Published: July 18, 2016
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Barcelona’s Tibidabo

Photos of the Tibidabo mountain in Barcelona, the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on its summit, and some panoramic views of the city.

Façade of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Façade of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - Barcelona, Spain This church, also known as “Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor” (Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Heart) is located at the top of the Tibidabo mountain, which is part of sierra de Collserola. Its construction began in 1902 and was completed in 1961. In the center of the photo, above the rose window, there is a statue of Saint John Bosco, or Don Bosco, founder of the temple.

The summit of Tibidabo

The summit of Tibidabo - Barcelona, Spain The Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus stands out in this picture with the statue of Jesus on its peak. The tower on the right is known as “Torre de les Aigües de Dos Rius” (Water Tower Two Rivers).

Interior of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Interior of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - Barcelona, Spain The interior of this basilica has a predominantly Gothic style, slightly reminiscent of the Barcelona Cathedral or the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris; although this one is of course smaller and more modern, the type of illumination produced by the interaction between the stained glass windows and the light-colored Gothic structures inside is equally effective to generate an interesting atmosphere.

Pointed arch in the Temple of the Sacred Heart

Pointed arch in the Temple of the Sacred Heart In this photo you can better see the pointed or ogival arches and the quadripartite ribbed vaults, as well as the interplay of lights produced by the stained glass windows.

Detail of the front façade of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Detail of the front façade of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - Barcelona, Spain The statue of Jesus in the upper left corner of the photo is made of bronze, and is the highest element that crowns this temple. To the right, above the rose window, you can see the statue of the founder of the temple, Saint John Bosco. “Don Bosco,” as he was commonly known, was an Italian priest, native of Becchi, to the East of Turin, who became famous for his healings and visions of the future, and specially for his extensive work helping the young people of his time, and his continued help nowadays through his legacy of Salesian institutions in 128 countries, by providing them with vocational training and spiritual formation. Hence this temple has a more personal and special meaning for many Catalans of multiple generations.

Bell Tower of the Tibidabo

Bell Tower of the Tibidabo - Barcelona, Spain One of the bell towers of Romanesque style on the balcony overlooking the Tibidabo square, in front of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Detail of a Bell Tower of the Tibidabo

Detail of a Bell Tower of the Tibidabo - Barcelona, Spain Each belfry is surrounded by coats of arms. In this case it consists of a tower with a flag bearing the Greek cross or “crux immissa quadrata,” as well as a flag and a star on each side.

Coat of arms in the Bell Tower of the Tibidabo

Coat of arms in the Bell Tower of the Tibidabo - Barcelona, Spain Another coat of arms with depictions of moose or elks and winged creatures with stars, which heightens the pine cones motif surrounding the belfry.

Roof of the Belfry of the Tibidabo

Roof of the Belfry of the Tibidabo - Barcelona, Spain The bell of this particular Tower has been named the Saint John Bosco bell. At the top it has the busts of some creatures which act like small pseudo-gargoyles, giving it a somewhat Gothic appearance, which brings this Romanesque structure stylistically closer to the predominantly Gothic basilica.

Barcelona from the viewpoint of Arrabassada

Barcelona from the viewpoint of Arrabassada - Barcelona, Spain In this photo you can see a large expanse of the city of Barcelona, from the area of “Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes” (square of the Catalan Glories) on the left, where the Abgar tower stands out with its oval shape, up to the Monjuic mountain on right. The neighborhood in the foreground is Vall d’Hebron, and the green areas in the central part of the photo are Park Güell and Creueta del Coll Park. The almost twin towers jutting out in front of the Mediterranean are the Mapfre Tower and the Hotel Arts. The viewpoint of Arrabassada from where I took this photo is located on the Sant Cugat highway, in the ascent to the summit of the Tibidabo.

Temple statue and view of Montserrat

Temple statue and view of Montserrat - Barcelona, Spain One of the statues on the back side of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the horizon the Montserrat mountain stands out with its saw-like shape.

View of Vallvidrera

View of Vallvidrera - Barcelona, Spain View of the Vallvidrera neighborhood from the top of the Temple of the Sacred Heart in the Tibidabo.

Panoramic view of Barcelona in a cloudy day

This is one of the views from the top of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, at an altitude of 575 meters (1886 feet), where you can see once again Park Güell and Creueta del Coll Park; and further to the left the last green area is Guinardó Park. In the center of the photo is the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia and the Abgar Tower, and on the far left, protruding over the Mediterranean, you can see the 3 chimneys of the old thermal power plant in Sant Adrià de Besòs city, next to Barcelona. The layers of clouds produced iridescent effects on the Mediterranean that day. Sometimes you can see the Mallorca Island from Tibidabo, when there is better visibility, which is 100 nautical miles away (115 miles).

Panoramic view of Barcelona in a cloudy day
Panoramic view of Barcelona in a cloudy day

Lateral façade of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Lateral façade of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - Barcelona, Spain Another rose window on one of the sides of this basilica.

A Gothic Temple

A Gothic Temple - Barcelona, Spain The exterior of this church has a Gothic style, and its appearance, both from distant areas and nearby, is quite imposing.

Panoramic view of the Barcelonès and beyond from Tibidabo

In the foreground on the left is the Tower Two Rivers, which is a 53-meter (174 feet) water storage tower, built in 1905. This photo shows a large sector of the “Barcelonès” region, from Park Güell in Barcelona to Badalona, which is in the central area of the photo next to the Mediterranean, and to the left of it, the green elevation corresponds to Serralada de Marina Park. On the left-hand side, inland, is the city of Granollers; and behind it, in the horizon you can also see the Montseny massif, where the Natural Park of Montseny is located.

Panoramic view of the Barcelonès and beyond from Tibidabo
Panoramic view of the Barcelonès and beyond from Tibidabo

Ascension to the summit of Tibidabo

Ascension to the summit of Tibidabo - Barcelona, Spain Below the Temple and Tower Two Rivers you can see the Tibidabo amusement park camouflaged in vegetation from this angle, although its flamboyant red rollercoaster stands out. The building on the right is the Gran Hotel La Florida.


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