Sagrada Familia

Visit the most impressive monument of Barcelona

Visit Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona!

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There are many landmarks that make Barcelona one of the most visited and loved cities in the world. One of them is Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Familia, the most visited monument of the city and also the most legendary: its construction has lasted more than 130 years and it's still going - the date of its completions is estimated to be in the year 2026, but it's been postponed before. When the very first stone was placed in year 1882, no one imagined its construction would take almost a century and a half!

There are many who think its unfinished status is part of its charm, and there are millions who come every year to admire its uniqueness: it counts with more than 3 million visitors a year, and it is the second most visited church of Europe, only after Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City. It was proposed to be one of the new seven wonders in the world, it is -of course!- one of the Seven Wonders of Catalonia and one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.

An impressive monument with a unique history

It may not come as a surprise that a monument the construction of which has lasted over a century has a tumultuous history. The Sagrada Familia of Barcelona is still incomplete for many reasons - one is, of course, the level of complexity of its beautiful design. Another can be found in its history.

We all know that the Sagrada Familia was designed by the acclaimed architect Antoni Gaudí, author of other wonders of Barcelona, such as La Pedrera, the Casa Batlló or the Park Güell. But did you know that the Sagrada Familia has been designed by other 9 architects as well? Gaudí met his untimely death at the age of 73, when he was run over by a tramway. He was wearing old clothes and had an unkempt appearance, and people assumed he was a homeless man - so he didn't get help right away. And this was how partly because of unfairness, the most unique church in the world lost its maker, before the design was even finished. After his death, other architects took on the demanding job of designing and building the most important landmark of the city of Barcelona - and, in fact, Gaudí wasn't the first one either.

The project of building was given to the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, who had a very different project in mind. He would later quit due to disagreements with the city council. When the very first stone of the Sagrada Familia was placed by him in 1882, Gaudí was there in the ceremony - but he couldn't even imagine that project would end up in his hands, and that it would become is masterpiece, and his life's work. He was only 31 when he started working on it!

Gaudí knew well his work, and knew that he wouldn't see his masterpiece finished. He made three models with the hope that they would be used by the next generations to finish the church, but part of them were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. Antireligious groups set fire to the crypt, one of the few parts of the Sagrada Familia that Antoni Gaudí could see built, and many of its sketches and mock-ups were forever destroyed.

The Spanish Civil War didn't stop the construction of the Sagrada Familia, but it did slow it. The next architects tried to respect Gaudí's original idea, although if they actually did has been a matter of controversy among the experts in the matter. The controversy reached its peak with the construction of the Passion Façade. Sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs followed the drawings and the instructions left by Gaudí, but he imprinted his personal style on it as well. His work on the Sagrada Familia was deeply questioned, and there even was a demonstration in 1990 against it, where many Catalan intellectuals of the time participated.

This is just a tiny part of the steep history of the Sagrada Familia. Along its history it has suffered cuts, changes and controversies - and who knows if there will be more before its construction is concluded!

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