It’s hard to talk about Barcelona without talking about Antoni Gaudí, the architect who played with forms and color in the late 19th century and early 20th century. He was part of the Art Nouveau or Modernisme movement in Catalonia and produced many works of lasting importance. In fact, 7 of his buildings are registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Gaudí himself was an interesting character. He was extremely religious – in fact, there is an effort to beatify him currently underway as the Catholic Church determines his qualifications for sainthood. He never married but raised his niece after her parents died. He also had some eccentric habits. He was known for his arrogance and believed that his work would be significant for many generations after him, and he was not wrong in that respect. He died in 1926 after being struck by a tram in Barcelona. He was dressed shabbily and was not recognized (read: eccentric habits), so he was taken to a pauper’s hospital. When his friends found him there two days later, he refused to leave and said that his place was among the poor.
The cathedral is still under construction, though worked started in 1883, so there was scaffolding up everywhere. But what you can see is unlike any cathedral I’ve ever seen. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. There was a special event at the cathedral when I was there, so I could not get inside the church for love or money. If you go, I recommend purchasing tickets online well in advance. But I did spend quite a bit of time walking around the outside.