B1 Intermediate 5328 Folder Collection
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Welcome to the magnificent the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, often simply called
the Sagrada Familia. Many say that if you only have time to visit one site in Barcelona,
the Sagrada Familia should be it. When looking at the church, I think you can understand
why. Even though the church is still under construction, it has become a symbol for Barcelona
and the Catalonian region. The initiative to build a new grand church
came from the bookseller and chairman of the Holy Brotherhood, José Maria Bocabella, in
the mid 19th century. The church would be devoted to the child Jesus, the Virgin Mary
and Saint Joseph, which is why the church is named "Sagrada Familia" -- "The Holy Family".
The planning of the church began when the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar offered
to design the whole structure. He planned a more typical gothic church, but was later
forced to resign from his job due to fundamental disagreements with the founder Bocabella.
A few months after del Villars resignation, a young architect by the name of Antonio Gaudi
took over the work in 1883. What Gaudi didn't know at the time was that his new project
would take up almost all his time and effort for the rest of his life. Once the construction
phase started, he soon became obsessed with the project and set up an office on site which
became his permanent residence. His plan was to build facades which would
represent the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. The church would have a total of
eighteen towers symbolizing the twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists, and the Virgin Mary
and Christ. The one representing Christ would be the tallest and would stand 170 meters
high, crowned by a large cross. The tower would be one meter less than the Montjuïc,
a hill in Barcelona, as Gaudi said he didn't want to suppress the work of God.
Gaudi devoted his last 15 years fully to the Sagrada Familia, until he by accident was
hit a tram which led to his death, a few days later in 1926, 74 years old. What made Gaudi's
architectural style so exciting was his sense for shapes. Instead of designing buildings
with straight lines, Gaudi worked much with loose vivid design. The Casa Mila and the
eastern façade of Sagrada Famila are perfect examples of this, which you will see later.
Arguably, no other architect in history has ever had such an absolute influence on a city
as Antoni Gaudi has had on Barcelona. There are great works of his Modernist style all
over the city but the greatest of all his works is of course what you have in front
of you right now. After Gaudi's death, work continued as planned.
However, with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, work came to a halt and
parts of Gaudi's models and plans were destroyed. The present design is based on reconstructed
versions of the lost plans as well as on modern adaptations. Today, computer technology is
being used to pre-shape the stones off site, rather than shape them on site by hand. This
has significantly affected the pace of the construction and it's now scheduled to be
completed around 2020-2030. Many believe the deadline is set to June 10th 2026, in honor
of the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's tragic death. On the subject of the extremely long
construction period, Gaudi is said to have remarked "My client is not in a hurry."
Now, let's talk some about the church itself. If there is something the church is full of,
except enchanting beauty, its symbolism. Themes throughout the detailed decoration include
words from the Christian liturgy. For example, the towers are decorated with words such as
"Hosanna", "Excelsis" and "Sanctus", but the most detailed parts of the church are the
magnificent facades. When completed, the Church will have three
grand façades: the Passion façade to the West, the Nativity façade to the East and
the Glory façade to the South. The latter is the one still under construction.
The one you are standing in front right now, the Passion façade, also known as the Façade
of the Suffering Way, is most known for its unorthodox sculptures. The façade is actually
designed by Gaudi during the time he suffered from a serious illness. The work was carried
out later in 1989 by the sculptor Josep Subirachs, based on Gaudi's drawings. As you can see,
the sculptor' style is, in contrast with Gaudi's, very much based around sharp edges.
The façade is based around telling the story of the suffering of Christ, showing different
stages of the suffering, with the help of sculptures, in an "S-shaped" pattern. Starting
on the first level, to the very far left of the entrance, you can see statues depicting
the last supper. The next step in the "S-shaped" story telling is to the left of the entrance,
where you can see how Judas the betrayer is kissing Jesus.
Behind them you can see a magic square, filled with different numbers. Before I tell you
the square's secret, I want to give you a chance to find it out yourself. Can you solve
the riddle of the magic square? On the pillar in between the entrances you can find Jesus
tied and tormented. To the right you can see Peter's denial and to the far right Jesus
trial. Above the trial you can see the three Marys
and above the entrance, Golgotha; the place where Jesus was crucified. To the left you
can see a mounted solider, which depicts Longino -- the man who the legend has it pierced Jesus
side with a spear. Above him you can see soldiers gambling for
Jesus clothes, and to the right of them, the crucifixion. The last sculptures to the far
right shows the entombment of Christ. One little detail many people don't notice can
be found far above the entrance, at the archway between the towers. If you look closely to
towards the right side, you can see a golden statue of the risen Christ. If you take a
look at the main doors, you will see that they are filled with words from the Bible
in various languages, including Catalan.
.... You should now be standing in front of the magnificent Nativity Façade.
This façade was built before work was interrupted by the civil war and
bears the most direct Gaudi influence, as I mentioned earlier. It consists of four bell
towers and three large portals. From left to right you have the Portal of Hope, the
Portal of Charity and the Portal of Faith. If you look at the top of the portals, you
can see that they symbolize grottos. In fact, throughout the whole Nativity Façade, there
is a clear theme of nature, as many of the sculptures symbolize vegetation, people and
birds. This is a celebration to the ever changing nature and to the creators of all forms of
life. The leftmost portal, known as the Portal of
Hope, is covered in flora and fauna from the Nile. The portal shows the flight of the Holy
Family into Egypt and to the right you see the Herod murdering innocent children. The
portal also displays some hope, in form of Joseph standing together with his son above
the doorway. In the top of the portal you can also see the marriage between Joseph and
Mary. The rightmost Portal is known as the Portal
of Faith. The sculptures' surrounding the portal depicts the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
the Holy Family in their house at Nazareth and the presentation of the baby Jesus in
the temple. In the very top you can see the Immaculate Conception, a Roman Catholic Dogma
which says that Virgin Mary is without any original sin.
Now finally let's talk some about the large center portal, the Portal of Charity.
In the middle of this portal you'll find two doors, supported by a beautiful pillar. On
the lower part of the pillar, you can see a snake sinking its teeth into an apple, the
symbol of original sin, which is the reason Jesus came to earth. On the left side of the
doors you can see the Three Kings, bringing their gifts to the newborn Jesus, and on the
other side the Three Shepherds. Above the doors you can see sculptures representing
the birth of Christ and at the top you can see how Jesus crowns the Virgin Mary Queen
of Heaven. Above that, closer to the very top, you see the letters "JHS" - an anagram
for Christ's name. The Portal of Charity is crowned with a large
tree of life. On the pinnacle of the tree stands a large red "T"; the last letter of
the Hebrew alphabet which reads "tau", the initial of the name of God. On top of the
T is a smaller X, which represents Christ. At the very top you can also see a white dove,
which represents the Holy Spirit. Thus, the three persons of the Holy Trinity are represented
at the top of the tree, symbolizing the creators of life.
Between the tree portals you can see two massive pillars. If you look at the bottom of the
pillars you will see that they are resting on turtles. Turtles have long been seen as
a divine animal with connections to the heavens and the cosmos, known for their longevity.
Half way up, the columns bear the inscriptions 'Joseph' and 'Mary'. The columns are crowned
with palms to symbolize triumph and the coming of a new light. In the old days, palm symbolized
the martyr and his or her triumph over death. As you now know, the whole church is absolutely
full of symbolism. Giving all the details about all the symbols covering the church
would leave me talking for hours, so with this I'm going to let you do some exploring
and discover the rest of the symbolism yourself. I'm just going to explain one final thing
symbolism. Remember the Magic Square you could see on the Passion façade, behind Judas?
In case you haven't solved the riddle, the answer is that all the numbers added up to
33; the age Jesus was when he died. Today, even though it's unfinished, the church
has become a top tourist attraction, not only in Barcelona, but in whole Spain. The visitors
are an important source of income as the project is not supported by any government or official
church sources. An estimate of more than two million people visits the site each year.
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5328 Folder Collection
阿多賓 published on January 18, 2014    Bel translated    Kristi Yang reviewed
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