(By Padma Ganapati/Deccan Herald) Perched right at the top of the Tibidabo mountain in the Serra de Collesrole range in Catalonia, Barcelona, is the Temple of Tibidabo or the Roman Catholic church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Situated at a height of over 500 metres, it is a mix of several architectural styles — Neo-Gothic, Roman, Byzantine and art nouveau. Though the chief architect was Enric Sagnier, artists Eusebi Amau, Joan Puigdollers, Josep Miret, Frederic Mares, Alfons Juyol i Boch, Miquel Farre made significant contributions. The Bru workshops also played a large role.
According to popular belief, John Bosco was the founder of the church. He was given the plot when he visited Barcelona in 1886. The Hermitage, to the right of the temple, was built then. It is of special interest for two reasons. It shows the point at which the mountain ended before any work commenced. In the same year, it was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It took 16-and-a-half years for the first stone of the grand construction of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to reach Tibidabo. The building work started in 1902 and went on till 1961.
On the keystone of the main entrance is the image of the Archangel Michael. Above this, John Bosco, the temple prophet, has pride of place at the apex of the triangle. Over the left door is Teresa of Avila and over the right, Marguerite Maro Alacoque.
The front of the crypt has sculptures of Virgin of Mercy (patron saint of Barcelona) with Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia) and Saint James (patron saint of Spain) on either side. In front, the crypt has a large, semi-circular arch under which are three smaller arches. The Evangelists form the capitals that support these arches.
The Great Crucifix is located in the upper temple. It is illuminated by the tinted light from the filigreed windows. High over the choir is a grand organ and the coats of arms of Hispanic nations.