Most of the time we’ve spent our winter in Spain enjoying the local color, taking long walks and sampling Spanish cuisine. A visit from daughter Laura was the perfect excuse for doing a bit of sight-seeing. We started in the very beautiful and cosmopolitan city of Barcelona where some pretty fantastic architecture is to be found.

Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) was a Spanish architect known for his organic curves and bright colored tiles. His great works in Barcelona show the extent of his imagination and genius. We spent a day touring four of his structures.

The Familia Sagrada is Gaudi’s most famous work. He started it in 1883 and worked on it until his death by street car in 1926. Since then his design has been continued with starts and stops. It is not expected to be completed until 2026. Although the interior is nearly finished, there are ten spires still to be built.

When I visited in 2001 there was no roof on the building and the structure pillars were under construction. There were workmen and scaffolding everywhere.

The Passion Facade

The Nativity Facade

These are the only two of the four planned entry facades. They are strikingly different.

It is a vast room. Note the spiral stair at the end leading to a choir loft that nearly encircles the room and holds 1000 singers.

The pillars at the ceiling. Gaudi used the principle of trees to get the strength. The pillars branch at the top. Lights are high up on them, and through hundreds of windows.

A model of the finished cathedral

Another interior view

A painting of the finished catherdral, hopefully in 2026, 143 years under construction.

The final cathedral will have 18 spires. Four will stand at each of the three entrances, rising above these will be four taller towers dedicated to the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A tower dedicated to Mary will rise higher, to 400 feet, and towering above all, the 560 foot Jesus spire topped with a cross. In the final months of his life Gaudi even slept in the workroom on the site. Under the cathedral are plaster models of all of the details.

On my first visit we exited from the metro, bought a ticket and walked in, 12 years later, we waited twenty minutes in line to get in. Worth it though.