A sound and light show that will captivate you

The works of Antoni Gaudi are evident all over Barcelona and the Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family) is his most spectacular.  It is the most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona catering to over 2,000,000 visitors each year and dominates the landscape of Barcelona. It is a work of immense proportions and is revered by the world of architecture as one of the most original and ambitious modern buildings.

The Sagrada Familia as seen from Park Guell

And now for a bit of history….

The construction on the building first began in 1882.  In 1883 Gaudi became involved and took over the project.  He transformed it with his architectural and engineering style that combined Gothic and Art Nouveau. He devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death in 1926 (when he was run over by a tram), less than a quarter of the project had been completed.  It is in the crypt in the Chapel of Our Lady of Carmen that Gaudi’s tomb is placed.

The “Gothic” Nativity side…

The “Art Nouveau” Passion of Christ side…

   

Some of the interior…

 

The crypt as seen looking down through the window behind the altar…

The Sagrada Familia has progressed very slowly as it relies on private donations. In July 1936, during the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, revolutionaries set fire to the crypt, burned the temporary schools and destroyed the workshop. The original plans, drawings and photographs were lost, and some of the scale plaster models were smashed. In spite of that the building of the church has never stopped and has always followed his original design. Despite the fact that most of the original plans were lost, many pieces of plaster models were recovered and some published plans and photographs of the original models were preserved. Fortunately, his followers had also left books with information they had noted down during conversations with him. It is from that material that work is still going on today.

Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and has an anticipated completion date of 2026 – the centennial of Gaudi’s death. Once completed, the basilica will have 18 towers: 12 to represent the apostles, 4 for the evangelists, one for Jesus and one for Mary.  The surface, as well as the interior, is covered in Christian symbology and tells the life of Jesus and the history of the faith.

Despite being incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was proclaimed a minor basilica by the Pope in 2010. There has recently been discussion that an underground tunnel of Spain’s high-speed train could disturb its stability.   Whatever the future holds for La Sagrada, the fact remains that it is an amazing structure.

And now back to my story…

As we were making our way around the edges of the building, we came across a poster for an event that was to take place.  What a coincidence that Moment Factory, an incredibly talented team from Montreal, was hosting the light and sound show to open Le Mercè festival. I can’t put into words how absolutely visually stunning the performance was that brought the building to life.  ‘Oda a la Vida’ (Ode to Life) was a present from Montreal to Barcelona during the opening of the Mercè celebrations.

The 15-minute show that serenaded the crowds with a thundering mix of classical electronic music by Anthony Rozankovic and Misteur Valaire required, required 16 video projectors, 13 computers and 25 massive moving lights.  Thunder roared, lightning flashed, statues moved, plants grew and bloomed, water cascaded and pooled around the front in a holographic effect.  As as the music swelled, it moved through the crowd lifting us up to the very heights of the towers.  Everyone stood in awe of what was taking place before their eyes. Words cannot describe the masterpiece of light and sound that we were fortunate to witness. It made me proud to be a Canadian knowing that it was a fellow Canadians that had created such a stunning presentation.  Gaudi himself would be overwhelmed with how his work of art was being transformed and brought to life.

And the show begins…

       

I was lucky to be situated at the base of the basilica with the sound stage across the street behind me.  The sound virtually moved through us and the heartbeats within the music could be felt through our bodies.  Video does not do it justice but here is one of the better links to the performance…  turn up the sound and watch it on a big screen if you can.

Sagrada Familia – Show de Luces HD full (Mercè 2012)

There are moments in time that we should count ourselves fortunate to be witness to the skillfulness and genius of amazing talent.  This moment will definitely be placed high on my list.

Barcelona is an awe inspired experience!

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