebrating local fiestas and even Christmas markets to warm the body as well as the soul.
3 facades, inspired by nature
And here’s something interesting. The building has 3 facades, all inspired by nature. There is the Nativity Facade (the only one to have actually been overseen by Gaudi), the Passion Facade and the Glory facade. But the Nativity facade is extra fascinating. It has three portals called Hope, Mercy and Faith. And the faces on the Portal of Mercy were actually done using the death masks of deceased Barcelona citizens and moulds of the faces of the actual workers who struggled and labored to turn this exquisite fantasy into an extraordinary reality.
Image courtesy of https://blog.sagradafamilia.org/
A sense of humility and pride
We love the humility of Antoni Gaudi. He knew his place in the grand order of things. While his ambitions were high, they were not too high. When determining how tall his masterpiece should be, he looked across town at the hill of Montjuic that dominates the skyline on the edge of Barcelona. He determined that the maximum height of his new basilica should be no more than 566 feet high - exactly one metre lower than the height of Montjuic. After all, as Gaudi said: “My creation should not surpass God’s”.
Image courtesy of Outlook Traveller @ https://www.outlookindia.com/
When it is finally finished and the giant cross is placed on top of the central spire of Jesus Christ, it will be the tallest church building in the world.
Quite a statement.
Stunning design, inspired by nature
The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia encapsulates all the style, elegance and beauty that Catalunya has rightly become famous for. Stunning design that has been inspired by nature, it has been made by hand, brick by brick and stone by stone. It embodies the style, passion and creativity of the Mediterranean and it uses processes and techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. This is the same approach we take to making shoes.
SAGRADA FAMILIA - FASCINATING FACTS
- Almost 5 million visitors pass through the Sagrada Familia every year
- It has been under construction for more than 120 years
- Upon completion it will have taken longer to build than the Egyptian Pyramids
- It’s a man-made masterpiece inspired by nature
- Its builders are immortalised in stone carvings around the basilica
- It’s the tallest religious building in Europe
- It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984
- When completed there will be 18 towers in total
- It’s built on the site of a school
For beautiful shoes, made by hand in Spain and inspired by nature, click here.