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Possibly the best building site in the world but will Sagrada Familias ever be finished?
Posted on: April 27, 2010 at 5:50PMNumber one on the Ďmust doí list in Barcelona was Sagrada Familila. It isnít my favourite Gaudi building but it is the symbol of Barcelona and the biggest project of his life. Crossing Avinguda Diagonal we caught our first breathtaking glimpse of the spires of Sagrada Familia. The building is impressive, despite all the scaffolding and cranes and has to be seen to be believed. Each side is different and our first view was of the face depicting the crucifiction. This was also where we got our first glimpse of the queue to get inside. Walking round into Carrer de ProvenÁa, we stared up at the mass of spires then turned into Carrer de la Marina to gawp at the astonishingly intricate nativity scene built by Gaudi himself. Turning into Carrer de Mallorca, we found most of the building ensconced in scaffolding. Then we were back where we started staring at a very big queue. Luckily the massive queue moved quite quickly and we soon found ourselves inside the gate, Ä22 lighter and starting up at the crucifiction scene. This is the side of the building I prefer, even though it wasn't Gaudiís own work. Everyone has their own opinion on this and their own favourite bit, some, like George Orwell, hate it with a passion others love it. One thing is certain, no one can ignore it. It can be appreciated, if not loved, on many different levels. I look at it and admire the design and the artistry that went to create it, Dave looks at it with an engineering eye and wonders at the way such a building was made, others Iím sure appreciate its religious symbolism. Once inside we marvelled at the beauty of the two large stained glass windows and then again at the massive queue for the two lifts to go up into the spires. The little lifts only take between four and six people and the queue moves agonisingly slowly. There is a charge of Ä2.50 but it is well worth the extra money. As we crept towards the lift we looked at the stonework and the array of little circular windows. Intriguingly out of the dozens and dozens of little plain glass circles there was one circle filled with beautiful stained glass. Iím not sure why this should be, perhaps they will all be like that one day and they are replacing plain glass with stained glass one window at a time. I do hope so because it will be truly breathtaking if they do. Just before we got the the huge wooden door which stood about half way between the start of the queue and the lift we were saddened to see graffiti scratched into the stone of the wall. It wasnít the last we saw and it seems such a shame that someone should want to deface such a great work of art. We were told as we stepped into the lift that the only way down was using the stairs and that there were 230 of them. We had been warned! At the top we started our slow decent down the spiral stair case, looking through the gaps every so often as we went and wondering if it was worth the wait and the money. When we came to the bridge we understood that it was most definitely worth it. The views over Barcelona were spectacular to say the least as were the close up views of the details at the tops of the towers. The stairs themselves were a work of art, spiraling down in an ammonite like pattern. It was a long way down but nothing we couldnít handle and nothing we regretted for a second. Gaudi began work on Sagrada Familia in 1883 and worked on it until his death in 1926. From the outset he knew the project was too ambitious to be completed in one lifetime and that he would never see it finished. I wonder if he realised that 127 years on it would still be surrounded by scaffolding with no end in sight? Some say it will be finally finished by 2026, (the 100th anniversary of Gaudiís death) but others say it is unlikely. Who knows? It would be nice to think that I could return to Barcelona one day and see the finished article but I wonít be holding my breath. report a problem