“Heaven will be the perfection we’ve always longed for. All the things that made Earth unlovely and tragic will be absent in heaven. ” Billy Graham
One of the few things that I knew I want to do in Barcelona was visit the Temple of the sacred heart of Jesus for nothing more than the views over the city. I had originally planned to get the metro up but after my vertigo kicked in I opted for a taxi which in fact only cost a tenner and saved a lot of hassle. I think this was by far my favourite part of the trip the views are incredible and there is a real sense of beauty about the church.
Commonly known as “Temple of Tibidabo,” is translated as the “Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus”. At first glance temple’s architecture seems strange. However, the story behind its construction clarifies the mystery.
During the second half of the 19th century, it was rumored, that a new Protestant temple was about to be build in the city. In order to prevent that from happening, the “Junta de Caballers Catolics” (The Board of Catholic Knights) bought the land and donated it to John Bosco. Idea was to build a church dedicated to The Sacred Heart of Jesus. This was a widely promoted idea at that time, as the church Sacro Cuore di Gesu was built in 1887 in Rome. And later in 1914, the basilica de Sacre-Coeur was built in Paris. So, all three churches in three cities share the name and some architectural similarities.
The entire exterior surface of the temple is filled with sculptures and beautiful details, that are truly breathtaking and can take hours to study.
I grew up with a Polish Catholic mother and a Church of England father both believing very strongly in their own religion of choice, however when it came to how me, my brother and sister would be raised my mother and grandmother won hands down. So before I knew it I was being enrolled in a Catholic school thus starting a very long relationship with Catholic guilt. I regularly attended mass on Sundays followed straight after by polish mass (back to back masses, not fun) the one thing I still remember very strongly is the smell! Walking into any church in the world the first thing I always notice is the smell, how is it they all smell the same, exactly the same!
After a very grey start to my trip, Jesus literally looked down on me and gave me blue skies! The church is at the highest point of Tibidabo mountain, and the windows of the four towers feature the words ‘Tibi dabo’ (Latin for ‘I’ll give you’).
How stunning are these views?
This church is an odd layout or at least I don’t know the full history. From the street, you walk up the grand stairs at the front of the building before entering the doors to what I would call a church! Once instead you will find a lift around the back of the altar, for 2 euros you can ride it up. Emerge from the lift onto another entrance of what again seems like another church! However this time you can climb to the very top for the most breathtaking views, my next trip to Barcelona and I am doing this again at sunset!
The first thought that popped into my head when looking up at the statue of Jesus was they actually tried putting him up in heaven!
The church is crowned by the enormous bronze statue of the Sacred Heart made by Josep Miret in 1950, replacing the original made by Frederic Marès in 1935, and destroyed the following year. The ascent from the crypt, passing through the church and ending at the sculpture, reflects the rise and the purification of the human condition by means of sacrifice and atonement.
With views like this, it’s not hard to believe that there may be a god!
The “second church” I take a sit and just sat listening to the chimes of the bells and enjoying the cool breeze that only churches have. Another very pleasant bonus to churches is that everyone is quiet, pure peace and quiet in a busy city.
Also according to Loney Planet, “It’s actually two churches, one on top of the other.”
What I loved most about this place was the lack of tourists, I arrived at 11am to an almost empty church, however, does that happen in a city! No tourists taking selfies, no ducking from selfie sticks, being knocked over by bag packs. Not even a voice raised over a whisper, order bliss and all I had to do was head up a mountain (Christ, (literally) here I go again with the lack of knowledge of what actually makes a hill a mountain. If you actually know please could you comment below) I am going to stick with mountain however, I am now doubting myself!
Feeling much better must have been all the fresh air I decided to take the tram back down to the city, well tram followed by a train, followed by the metro. Although it didn’t take long, I am pretty sure it was about 45 minutes back into the centre of Barcelona. It is absolutely a must see and I highly recommend the trek up to see it and if churches aren’t your thing the views alone are worth it!