You will not be disappointed by a visit to La Sagrada Familia. It is as massive and impressive in person as in any photo. More so probably. Although it has been under construction for over a century, it is scheduled to be finished relatively soon. This view is from another Gaudi masterpiece, the Parc Guell. A bit hazy, but you can see how massive this building is in comparison to the rest of the city.
As an engineer (and a bit of a nerd) I geeked out a bit over the feat of engineering that is this building. Gaudi hung bags of sand on strings to calculate the parabolic arches that would most efficiently support the structure, so it was effectively designed upside down. This type of design was way before his time, and wasn’t understood by many at the time, although modern computer modeling has shown its effectiveness.
. The architect, Gaudi, designed the basilica with the statues and stories of the bible on the outside, because he believed by the time it was finished, most people would not be going inside churches, so that would be the most effective way to communicate. The biblical figures’ faces are carved to look like people Gaudi knew, and the baby Jesus was actually modeled after a baby girl!
The inside is austere, and is designed to look like a forest of columns so that people would be able to find peace within. The stained glass windows are only color and do not feature any figures or designs. The light from the windows is phenomenal, and they are cut to maximize the light entering the basilica.
If you find yourself in Barcelona with a few hours to spare, definitely make it a point to see this masterpiece. It is worth it. Definitely take the guided tour, they are informative and really add to the understanding of the structure. We spent about 3 hours here in total, but it was worth the afternoon visit!